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Pak Ahmadi doctor arrested for 'posing as a Muslim'


Islamabad, Dec 17: A doctor from Pakistan's minority Ahmadi community has been arrested for allegedly "posing as a Muslim" under the country's draconian blasphemy law after a complaint by his patients.

An additional district and sessions judge in Lahore yesterday dismissed 72-year-old British-Pakistani Dr Masood Ahmed's after-arrest bail petition. He was arrested last month for allegedly preaching Ahmadi beliefs and distributing books containing derogatory remarks.

The spokesperson of Jama'at Ahmadiyya Pakistan said the doctor was arrested "when two men posing as patients tricked him and used mobiles to secretly record him reading Koran".

The doctor had returned to Pakistan from UK to open a pharmacy in 1982. Advocate Ghulam Mustafa Chaudhry, counsel for the complainant, said Dr Ahmed had been nominated in an FIR with a specific role and the complainant had audio and video evidence to back his allegations.

The doctor had returned to Pakistan from UK to open a pharmacy in 1982.

Chaudhry said Dr Ahmed had preached Ahmadi beliefs to a patient and given him books containing blasphemous material. Earlier, a magisterial court had dismissed the doctor's post-arrest bail application. According to a blog run by Ahmadis, he was arrested on blasphemy allegations for having read the translation of a verse from the Quran.

Dr Ahmed was later charged with the Ahmadi-specific portion of the Blasphemy Law - section 298-C of the Pakistan Penal Code - when an enraged mob showed up at the police station demanding he be charged for "posing as a Muslim".

In 1974, under severe pressure from clerics, Pakistan's first elected Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto introduced a constitutional amendment - known as the second amendment - which declared Ahmadis or Ahmadiyyas as non-Muslims.

A decade later, they were barred from proselytising or identifying themselves as Muslims. Since then the community has faced persecution and bias.

Some 1.5 million Ahmadis live across Pakistan. Ahmadis can be jailed for three years for posing as Muslims or outraging Muslims' feelings.


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