In a shocking turn of events Syed Ali Ahmad Tariq, a 77-year-old senior advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, was attacked and beaten along with his junior lawyer by a violent mob whilst appearing in Karachi City Court. The attackers then took him forcibly to the police station where the police registered a baseless blasphemy case against him and arrested him.
The attackers argued that Syed Ali Ahmad Tariq’s offence was that his name contained ‘Syed’, a standard prefix used by people descending from the lineage of Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). However, the case is completely baseless as there is no law that forbids Ahmadi Muslims from using such Islamic names.
Mr Tariq had in fact been charged by Karachi police last year on the same false grounds, for having ‘Syed’ as part of his name, when complainants pressured Karachi City Court police on 22 November 2022 to register a First Information Report (FIR) and book Mr. Tariq under Sections 298-B and C of the Pakistan Penal Code – part of the anti-Ahmadi laws that deny Ahmadi Muslims the right to practise their Islamic faith. This was the first time an Ahmadi Muslim had been charged on the basis of their name under these laws and it highlighted a worrying escalation of the persecution of Ahmadi Muslims.
After the latest attack on 27 April at Karachi City Court, Mr. Tariq was forcibly taken by the mob to the police station, where the second FIR was registered on exactly the same grounds as November 2022. The police then arrested Mr. Tariq at the Karachi City Court Police Station. This is a deeply disturbing development that has seen an elderly, law-abiding man targeted, attacked and then arrested by the police despite being completely innocent.