Abul Shukoor a member of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Pakistan has been sentenced to 8 years in prison for the crime of keeping Ahmadiyya books.
81-year-old Shukoor and his bookstore manager Mazhar Ahmad were arrested on Dec. 2 by Punjab Police. Both were charged under section 298-C and provision 8 of the anti-terrorism act for the simple act of keeping books of Ahmadiyya Muslim faith. Shukoor has been sentenced to 8 years in prison and fined 150,000 PKR ($1,500) while his store manager Mazhar has been given a 5 year prison sentence and has been ordered to pay a fine of 100,000 PKR ($1,000).
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was declared non-Muslim by law in 1974 and its members have faced severe persecution at the hands of the Government and the public since. Members of the Ahmadi sect are prohibited from calling themselves Muslim and are banned from “acting like Muslims”. Recently Punjab’s provincial government also criminalized the act of keeping literature and books of the Ahmadiyya faith.