MN and Others (Ahmadis- country conditions - risk) Pakistan CG

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
CourtUpper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber)
JudgeDawson,Gleeson,Storey
Judgment Date20 Jun 2012
Neutral Citation[2012] UKUT 389 (IAC)

[2012] UKUT 389 (IAC)

Upper Tribunal

(Immigration and Asylum Chamber)

THE IMMIGRATION ACTS

Before

UPPER TRIBUNAL JUDGE Storey

UPPER TRIBUNAL JUDGE Gleeson

UPPER TRIBUNAL JUDGE Dawson

Between
MN
NH
ZN
SB
HQ
Appellants
and
The Secretary of State for the Home Department
Respondent
Representation:

For the Appellants: MN - Mr P Jorro succeeded by Mr D Lemer both instructed by Rolens Solicitors

NH - Mr C Yeo, instructed by Wimbledon Solicitors

ZN - Ms S Jegarajah, instructed by Wimbledon Solicitors

SB - Mr M Gill, QC instructed Thompson and Co Solicitors

HQ - Mr D Lemer, instructed by Thompson and Co Solicitors

For the Respondent: Mr Z Malik instructed by Treasury Solicitors

MN and others (Ahmadis — country conditions — risk) Pakistan CG

  • 1. This country guidance replaces previous guidance inMJ & ZM (Ahmadis – risk) Pakistan CG [2008] UKAIT 00033, andIA & Others (Ahmadis: Rabwah) Pakistan CG [2007] UKAIT 00088. The guidance we give is based in part on the developments in the law including the decisions of the Supreme Court inHJ (Iran) [2010] UKSC 31, RT (Zimbabwe) [2012] UKSC 38and the CJEU decision inGermany v. Y (C-71/11) & Z (C-99/11). The guidance relates principally to Qadiani Ahmadis; but as the legislation which is the background to the issues raised in these appeals affects Lahori Ahmadis also, they too are included in the country guidance stated below.

  • 2.

    • (i) The background to the risk faced by Ahmadis is legislation that restricts the way in which they are able openly to practise their faith. The legislation not only prohibits preaching and other forms of proselytising but also in practice restricts other elements of manifesting one's religious beliefs, such as holding open discourse about religion with non-Ahmadis, although not amounting to proselytising. The prohibitions include openly referring to one's place of worship as a mosque and to one's religious leader as an Imam. In addition, Ahmadis are not permitted to refer to the call to prayer as azan nor to call themselves Muslims or refer to their faith as Islam. Sanctions include a fine and imprisonment and if blasphemy is found, there is a risk of the death penalty which to date has not been carried out although there is a risk of lengthy incarceration if the penalty is imposed. There is clear evidence that this legislation is used by non-state actors to threaten and harass Ahmadis. This includes the filing of First Information Reports (FIRs) (the first step in any criminal proceedings) which can result in detentions whilst prosecutions are being pursued. Ahmadis are also subject to attacks by non-state actors from sectors of the majority Sunni Muslim population.

    • (ii) It is, and has long been, possible in general for Ahmadis to practise their faith on a restricted basis either in private or in community with other Ahmadis, without infringing domestic Pakistan law.

  • 3.

    • (i) If an Ahmadi is able to demonstrate that it is of particular importance to his religious identity to practise and manifest his faith openly in Pakistan in defiance of the restrictions in the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) under sections 298B and 298C, by engaging in behaviour described in paragraph 2(i) above, he or she is likely to be in need of protection, in the light of the serious nature of the sanctions that potentially apply as well as the risk of prosecution under section 295C for blasphemy.

    • (ii) It is no answer to expect an Ahmadi who fits the description just given to avoid engaging in behaviour described in paragraph 2(i) above (“paragraph 2(i) behaviour”) to avoid a risk of prosecution.

  • 4. The need for protection applies equally to men and women. There is no basis for considering that Ahmadi women as a whole are at a particular or additional risk; the decision that they should not attend mosques in Pakistan was made by the Ahmadi Community following attacks on the mosques in Lahore in 2010. There is no evidence that women in particular were the target of those attacks.

  • 5. In light of the above, the first question the decision-maker must ask is (1) whether the claimant genuinely is an Ahmadi. As with all judicial fact-finding the judge will need to reach conclusions on all the evidence as a whole giving such weight to aspects of that evidence as appropriate in accordance with Article 4 of the Qualification Directive. This is likely to include an enquiry whether the claimant was registered with an Ahmadi community inPakistan and worshipped and engaged there on a regular basis. Post-arrival activity will also be relevant. Evidence likely to be relevant includes confirmation from the UK Ahmadi headquarters regarding the activities relied on in Pakistan and confirmation from the local community in the UK where the claimant is worshipping.

  • 6. The next step (2) involves an enquiry into the claimant's intentions or wishes as to his or her faith, if returned to Pakistan. This is relevant because of the need to establish whether it is of particular importance to the religious identity of the Ahmadi concerned to engage in paragraph 2(i) behaviour. The burden is on the claimant to demonstrate that any intention or wish to practise and manifest aspects of the faith openly that are not permitted by the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) is genuinely held and of particular importance to the claimant to preserve his or her religious identity. The decision maker needs to evaluate all the evidence. Behaviour since arrival in the UK may also be relevant. If the claimant discharges this burden he is likely to be in need of protection.

  • 7. The option of internal relocation, previously considered to be available in Rabwah, is not in general reasonably open to a claimant who genuinely wishes to engage n paragraph 2(i) behaviour, in the light of the nationwide effect in Pakistan of the anti-Ahmadi legislation.

  • 8. Ahmadis who are not able to show that they practised their faith at all in Pakistan or that they did so on anything other than the restricted basis described in paragraph 2(ii) above are in general unlikely to be able to show that their genuine intentions or wishes are to practise and manifest their faith openly on return, as described in paragraph 2(i) above.

  • 9. A sur place claim by an Ahmadi based on post-arrival conversion or revival in belief and practice will require careful evidential analysis. This will probably include consideration of evidence of the head of the claimant's local United Kingdom Ahmadi Community and from the UK headquarters, the latter particularly in cases where there has been a conversion. Any adverse findings in the claimant's account as a whole may be relevant to the assessment of likely behaviour on return.

  • 10. Whilst an Ahmadi who has been found to be not reasonably likely to engage or wish to engage in paragraph 2(i) behaviour is, in general, not at real risk on return to Pakistan, judicial fact-finders may in certain cases need to consider whether that person would nevertheless be reasonably likely to be targeted by non-state actors on return for religious persecution by reason of his/her prominent social and/or business profile.

DETERMINATION AND REASONS

Paragraph

INTRODUCTION

1-8

APPELLANTS' CASE HISTORIES

9-25

EXTRACTS FROM THE PAKISTAN PENAL CODE

26-27

REPORTS BY THE AHMADIYYA ASSOCIATION OF INCIDENTS

28-33

INTRODUCTION TO THE EXPERT AND OTHER WITNESSES

34-35

UNHCR ELIGIBILITY GUIDELINES FOR ASSESSING THE INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION

NEEDS OF MEMBERS OF RELIGIOUS MINORITIES FROM PAKISTAN DATED 14 MAY 2012

36-40

THE US DEPARTMENT OF STATE, INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM REPORT FOR 2011

41-42

SUMMARY OF SUBMISSIONS

43-45

OUR CONCLUSIONS ON THE EXPERT AND OTHER EVIDENCE

46-66

JUDGMENT OF SUPREME COURT OF PAKISTAN (ZAHEERUDDIN)

67-72

PREVIOUS COUNTRY GUIDANCE, RELEVANT CASE LAW AND OUR GENERAL CONCLUSIONS

73-117

COUNTRY GUIDANCE

118-127

DETERMINATION OF THE APPEALS: GENERAL

128

DETERMINATION OF THE APPEALS - THE FIVE APPELLANTS

129-159

SCHEDULE I -EXPERT AND OTHER EVIDENCE

160-268

SCHEDULE II - SUBMISSIONS

269-284

SCHEDULE III - SUPPLEMENTARY SUBMISSIONS

285-288

APPENDICES:

APPENDIX A - GLOSSARY

APPENDIX B -COPY OF ORDINANCE XX

APPENDIX C - DOCUMENTATION PLACED IN EVIDENCE

APPENDIX D - EXTRACT FROM “PERSECUTION OF AHMADIS IN PAKISTAN 2011”

INTRODUCTION

1. The Ahmadiyya1 sect was established in 19th century India by its eponymous founder Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908). On his death, the institution of Khalifat was established providing for the members of the sect to elect a successor to carry on his work and to be the spiritual and worldly head of the community. The current Khalifa is based in the United Kingdom where the headquarters were established in 1984. The Ahmadis have had a presence in this country since 1913. There are Ahmadi centres worldwide including the United States, Mauritius, Germany, Canada, Russia and Japan.

2. A core belief of the Ahmadi is that their founder is the Imam Mahdi and the promised Messiah. His advent was prophesied by Mohammed the prophet. This is a heresy to mainstream Sunni Muslims whose fundamental belief is that God no longer speaks after Mohammed, (Khatamun Nabiyyeen – literally, the last prophet). The Ahmadi claim that although all Muslims are required to propagate their faith, the Ahmadi are required to do so by personal example and by encouragement with no compulsion. They call this tabligh. The Ahmadi contend that for mainstream Muslims, the jihad (holy war) is an obligation to be pursued with force. Mainstream Muslims regard the Ahmadi as non-believers and non-Muslims.

3. Following independence in 1947 when British India was divided along religious lines, Ahmadis established themselves in West Pakistan later Pakistan. Tensions have grown in Pakistan between the Ahmadi and...

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