The decision

KM (Ahmadi- risk-Rabwah) Pakistan [2004] UKIAT 00302


Date of Hearing: 31 August 2004
Date Signed:      
Date Determination Notified: 12 November 2004


Mr P D King TD - Vice President
Mr A G Jeevanjee
Ms J A Endersby






For the Appellant: Mr A Khan [Solicitor]
For the Respondent: Mr A Sheikh, Home Office Presenting Officer

1. The Claimant, a national of Pakistan, appeals with leave of the Tribunal against a Determination of an Adjudicator, Mr Michael Watters, dismissing his appeal against the decision of the Secretary of State giving directions for removal having refused asylum. Mr A Khan, a solicitor of Thompson & Co., appeared for the Appellant. Mr A Sheikh, the Home Office Presenting Officer, appeared for the Respondent.

2. The Appellant is an Ahmadi. In 1997 he moved to Karachi and was the subject of attack by members of the Khatne Nabuwwat (KN) in October and December of that year. He received threats from the KN in February 2001 and was attacked by police in October 2001. He was also in an Ahmadi youth camp in November 2002 when it was attacked by KN. The Adjudicator found the account to be credible, save that he did not find the threats made in May 2003 to have occurred.

3. The Adjudicator further found that the Appellant could not live in certain parts of Pakistan because of a well-founded fear of persecution for a Convention reason. He did however find that the Claimant could live in Rabwah. In paragraph 21 of the Determination the Adjudicator said as follows:-

“The background evidence equally makes it clear that there are a very considerable number of Ahmadis who live in Rabwah who are able to live normal lives without significant difficulty. There is some evidence of discrimination in employment but equally there is evidence indicating that Ahmadis make up the bulk of the employed population.”

4. The Adjudicator went on at paragraph 22 to say as follows:-

“The appellant might well come to the notice of members of the KN in Rabwah if he continued to preach the Ahmadi faith. However inside Rabwah the authorities at all levels include many persons who are themselves of the Ahmadi faith including members of the police force. If the KN sought to inflict harm on the appellant then effective protection would be available.”

5. The grounds of appeal take issue with the Adjudicator’s finding that the Appellant may relocate to Rabwah. In particular the grounds seek to argue that the Adjudicator did not consider all the evidence of an objective nature which was placed before him. Such would have shown him that it was not safe for the Appellant to return and that there was no sufficiency of protection available to him. This would be particularly so were he to preach.

6. On the issue of returnability to Rabwah (now known as Chenab Nagar), Mr Khan invited our attention to the objective material. A very large bundle of such material had been presented although only a small part of it was referred to specifically in the course of argument.

7. Mr Khan submitted that in Rabwah there were approximately 35,000 Ahmadis and that the population was 95 per cent Ahmadi. He was unable to find any recent figures but believed that might have increased. He further submitted that Ahmadis in Rabwah suffered the same abuse and persecution as they did in any other part of the country.

8. Our attention was drawn to a letter from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association UK dated 11 May 2003. This is to be found at pages 106 to 108 of the Appellant’s bundle of documents. The letter seeks to suggest that Rabwah, in many ways, is less safe for Ahmadis than other towns in Pakistan. The country’s anti-Ahmadiyya and religious laws are equally applicable in Rabwah. As the majority of the local population is Ahmadi there is no shortage of targets in respect of action taken against the community. The letter goes on to say that there are no Ahmadis in the police, judiciary or other administrative offices in Rabwah. There has long been a deliberate policy of the government to disallow such postings even at low level. There is no representation of Ahmadis in the local city council.

9. The letter goes on to say that there have been attacks against Ahmadis and their properties in the recent past. There have been anti-Ahmadi demonstrations and marches by non-local participants through the town. The police failed to take any action.

10. The letter further states that fundamentalist groups have focused upon Rabwah as a matter of policy for the past 25 years aided by the state. Residential land to the east side of the town has been forcibly taken over by the authorities. There has been a big mosque and seminary built to provide the muslim clerics with a solid base for anti-Ahmadiyya presence and action. There are a number of mosques in the outskirts of Rabwah. Resident
mullahs in collaboration with the police, registered three criminal cases on religious grounds against thirteen Ahmadis. It is said that the authorities in Rabwah are not even-handed but are biased against Ahmadis. An example was cited of 12 March 2003 in respect of a visit to an Ahmadi’s shop by an inspector. No agricultural land is available in the outskirts of Rabwah for building and the town cannot expand.

11. Our attention was also drawn to the report by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan “State of Human Rights 2003 - Freedom of thought, conscience and religion”. That report is to be found at pages 181 to 198 of the Appellant’s bundle of documents. It speaks of the continued growth of intolerance in the society, in particular of increased discrimination against non-Muslims. It speaks of the Ahmadi community confronting violence, widespread discrimination and harassment. Our attention was drawn to page 187 of the Appellant’s bundle, which is page 163 of the report. It speaks of a visit in March 2003 by the local police to a shop where was displayed a large framed photograph of the founder of the Ahmadi movement. The photograph was removed and a criminal case was instituted. In June Rabwah police registered a case for writing the kalima (Islamic Creed) on a house. A youth spent four weeks in prison before being bailed. Another man was charged in May for leading Ahmadis in prayers and propagating the faith. The man was released only after several months in jail. In September 2003 police registered a case against an Ahmadi.

12. A matter, which was stressed by Mr Khan, was to be found at page 189 of the Claimant’s bundle and 165 of the report. The head of the global Ahmadi community, Mirza Tahir Ahmad died in London. The community wanted to bury their leader in his own country. That was refused given the potential breach of law and order which was threatened by the orthodox clerics. Ahmadis continue to be barred from holding religious conferences in Rabwah although the KH are permitted to hold numerous open air gatherings in the town. As to the Khatam –e-Nabuwwat,such is
becoming more militant. According to the Amnesty International report dated 15 May 2001 “Pakistan - insufficient protection of religious minorities” KH in 2000 formed a new Mujahideen force with the intention that such units be established all over the country.

13. Thus, submits Mr Khan, the situation in Rabwah is that Ahmadis continue to suffer discrimination in respect of land, education, religious practice and are the victims of violence. Even the name of the town was changed by the Provincial Assembly. We were invited to have regard to the fact that the letter from the Ahmadiyya Association reflected the accurate position on the ground. Mr Khan submitted that there was no effective protection, rather there was active and persistent discrimination.

14. Given the letter from the Ahmadiyya Association, which was before the Adjudicator at the time of the hearing, it was not open to him, argued Mr Khan, to find that inside Rabwah the authorities at all levels included many persons who are themselves of the Ahmadi faith including members of the police force. The reality within Rabwah is that the KN are able to inflict harm and that no effective protection is available.

15. Mr Khan accepted that the Adjudicator was following the guidance of the Tribunal in two cases. The first being that of MN (Ahmadi-internal relocation) Pakistan GC [2002] UKIAT 05714, notified in December 2002. In that decision Dr Storey, the Vice President, indicated in paragraph 13 that inside Rabwah the authorities at all levels include many persons who are themselves of Ahmadi faith including members of the police force. Mr Khan submitted that there was no citing of any objective evidence to show that that was the case and indeed the evidence which he seeks to rely upon would show to the contrary. The second decision was that of MC (Ahmadi-IFA-Sufficiency of protection) Pakistan [2004] UKIAT 00139. In that case Miss Eshun, the Vice President, effectively followed the lead given by the previous case and indeed made similar observations. It was submitted by Mr Khan that that was in error.

16. A linked but distinct aspect of the grounds of appeal is the fact that the Appellant would not be protected, particularly were he to be preaching. Although there are some three to four million Ahmadis in Pakistan, not all of those seek to preach or to publicise their faith openly in accordance with their religious requirements. For those who do, however, it exposes them to considerable danger. The case of Iftikhar Ahmed [IAT RF 99/0490/C] was cited in support of the proposition there is no protection for those who preach.

17. Mr Khan submitted that there were essentially two groups of Ahmadi living in Pakistan. One group, possibly the majority group, did not proselytise. These did not come to the adverse attention of the authorities. Those who did incurred the wrath of KN and there was no sufficiency of protection.

18. Mr Sheikh, on behalf of the Respondent, submitted that the Adjudicator had not accepted the evidence of any difficulties in May 2003. The last time the Appellant had any difficulties in Pakistan was in November 2002. He had drawn attention to himself by attending a camp. However there was no suggestion that he is or was a preacher of long standing, such as to attract the attention of the authorities to him. Indeed for a number of years nothing would seem to have happened to him. He was not a preacher trying to convert people but on his own admission took a job as an estate agent. He had other interests and pursued them. There was, therefore, notwithstanding the evidence as presented, nothing likely to draw the attention of the Appellant to the authorities. His case fell into a different category to that which was considered by the Court of Appeal in the case of Iftikar Ahmed. Ahmadis run businesses, hold professional positions, attend schools, living their normal lives. Our attention was drawn to the CIPU Report in particular paragraph 6.7 and 6.89.

19. We turn first to consider the general evidence relating to Rabwah as presented before us. May we comment first of all that it is perhaps somewhat unhelpful to receive a bundle on behalf of the Appellant of some 304 folios, when our attention was drawn but to a small fraction of the bundle. We invited Mr Khan to draw our attention to any other passages which he felt it were appropriate in the circumstances of this appeal. He indicated, however, that he had invited our attention to the salient passages. Smaller ‘bundles’ more focused to the issue would have been of greater assistance.

20. Our attention was drawn to the suggested formation of KT action groups in 2000. We were not, however, given any indication as to what progress ,if any, such groups have made in the subsequent years. The article pre-dated the September 11 events. It is clear that the President of Pakistan and the government have clamped down strongly against extremist groups. It might have been more helpful to us had some indication been given as to the effect, if at all, such a clamp down has had on the KN.

21. Mr Khan, first of all, seeks to persuade us that Rabwah is unsafe for Ahmadis generally. He presents two particular arguments. The first relates to the concentration of Ahmadis in Rabwah with the suggestion that given such a concentration it is easier for the authorities to locate Ahmadis for persecutory activities. There are, however, no statistics to indicate whether the incidence of persecution or difficulty in Rabwah is greater, lesser or in proportion compared with the other parts of the country. As a matter of common sense it may be imagined that there is strength in numbers and protection by being part of a greater whole. For an Ahmadi family living in a largely Muslim area the scope for protection, or for unification of action or assistance is limited. Nothing has been presented before us to indicate that the incidents of alleged persecutory activity are greater in Rabwah, if at all. Clearly there will be discrimination; that cannot be avoided given the legal and religious situation as exists in Pakistan. With Ahmadis in a particular place it might be reasonable to assume that there would be a greater incidence of anti-Ahmadi activity. There is no indication, however, that that is the case in Rabwah. The examples cited and quoted above are very specific and are not supportive of any suggestion of widespread or systematic ill treatment to members of this faith in Rabwah itself. Nor do the difficulties experienced in burying the leader and in the barring of holding of religious conferences, albeit distressing, themselves constitute a “consistent pattern of gross and systematic violations of the fundamental human rights” of Ahmadis in Rabwah. Hariri [2003] EWCA Civ 807.

22. The letter from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association of the UK is one which perhaps sheds some light upon life in Rabwah. It is ,however, written from a particular viewpoint and the criticisms which are offered as to the administration must necessarily be seen in that light. It is clearly distressing that there are demonstrations and marches through the town organised by mullahs and the building of mosques in the outskirts of the town to strengthen the Muslim presence in Rabwah may be viewed with concern. Such, however, has to be set against the seeming ability of some 35,000 Ahmadis to conduct their lives in the town. The letter speaks of the registration of three criminal cases on religious grounds against thirteen Ahmadis. There is no indication, however, for example how many cases in total would have been brought in a course of a year. The letter speaks of violent action against Ahmadis but gives no particulars as to those matters. Our attention was not drawn specifically to any widespread violent activity entered into in Rabwah. The lack of participation by Ahmadis in the levels of administration is not a suggestion supported by any other report or document as presented to us, as for example the Commission of Pakistan report 2003.

23. As the case of Subesh [2004] EWCA Civ 56 makes clear, country guidance cases are of importance in giving general advice and maintaining consistency. We are grateful to Mr Khan for drawing our attention to matters which perhaps will merit further consideration in updating the advice to be given to Adjudicators in considering relocation to Rabwah. We find, however, that the case of MC Pakistan [2004] UKIAT 00139 should be taken to reflect the reality of the situation particularly as expressed in paragraph 15 of that decision. In any event, notwithstanding the potential issue of administrative involvement, we do not find that the incidents of violence in Rabwah against Ahmadis are of such a scale or so endemic as to demonstrate any consistent pattern of gross, fragment or mass violations of the human rights of those Ahmadis living there. Nor do we find that the authorities are generally unable or unwilling to afford local Ahmadis effective protection should such a need arise on a more individual basis.

24. Mr Khan next urged us to allow the appeal on the basis of the personal circumstances of the Appellant and the fact that, as a preacher and one who seeks to proselytise, he would be exposed to a greater danger on return. However, we do not find that the case for his falling into that category is made out. There is nothing to indicate that he is driven by his faith to preach and to seek to proselytise in any particular way. Even accepting the incidents at the hands of the KN in 1997 it would seem that thereafter for some four years the Appellant experienced no difficulties on account of his faith. He received a threat in February 2000 that seemingly was not translated into action. Ten to fifteen mullahs attacked a convention which he had played a part in organising in October 2001 and which led to his arrest and detention for 24 hours. He was released on the payment of money. Thereafter for the following year nothing is suggested of an adverse nature having occurred. There is no indication that the Appellant placed himself in the forefront of attention by preaching or attending any other particularly overt meeting. In November 2002 when the Ahmadi youth organisation arranged a free medical camp to distribute medication and to preach the faith there was a further clash with the KN. The Appellant managed to escape and there is no suggestion that thereafter he experienced any difficulties at the hands of the authorities. We note that the Adjudicator did not find that the incident in May 2003 had taken place.

25. It is to be noted that the Appellant had graduated from Karachi University as a Bachelor in Commerce and had joined a city bank as a sales executive. It is to be noted that as from November 2002 the Appellant went to Rawalpindi, where he rented a house and was employed by Al-Khleel Estate Travel, the owner of the firm being a non-Ahmadi and a friend. There he lived in relative peace .

26. It would seem that the Appellant was able to earn his living in various parts of Pakistan without difficulty, particularly in Rawalpindi. The Appellant had also lived in Lahore where he remained until he departed. There is nothing in the statement of the Appellant dated 10 July 2003, which was before the Adjudicator, to say that he was compelled to preach and to proselytise. It is not a matter that seems to have been raised before the Adjudicator. The case of Iftikhar Ahmed is to be seen in the context of a person for whom an obligation to profess and disseminate was persistent and unrelenting. We do not find that characteristic to be demonstrated in the life of the Appellant as presented.

27. The situation as faced the court in Iftikhar Ahmed is set out by Simon Brown LJ in his judgment, perhaps best encapsulated by the following paragraph on the seventh page of the judgment:-

“The present case, however, seems to be strikingly different. This appellant, it is common ground, has suffered persecution in his own country, often daily, over a period of years. His religion requires him to proselytise, although it is true not all - indeed, perhaps few - Ahmadis carry that obligation to the lengths he does. His assertion that ‘If he returned to Pakistan and went to live in a different part of the country he would still follow the command of his spiritual leaders and still be vocal in his proclamation of Ahmadis beliefs’ is in these circumstances highly likely to be true. After all, had he wished to avoid persecution in the past he could always simply have ceased his activities. Moreover, not only is his assertion inherently credible, but in any event his evidence was accepted by the special adjudicator and, as I understand it, was assumed to be truthful by the IAT.”

28. We do not find that that situation is one which the Appellant faces. His statement is silent as to that requirement and his lifestyle does not reflect such an uncompromising attitude as was found to be the case in Iftikhar Ahmed.

29. In the circumstances, on the totality of the evidence, we find that it would not be unduly harsh to expect the Claimant to relocate to Rabwah. We do not find that he is reasonably likely to be the object of any specific targeting in Rabwah on account of his religion or at all. Nor do we find, on the evidence as presented, that he, as an Amadi living in Rabwah ,would be the subject of any consistent pattern of gross and systematic violation of his fundamental human rights or to be exposed to any flagrant denial or gross violation of such fundamental rights, which would be persecutory in nature or which would cross the threshold in respect of Article 3 of ECHR. Ullah [2004] UKHL 26. We do not find that his faith compels him to speak out when others around him may be more discreet in their public and overt activities.

30. We conclude, therefore, that the Adjudicator in his determination made a full and fair assessment of the case as presented for the Appellant and paid due regard to the objective material. His findings were properly supported by the evidence when set in the overall context of the objective material. No error of law is disclosed.

31. In the circumstances therefore the appeal is dismissed.