Today we bid a sad farewell to an incredibly brave, kind-hearted and distinguished member of the Ahmadiyya Community, Rana Naeem Ahmad Sahib. To Allah we belong and to him we shall return.

As a tribute to him I want to tell some thing of his story /1
Following the passing of Ordinance XX in 1984 by General Zia ul Haq which essentially criminalised the religious and civic lives of Ahmadis in Pakstan, Ahmadi places of worship became targets of mob attacks. Often these mobs were encouraged & protected by the authorities. /2
Amongst these was an Ahmadi place of worship in Sahiwal which was set upon by students of a nearby Madrassa in October of 1984. Rana Naeem Ahmad Sahib was the caretaker of the building. The mob descended just before the Fajr prayer and Rana Sahib was woken up by their noise. /3
Though finding himself alone, rather than fleeing, he vowed to defend the place of worship. Armed with a shotgun he shouted out to the mob that he would not let them enter the premises of the building at any cost. /4
However, the crowd did not heed his warning, and stormed the building. The places ladders against the walls of the place of worship and began to deface the kalima. Rana Sahib gave warning before he fired in the direction of the attackers. At this the mob retreated and fled. /5
Following the attack Rana Sahib and 11 other Ahmadis were arrested, interrogated and tortured before a military tribunal handed death sentences to several of them including Rana Sahib. They spent the next 5 years on death row, unsure of what their fate might be. /6
Later their death sentences were commuted to life in prison before their convictions were eventually quashed and they they were subsequently released. /7
Rana Naeem Ahmad Sahib ended up moving to the United Kingdom which is where I got to know him. An incredibly, gentle, loving and mild-mannered man, I have many, many years worth of happy memories with him and he will sorely be missed. /8
In total since 1984, 25 Ahmadi places of worship have been set on fire or damaged in attacks, 18 have been forcibly occupied, and 29 have been demolished and over 3000 Ahmadis have had police cases registered against them on religious grounds. /9
Like all other Ahmadis Rana Sahib spent his life longing to see better days in his homeland, those of us who are still here yearn for the same, it is the hope that sustains everything. Whatever else the future might hold, for now we just bid farewell to a much loved friend. /10
As a prologue to this, sharing an incident about the fourth head of our community and the Sahiwal Ahmadi prisoners of conscience.
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