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Author: Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmadra, 4th Caliph of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
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Home Critical Analysis/Archives Report on Punjab Disturbances of 1953
Report of The Court of Inquiry

MONTGOMERY

Montgomery is an important Ahrar centre because here (1) many Ahrar have settled. (2) several judicial cases against the Ahrar and sponsors of the anti-Ahmadiya movement originated and (3) the Ahrar run an institution, called Jami’ Rashidia which was the main centre of their religio-political activities. The five leading Ahrar in this district were Mufti Zia-ul-Hasan, a nephew of the Ahrar leader Maulvi Habib-ur-Rahman of Ludhiana, who has settled in Montgomery, Maulvi Habib Ullah, Maulvi Lutfullah and Maulvi Abdullah who are brothers and founders of Jami’ Rashidia at Montgomery, and Maulvi Bashir Ahmad Rizwani who has settled in Okara.

The story of the events that preceded or occurred during the disturbances here is to be found in an exhaustive written statement compiled by Mr. Haq Nawaz, Superintendent of Police, and is the same as elsewhere, namely, counter speeches by the Ahrar and the Ahmadis, a vigorous propaganda against the Ahmadis from the mosques after the demands had been formulated by the All Parties Muslim Convention in July 1952, collection of funds and recruitment of volunteers for the direct action and, after the arrests on 27th February, public meetings and processions and arrests under section 107, Criminal Procedure Code or section 3 of the Punjab Public Safety Act. Local members of the Jama’at-i-Islami and other maulvis joined the movement and mosques were converted into headquarters of the razakars. The names of persons of different parties including the Ahrar, the Jama’at-i-Islami and the Muslim League who took active part in the demonstrations are given in appendix 1 to the written statement of the Superintendent of Police. The number of volunteers recruited was 2,000 in Montgomery, 1,500 in Okara, 700 in Arifwala and 200 in Chichawatni.

Orders of the Provincial Government to arrest Maulvi Lutfullah and Habib Ullah were received on 27th February. The latter was already undergoing a sentence of imprisonment for contempt under an order of the High Court. The District authorities intended to make more arrests and obtained the Government’s permission to arrest Mufti Zia-ul-Hasan and M. Abdullah I and M. Abdullah II. On 2nd March instructions were received from the A. D. I. G. that volunteers proceeding to Karachi were not to be arrested.

The Chief Minister’s appeal of 6th March had the same effect here as elsewhere, namely, it gave further impetus to the agitation.

The only incidents of importance that occurred in this district were at Okara. On 6th March a mob of 3,000 visited the railway station and detained the Down Pakistan Mail for three hours. The crowd also broke the windows of carriages and vacuum chains and attempted to molest lady passengers. On 8th March, telegraph lines were cut near Okara. On 3rd April, after some fiery speeches had been made in the Jami’ Mosque, a procession of women, displaying some placards, came out. The police attempted to seize the placards, but an excited mob of 500 rushed towards the police. While the crowd was being pushed back by the police, a 70-year-old man received an injury and later died in the hospital. There is also the incident of 8th March, which we see no reason to disbelieve though it is not mentioned in any of the official statements, of Hafiz Muhammad Bakhsh, Secretary Ahmadiya Jama’at in Chak No. 2/4-L, near Okara; and his family members, of whom one is a graduate and the other a B. A., LL.B., having been made to recant their creed and abuse the founder of the Ahmadiya movement and of their having been taken from their village by a mob of 4 or 5 thousands to Jami’ Millia, Okara, where they were produced and required to repeat their recantation before Maulvi Zia-ud-Din and Maulvi Mueen-ud-Din.

A 24-hour curfew was imposed in Montgomery and Okara on 14th March to facilitate arrest of the ring leaders and again from 2-30 p.m. to 6 a.m. on 17th March at Montgomery. Public processions and meetings also were banned in Montgomery and Okara for a period of 17 days on 13th March.

The district returned to normal after the incident of Okara on 3rd April 1953.

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