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Home Critical Analysis/Archives Report on Punjab Disturbances of 1953
Report of The Court of Inquiry

YAUM-I-TASHAKKUR

By their Lahore resolution, of January 1949, the Ahrar had decided to convert themselves into a purely religious party and to assist the Muslim League in all political matters. They had also announced that they would support the Muslim League in the forthcoming elections, provided the candidate nominated by the League was not an Ahmadi. Electioneering began in early winter 1950 and the results were announced in March 1951, the Muslim League having won by a large majority. The Muslim League had nominated some Ahmadis as its candidates, but they were all defeated. The Ahrar’s own activity during the elections was not consistent. According to the evidence of Mr. Daultana, though they helped some Muslim League candidates they also opposed others who were not Ahmadis. The Muslim League Ministry with Mr. Daultana as the Chief Minister, was installed in office in early April 1951.

As no Ahmadi was elected to the Legislative Assembly, the Ahrar announced that a ‘yaum-i-tashakkur’ (thanks-giving day) would be observed to celebrate the victory which they had scored over their opponents. This ‘yaum’ was celebrated in several places on different dates from March to May 1951. At Lyallpur it was celebrated on 20th April 1951, when at a mammoth public meeting; Ghulam Nabi Janbaz threatened an Ahmadi shopkeeper Fazal Din with dire consequences. On 7th May this shopkeeper was attacked in broad daylight in his own shop. On 13th May a mob set fire to an Ahmadi mosque at Samundri and the worshippers present there were thrashed.

At Gujranwala the day was advertised on the 29th and held on the 30th March 1951. The manner in which the meeting was advertised led to a scuffle between an Ahmadi and a non-Ahmadi, resulting in injuries to the latter.

In Lahore the ‘yaum-i-tashakkur’ was observed on 25th and 26th May 1951. In view of the fact that earlier Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari at Lahore and Muhammad Ali Jullundri At Jami’ Rashidia, Montgomery, had accused the Ahmadis of complicity in the Rawalpindi conspiracy and specifically mentioned in this connection the name of Major-General Nazir Ahmad, it was considered necessary to warn the Ahrar leaders that any repetition of that allegation would arouse violent antagonism against a wrong party and that the speaker making any reference to this subject would make himself liable for contempt of Court. Accordingly Mr. Qurban Ali Khan, Inspector-General of Police, sent for Master Taj-ud-Din Ansari on 23rd May 1951 and warned him of the consequences if any reference to this subject was made.

On the first day of the celebrations bands of volunteers of Ahrar from all over the Punjab and the Frontier Districts of Peshawar and Haripur Hazara, paraded in a procession through the streets of Lahore, being accompanied by five bands. At the evening meeting, which was attended by several prominent men including Muslim League M. L. As. and office-bearers, speeches were made by Ahrar leaders including Sahibzada Faiz-ul-Hasan who demanded that the Ahmadis be declared a minority or forced to leave this country and settle in India. Maulana Ahmad Ali, who presided at the meeting, moved a resolution demanding the Pakistan Government to remove Ahmadis from responsible posts, while Sayyad Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari referred to the arrest of Major-General Nazir Ahmad, which arrest, he remarked, had converted the ‘yaum-i-tashakkar’ into ‘yaum-i-tafakhkhur’ because the State had been saved from a grave peril. In his usual vulgar humour he remarked that Major-General Nazir Ahmad had been stripped naked and that it was for the Ahmadis to get him another pair of trousers. He also alleged that Major-General Nazir Ahmad had been instigated to join the conspiracy by Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad. The slogans suggested by Bukhari to be shouted by the audience were :

Namak-haraman-i-Pakistan   murdabad”,  “Ghaddaran-i-Pakistan murdabad”, “Pakistan    zindabad”,             “Mirza Bashir-ud-Din murdabad” and “Mirzaeeat      murdabad”.

At the meeting of 26th May, Qazi Ehsan Ahmad Shujabadi again referred to the Rawalpindi Conspiracy Case while Sheikh Husam-ud-Din declared that Ahmadis who were a danger to the national unity of Muslims, should be removed from key posts. Disparaging remarks by him and Allama Ala-ud-Din Siddiqui were made about Chaudhri Zafrullah Khan, demanding his removal. On this day also a procession was taken out.

When the report of the speeches at this meeting was placed before the Chief Minister in the ordinary course he made the following significant remark : —

“Ahrar are merely trying to capture a political ‘living space’ on an issue which has obvious attraction for the common run of people in Pakistan. We have to watch closely that a measure is kept.”

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