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A chronicle and a critique of the legislative and the judicial events leading to a gradual denial and erosion of religious freedom to Ahmadis in Pakistan. This work is intended to provide an insight into the background of the Supreme Court judgment in the Ahmadis' case.
Hadhrat Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad (ra), The 2nd Head of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.Description:
The purpose of this book is to convey an authentic account of the beliefs and doctrines of the Movement and the purpose of its establishment. It also refutes the false charges that were made by the orthodox divines and contradicts the baseless allegations made against the Movement. (read it online
Report of The Court of Inquiry
MORE SPEECHES BY BUKHARI
An Ahrar conference called the Suba Conference or the Khatm-i-Nubuwwat Conference or the Difa’ Conference was announced to be held at Okara in the Montgomery district on 24th and 25th November 1951. The local police officers suggested that this meeting should be banned and the suggestion was accepted by the Chief Minister. In the meantime, however, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr. Cheema, had arrived at a settlement with the Ahrar and permitted them not only to hold the meeting but had also offered to preside over it himself. Mr. Cheema insisted that this conference be permitted to be held and the Government agreed to this. But the apprehensions of the local police officers turned out to be true because in the speech made by Qazi Ehsan Ahmad Shujabadi in the meeting presided over by Mr. Cheema, he alleged that Ahmadis had a hand in the assassination of the Quaid-i-Millat which had occurred in the preceding October. On the following day Mr. Faiz Muhammad Khan, the Additional District Magistrate, attended the meeting and delivered a short speech. Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari as usual made a long speech in the course of which he referred to Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad’s statement that even after the creation of Pakistan efforts would be made for reunion of the country. He described this as an act of treachery and proceeded to say that one traitor was worse than ten million swine (khanzeers).
Taking Mr. Cheema’s conduct as a precedent the Deputy Commissioner of Muzaffargarh attended a Defence Conference at Muzaffargarh on 28th and 29th November 1951, and the Deputy Commissioner, Gujrat, made a request to preside over a similar meeting in his district. The request, however, was turned down and Mr. Cheema’s own conduct, which was the subject-matter of lengthy correspondence between him and the Government, was not approved by the Government.
On 22nd November 1951, Mr. Bashir Ahmad, Amir-i-Jama’at-i-Ahmadiya, Lahore, wrote a letter to the Chief Secretary complaining of a highly inflammatory speech delivered by Sayyad Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari in Lahore in the preceding September. In this letter he pointed out that two meetings organised by the Ahmadiya community to which speakers of all sects had been invited to address the audience on the life of the Holy Prophet on the occasion of ‘Seerat-un-Nabi’, had been obstructed at Multan and Lahore, that religious intolerance had manifested itself in the assassination of the Quaid-i-Millat, in Shia-Sunni conflicts and attacks on Christians, and that unless curbed, it would assume proportions which may prove a headache for the administration. He claimed for every subject of the State the liberty to profess and preach his faith and asked the Government to have an absolutely clear policy in the matter which should be followed in practice. He complained that either the Government had no policy on the subject or those who had to carry it out were not serious about it and requested the Government to have the position examined thoroughly. The Chief Secretary asked for comments on this application from the Inspector- General of Police, Mr. Qurban Ali Khan, who wrote a short and clear note stating that he agreed with every single word of Mr. Bashir Ahmad’s representation and remarked that irrespective of religious faith or creed it was the clear duty of the Government to protect every one against aggression, that this could be done only if a firm policy were decided upon and clear instructions issued to the district officers and that the earlier this was done, the better it was for the administration and the people.
In those very days another incident had been reported by the Superintendent of Police, Muzaffargarh, in his weekly confidential diary for the week ending 27th October 1951. The report was that a public meeting had been held on 21st October 1951 at Alipur under the auspices of the Ahrar party, which was addressed by a single speaker, Sayyad Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari, that in his speech Bukhari had alleged that the Mirzais had not accepted the Partition willingly and expected once more to unite with India, that they were traitors to Pakistan and were working as Indian spies and that a Mirzai spy had been caught in Lahore collaborating with an Indian spy Gopal Das. This report was taken notice of by Mr. Khuda Bakhsh, S. P. (B) who sent it up to the D. I. G. with the remark that the warning administered once to Master Taj-ud-Dins the President, and subsequently to Maulvi Mazhar Ali Azhar, the General .Secretary, of the Majlis-i-Ahrar had had no effect. The D. I. G., Mr. Anwar Ali, again, wrote a long note on 7th November 1951 referring to the warnings given by the Governor, the Chief Secretary the Advisor for Law, and the I. G. Police, to the Ahrar leaders, including Sh. Husam-ud-Din, and to the irresponsible speeches made by the Ahrar at Okara in consequence of which faces of some Ahmadi preachers were blackened and one Ahmadi killed, and made the following proposals:—
that one or two Ahrar leaders who had been promoting hatred among classes should be served with a gag order and forbidden from making public speeches,
that as an alternative such persons should be restricted to their home villages and not allowed to move out without the previous sanction of Government, and
that they should be prosecuted under section 153-A for causing hatred between communities.
He ended by pointing out that unless something drastic was done, the Ahrar leaders would not respond to any gentlemanly treatment. When the case came up to Mr. Qurban Ali Khan, he on 14th November 1951 took careful stock of the position and remarked that the Ahrar had done enough to justify firm action being taken against them, that the warning conveyed by him to Sh. Husam-ud-Din had had no effect on the Ahrar, that it was obvious that no warning could be of any use, that even if the Ahrar as a party refrained for some-time from denouncing the Ahmadis, Bukhari who had no qualification except that of abusing the Ahmadis and was incorrigible would not be able to desist from it. His own view he stated as follows:—
“Unless therefore he (Bukhari) is prohibited from attending public meetings or is shown some one else publicly to abuse he will never stop saying all that he is doing or even worse against the Ahmadis. If he is prohibited from attending or addressing public meetings, he and his party would be provided with a platform to come to life again. If he is arrested, his party, though dying, will gain vigour again. It is really now for the politicians to weigh and see which is the lesser evil—to deal firmly with the Ahrar and to face their agitation, or to let them go on with this nefarious and dangerous and uncalled fop propaganda against the Ahmadis. Personally I would take the former action. It will not only curb the Ahrar but would also help build a more tolerant character in the nation”.
The case came to the Chief Secretary who submitted it to the Chief Minister to decide the point after hearing the I. G. and the D. I. G., C. I. D. in his (Chief Secretary’s) presence. The Secretary to the Chief Minister returned the file with the remark that the Chief Minister intended to talk to the Ahrar leaders and that no action need be taken until he had discussed things with them.
A deputation of the Ahmadis waited upon the Chief Secretary on 30th November 1951 in connection with Mr. Bashir Ahmad’s representation. Mr. S. Alamgir, who was present at the interview, recorded a note of what transpired at the interview, and submitted it to the Chief Secretary on 1st December 1951. He pointed out that Ahrar-Ahmadiya controversy was gaining ground every day and was likely to develop further and that it was necessary for Government to evolve a definite policy to deal with this important question which had serious repercussions on law and order. He suggested to the Chief Secretary that the Chief Minister should call a meeting of the Chief Secretary, I. G. P. and Deputy Home Secretary before he (Chief Minister) talked to the leaders of the Ahrar party. Accordingly on 6th December 1951, the Chief Minister, the Chief Secretary, the Inspector-General of Police and Deputy Home Secretary met in a meeting and decided to issue a formal letter to Commissioners of Divisions and Deputy Commissioners that strong executive measures should be taken to enable the Ahrar and the Ahmadis to hold their respective meetings and to ensure that no violence was resorted to by either party. Consequently the following directive was issued to all Deputy Commissioners on 24th December 1951:—
“As you are aware, the Ahrar-Ahmadiya controversy has been brewing for sometime past in the Province and certain incidents of personal violence which occurred recently have caused grave concern to the administration. It has been Government’s firm policy that the legitimate rights of any community or sect to practise its religious beliefs should not be unduly restricted and that no discrimination in this respect should be made between different parties. It is, nevertheless, important that religious controversies should be discouraged or at any rate they should not be allowed to the extent of endangering the public peace and tranquillity. This letter is particularly designed to invite the attention of district officers to meetings held by the Ahrar or by the Ahmadis.
“2. Government feel that wherever the district authorities are vigilant and are able to enforce timely preventive measures, there is little or no likelihood of the Ahrar or of the Ahmadis disturbing each other’s meetings. Clashes have occurred only where the local authorities have failed to adopt a firm attitude or have otherwise failed to assess dispassionately the rights or wrongs of the parties concerned. If both parties are dealt with firmly and justly without any discrimination whatever, there is no reason why this increasing menace of vilification by one Muslim sect of another should not be brought under proper control”.
The Jama’at-i-Ahmadiya, Sialkot, intended to hold its Tabligh Conference in its own ground on 16th and I7th February 1952, but the Ahrar did their utmost to have the meeting banned. Failing in their efforts, they marched with a large crowd towards the place of the meeting with shouts of “banaspati nabi (spurious prophet) murdabad”. “Mirzaeeon ka jalsa band karo”, “Kufr ka jalsa band karo”, and attempted to break through the police cordon. As the Deputy Commissioner, the Superintendent of Police and the Additional District Magistrate were on the spot, having had previous information of the trouble, the Ahrar did not succeed in their design and satisfied themselves by throwing stones when the Ahmadis were returning to their houses after the meeting. Two foot constables were injured in the incident.
The Ahrar held an ‘Istehkam-i-Pakistan Ahrar Conference’ at Sargodha on 24th and 25th March 1952. As what happened at this conference was the subject-matter of correspondence between the Central Government and the Provincial Government, between the district officers and the Provincial Government and between a deputation of Ahmadis and the Punjab Government, and some decisions were taken to stop the recurrence of such, incidents, it merits a detailed description. A full account of the incidents connected with this conference is contained in Memorandum No. 385-87/C, dated 28th March 1952, sent by the Superintendent of Police to the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, C. I. D., Punjab, which is as follows:—
“The Ahrar of Sargodha held a conference advertised as ‘Istehkam-i-Pakistan Ahrar Conference’ at Sargodha on March 24 and 25. This conference was sponsored and organised by Maulvi Muhammad Abdullah Ahrari, bookseller of Sargodha. Maulvi Abdur Rahman of Miani, Maulvi Muhammad Ali Jullundri and Sayyad Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari were the most important speakers at this conference. Maulvi Muhammad Ali Jullundri remarked in the course of his speech that Mirzaies were zindiqs and according to Islamic law zindiqs were liable to be murdered. Another speaker named Ch. Muhammad Sharif Bahawalnagri remarked in the course of his speech that Muslims should be both namazi and ghazi, Sayyad Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari remarked in the course of his speech that Sir Zafrullah Khan was intentionally keeping the Kashmir affair unsolved and was also keeping alive the bitterness between Pakistan and Afghanistan, Sayyad Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari also advised the audience to take out a procession demanding the removal of Sir Zafrullah Khan from his office and further asked the audience to shout ‘Mirzaeeat murdabad’, ‘Sir Zafrullah murdabad’ and ‘Mirza Bashir Ahmad murdabad’.
2. In addition to other resolutions it was resolved in the course of this conference that the Mirzai community should be treated as a separate minority community and Mirzai public servants should be removed from all key posts as Mirzai public servants are establishing a separate organisation under the instructions of their khalifa and mirzaeeat was proving dangerous to the country.
3. The ‘Istehkam-i-Pakistan Ahrar Conference’ was held in the Municipal Gardens both on March 24 and 25 and its audience numbered from 1,000 to 2,000 on both the days.
4. I made police arrangements both on the 24th and 25th March as there was an apprehension of a breach of the peace and the local Ahmadis had made a representation to this effect to the District Magistrate.
5. The Ahrar of Sargodha decided to take out a procession after the Juma prayers today at Sargodha city as decided by Sayyad Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari and Maulana Muhammad Abdullah Ahrari in their conference with the object of shouting slogans against mirzaeeat, Sir Zafrullah Khan and the Khalifa of Qadian. This matter was brought to my notice as soon as I returned from my tour at midday and the District Magistrate also phoned to me to make suitable police arrangements in the city. I collected my force immediately and wont to the city at 1.30 p. m. Khan Abdul Hadi Khan, Additional District Magistrate, also reached there as directed by the District Magistrate. When I and my party reached the Gol Chowk Mosque, a procession of Ahrar led by Maulvi Muhammad Abdullah Ahrari, Maulvi Saleh Muhammad, Mu’allam of Siraj-ul-Uloom, and Abdur Rashid Ashk an editor of the local paper known as Shu’la came from Katchery Bazar. These persons had come from the Jami’ Masjid after saying their Friday prayers. The number of these processionists was approximately 200. I asked Maulvi Muhammad Abdullah Ahrari, Maulvi Saleh Muhammad and Abdur Rashid Ashk not to lead the procession as it was likely to create disaffection between different communities and cause a disturbance of the public peace but they paid no heed to my advice and insisted on loading and taking out a procession and asserted that that was the only way to protest against Sir Zafrullah Khan, mirzaeeat and the leader of the Ahmadis. In spite of my persuasion and advice these three persons asked their followers to shout ‘Sir Zafrullah murdabad’, ‘Mirza Bashir Ahmad murdabad’ and ‘Mirzaeeat murdabad’ and all their followers shouted these slogans vociferously and some of them jumped and clapped. This procession was swollen by more and more men as it advanced and after passing through Block No. 9 and Bansanwala Bazar it came back to the Katchery Bazar where it was met by another big procession which was equally strong in numbers and the whole procession then marched to the Municipal Gardens as advised by Maulvi Muhammad Abdullah Ahrari and Abdur Rashid Ashk. Abdur Rashid Ashk addressed the processionists at Gol Chowk and advised them not to disperse and go fearlessly through, their proposed route. The processionists shouted anti-Zafrullah Khan and anti-Mirzaeeat slogans with great noise and voice and at one time it seemed as if there was no law and order. All the shops were closed due to Friday and the Ahrar leaders had deliberately selected a free day for taking out their procession. The District Magistrate witnessed this procession when it reached the Chowk of the Katchery Bazar. The Ahrar procession started at about 1.30 p.m. and lasted till 2.30 p.m. When the procession reached the Municipal Gardens it assumed the shape of a public meeting and the audience was addressed by Maulvi Muhammad Abdullah Ahrari and Abdur Rashid Ashk, one after the other. The number of the audience at this time was not less than 500. Both the speakers thanked the audience for taking out a successful procession against Sir Zafrullah Khan, Mirza Bashir Ahmad and Mirzaeeat and again there was a chorus of the following slogans :
‘Sir Zafrullah murdabad’,
‘Mirza Bashir Ahmad murdabad’ and
The audience then started dispersing.
6. In addition to Maulvi Muhammad Abdullah Ahrari, Maulvi Saleh Muhammad and Abdur Rashid Ashk, the following were the most active members of the procession and marched in the van-guard of the procession and led anti-Zafrullah and anti-Mirzaeeat slogans :—
Abdul Hamid s/o Muhammad Umar, Arain, of Block No. 11, Sargodha city.
Bahaullah s/o Ata Ullah, Kashmiri, of Block NO. 19, Sargodha city.
Allah Rahm s/o Allah Mahi, Changar, wood merchant, Block No. 17, Sargodha city.
Majid s/o Allah Bakhsh, Gujrati, tailor, Block No. 3, Sargodha city.
Yunus s/o Abdur Rahman, Arain, of Block No. 3, Sargodha city,
Ahsan Ahmad, shopkeeper of Block No. 6, Sargodha city.
7. There is no doubt that Ahrar workers and leaders are out to sabotage the safety and peace of our State and miss no chance of creating disaffection against Ahmadis. Their outward object is to denounce Ahmadis, their khalifa and Sir Zafrullah Khan, but their inward object is to create disorder and lawlessness in our country. Ahrar leaders are occupying a good many mosques and are working as imams and khatibs. Their ringleaders usually keep behind the scene and incite others against Ahmadis in the name of their religion and in the name of our Prophet. Maulvi Muhammad Shafi Ahrari, who is a khatib of the Sargodha Jami’ Masjid, is one of their leaders. The likelihood is that some simple-minded Musalmans infuriated by their slogans and speeches may take to assaulting Ahmadis at Sargodha city or elsewhere in its vicinity where Ahmadis are living in small numbers and the result may possibly be the murder of some innocent Ahmadis. I have organised armed patrolling in the city today but it is not possible to protect all the Ahmadis and their houses.
8. It has also been brought to my notice by Sub-Inspector Sargodha city that local Ahrar leaders of Sargodha city, of whom Maulvi Muhammad Abdullah, Maulvi Saleh Muhammad and Abdur Rashid Ashk are the ringleaders, have decided to take out such processions frequently with the object of denouncing Ahmadiyyat, Sir Zafrullah Khan and the leader of Ahmadis and in this way impress upon the people that they are really bad persons and their religion is hateful. In order to put a stop to these processions and the prejudicial activities of these fellows it is essential that they should be very firmly dealt with as otherwise the public safety and the maintenance of public order will be gravely endangered and there will be law-lessness not only at Sargodha city but also in the whole of the district. As these persons may take some days before they take out another procession, I think it proper that I should take the Government’s orders before I take action against them. If in the meantime they take out another procession I shall take action straightaway without waiting for the Government’s Orders. The District Magistrate agrees with me that firm action should be taken against these men as that is the only way to put a stop to their prejudicial activities.
9. I propose to arrest Maulvi Muhammad Abdullah Ahrari, Maulvi Saleh Muhammad, Mu’allam of Siraj-ul-Uloom, and Abdur Rashid Ashk of Sargodha under section 3 of the Punjab Public Safety Act 1949, for 15 days if the Government approves of this action. It will of course be considered during these 15 days whether the Government should detain them for a further period or not. All these three persons are not men of much influence but are sufficiently mischievous and can make inciting speeches.
10. Against the following persons who took part in the procession in a very prominent and active way I propose to start proceedings under sections 107/151, Criminal Procedure Code, for keeping the peace. They are all enthusiastic followers of the above-mentioned 3 Ahrar leaders and are likely to disturb the public peace by assaulting or insulting Ahmadis :—
Abdul Hamid s/o Muhammad Umar, Arain, of Block No, 11, Sargodha city.
Bahaullah s/o Ata Ullah, Kashmiri, of Block No. 19, Sargodha city.
Allah Rahm s/o Allah Mahl Changar, wood merchant, Block No. 17, Sargodha city.
Majid son of Allah Bakhsh, Gujrati, tailor, Block No. 43 Sargodha city.
Yunus son of Abdur Rahman, Arain, of Block No. 3, Sargodha city.
Ahsan Ahmad, shopkeeper, of Block No, 6, Sargodha city.
11. It may be pointed out that processionists shouted ‘Muslim League zindabad’ while shouting other anti-Mirzaeeat slogans and it appears that they intentionally shouted ‘Muslim League zindabad’ in order not to alienate the sympathy of the local Muslim League workers. In their ‘Istehkam-i-Pakistan Ahrar Conference’ which the Ahrar held at Sargodha on the 24th and 25th of March, they invited Mian Muhammad Said Qureshi, President of the District Muslim League, to preside over another of its sittings. It is manifest that they purposely camouflaged all these arrangements. I understand that Ahrar are holding similar conferences all over the Province and taking out anti-Mirzaeeat and anti-Zafrullah Khan processions all over the Province and this seems to be a well-planned campaign, on their part and lawlessness is bound to follow this campaign of vilification of theirs unless it is nipped in the bud.
12. An Urdu stenographer of the Punjab C. I. D. recorded the proceedings of the Ahrar Conference held at Sargodha on. March 24 and 25 and he might have submitted his report by now to his officers.”
On receiving this report, Mr Anwar Ali, D. I. G., C. I. D., recorded the following note :—
“I. G. might see this alarming report from Sargodha. The S. P. rang me up yesterday morning and I conveyed his report briefly to the I. G.
2. The conduct of the Ahrar is highly mischievous and was deliberately designed to gain cheap popularity at the cost of Ahmadi blood. To say that the Ahmadis are zindiqs and as such deserve death and that Muslims are not only expected to be namazies but also ghazies can have no other meaning except that the Ahmadis should be put to the sword.
3. The open defiance of the S. P.’s authority and the shouting of such slogans as ‘Zafrullah Khan murdabad’ is most unfortunate. S. P. proposes to take action against M. Muhammad Abdullah, M. Saleh Muhammad and Abdur Rashid Ashk under section 3 of the Punjab Public Safety Act and under section 107/151, Criminal Procedure Code, against another six persons. He has, however, asked for Government’s advice. Abdur Rashid Ashk was arrested once before under the Punjab Public Safety Act as he is an erstwhile Congressite and was suspected to be engaged in anti-Pakistan activities. M. Muhammad Abdullah is notoriously anti-Government.
4. I have advocated for sometime that firm action should be taken against the Ahrar particularly because of their sectarian activities. They have been seen making violent speeches against the Ahmadis. At Okara and at Quetta Ahmadis lost their lives as a result of violence preached by the Ahrar. If Pakistan is to develop as a democratic and progressive State, sectarian activities must be put down with firmness; otherwise Pakistan will become a medieval and reactionary State.
5. M. Muhammad Abdullah, Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari and Muhammad Ali Jullundri all have political records. As the office is shut I am not able to attach it. In view of the urgency of the case, I am sending it by hand to I. G. My view is that we must fully support the D. C. and the S. P. in the maintenance of law and order and should allow them to take action against M. Muhammad Abdullah and Abdur Rashid Ashk. For the time being M. Saleh Muhammad should be ignored. The S. P. may also take action under section 107/151, Criminal Procedure Code.
6. The Ahrar are holding another conference at Lyallpur tonight.”
Under instructions from Mr. Anwar Ali, D. I. G,, C. I. D., Mr. Ata Muhammad Noon, A. D. I. G., rang up S. P., Sargodha, on 1st April 1952 and informed him that he could take action under section 107/151, Criminal Procedure Code, if he considered such action necessary against any persons but that action under the Safety Act was not desirable. Mr. Noon also told the S. P. that if he wanted to discuss the matter further with the D. I. G., he could come to Lahore. The report of the S. P. was forwarded to P. I. under the orders of Mr. Anwar Ali, dated 2nd April 1952, for opinion whether any legal action in the matter could be taken. On the same day the P. I. reported that the speeches and slogans were actionable both under section 153-A and section. 295-A of the Penal Code.
On 1st April 1952, the Superintendent of Police, Sargodha, wrote to the Superintendent of Police (A), C. I. D., demi-official letter No. 1922-SSS, informing him that the proceedings of the conference held on 24th and 25th March 1952, were covered by a C. I. D. Urdu stenographer, that no procession had been taken out at the termination of the meetings of the conference though some individuals had raised anti-Ahmadi slogans such as ‘Mirzaeeat murdabad’, ‘Zafrullah Khan murdabad’, etc., when returning to their homes after the meeting, and that a procession was taken out by the Ahrar workers on 28th March after the Friday prayers, detailed report about which had already been sent to the D. I. G., C. I. D.
On 4th April 1952, which was a Friday, the Superintendent of Police sent the following memorandum to D. I. G., C.I.D., in continuation of his confidential memorandum of 28th March :—
“2. I called Maulvi Abdullah Ahrari, Maulvi Jalal-ur-Rahman, Khatib of the Gol Chowk Mosque, and Maulvi Sami Ullah, son of Maulvi Muhammad Shafi, Khatib of the Jami Masjid, Sargodha, to my office on the 2nd of April and had a long talk with them. I advised them not to take out any anti-Ahmadi procession in the city as they would neither improve their religion nor damage the Ahmadiya sect by shouting publicly anti-Ahmadiyyat or anti-Zafrullah or anti-Mirza Mahmud Ahmad slogans but would only disturb the public peace and bring a bad name to their country and their Government in the eyes of the other countries of the world.
“3. There was an apprehension that the Ahrar might again take out an anti-Ahmadi procession after the Friday prayers today and I made adequate police arrangements for patrolling in the city and also went to the city with enough armed police and patrolled the main bazars in police vehicles. Khan Abdul Hadi Khan, Additional District Magistrate, accompanied me as directed by the District Magistrate. The Ahrar took out no procession today.
“4. If the Ahrar workers and their supporters behave peacefully and take out no more anti-Ahmadi processions I shall postpone taking any action against them under the security sections or under any other law for the time being. I shall, however, continue to watch the situation.”
It seems that the report of the Superintendent of Police, dated 28th March, 1952, relating to the proceedings of the conference had also been seen by the Chief Minister sometime before 3rd April when Mr. Anwar Ali recorded the following note on the file:—
“The speeches made at the Sargodha conference were recorded by a C. I. D. stenographer. They have been examined by the Prosecuting Branch. We are advised that they are not fit for forming the basis of a prosecution. They are, however, objectionable because they are designed to stir up hatred against the Ahmadis”.
The only opinion of the Prosecuting Branch to be found on the file is the Prosecuting Inspector’s opinion of 2nd April 1952, and it is not at all clear how and when a contrary opinion was subsequently expressed by the Prosecuting Branch. However, Mr. Anwar Ali suggested that if Government approved, all District Magistrates in the Province would be advised to remain alert and to ban the Ahrar conferences if they apprehended trouble. On this the Home Secretary remarked that action on the D. I. G., C. I. D.’s proposal for banning the Ahrar conferences was being taken separately.
On 17th April 1952, Mr. Anwar Ali noted on the case that the Chief Minister was going to Sargodha, that on his return the Superintendent of Police should be asked to come to Lahore with all the relevant papers and that the matter would then be discussed and proposals made to Government.
On 6th May 1952, Malik Habibullah, Superintendent of Police (B), noted that the Superintendent of Police, Sargodha, had already seen D. I. G., C. I. D., and I. G., probably on 21st or 22nd April, and that the proposals had been discussed.
As Mr. Lodhi’s note on the file, dated 24th April 1952, would show, no action in the case was taken because the Superintendent of Police, Sargodha, had stated in his memorandum, dated 4th April 1952, that since the Ahrar had behaved themselves, he had decided to postpone taking action against them.
Dr. Hafiz Masood Ahmad, Secretary, Anjuman-i-Ahmadiya, Sargodha, complained of the behaviour of the Ahrar at Sargodha by telegrams to the Provincial and Central Governments. Some telegrams to a similar effect were also sent by him to the press. In the telegram to the Minister for the Interior it was alleged that at the conference Muhammad Ali Jullundri, Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari and other speakers had preached lawlessness and instigated the masses to finish the Ahmadis by force and get rid of Chaudhri Zafrullah Khan within a week, that they had described Chaudhri Zafrullah Khan as an enemy of Pakistan, worse than Khizar Hayat Khan Tiwana, that pledges to finish the Ahmadis were taken from the audience, that after the speeches a midnight procession of excited men was taken through different parts of the city, shouting slogans against Chaudhri Zafrullah Khan, the head of the Ahmadiya community and Ahmadiyyat, that the lives and properties of Ahmadis were in danger and that grave consequences were apprehended. The Ministry of the Interior sent this telegram to the Chief Secretary to the Punjab Government by its letter No. 44/1/51-Poll. (1), dated the 31st March 1952, with the request that a report about the said conference may be sent to that Ministry at an early date. When this telegram came to the notice of Mr. Anwar Ali, D. I. G,, C. I. D., on 5th April 1952, he strongly resented the Centre’s interference with law and order which was an exclusively Provincial concern. He said :—
“There is a tendency on the part of the Ministry of the Interior to call for reports on all and sundry matters. This unnecessarily increases work. The Central Government is not in a position to pass any orders and, therefore, all the energy spent in preparing reports purely for the information of the Central Government is wasted.* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
In this case the proper course for the Central Government should have been to transfer the telegram to the Provincial Government for necessary action. In the matter of law and order the Provincial Government is supreme. If reports are called, it will unnecessarily encourage the public to go over the head of the Provincial Government and to call for the interference of the Centre. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
As too many references have been made from the Centre of late it would perhaps be better to apprise C. S./H. C. M. with the situation and to obtain his orders”.
In reply to the inquiry by the Central Government, however, a copy of the S. P.’s memorandum No. 385-87/C, dated 28th March 1952, was sent to that Government. Hafiz Masood Ahmad, however, sent another telegram on 29th March 1952 to the Minister for the Interior saying :—
“As apprehended in our previous telegram after-effects of Ahrar conference appear. Processions of agitated mobs taken out again after Juma prayers. Highly provocative slogans shouted against the Ahmadis and their revered and most respected head of the community and the foreign Minister Pakistan. Creating hatred against the Ahmadis and the Government. Further trouble might arise. Effective check essential”.
This telegram also was sent by the Central Government to the Chief Secretary to the Punjab Government for information and such action as might be considered necessary by the Provincial Government.
The proceedings of the Ahrar conference at Sargodha were published by the Shu’la of 28th March under the following captions :—
“Jab-tak Sir Zafrullah wazir-i-kharija hai Kashmir Pakistan ko nahin mil sakta. (Maulana Muhammad Ali Jullundri, bahawala taqrir Allah Rakha Saghir).
“Zafrullah Pakistan ka wafadar nahin. Hukumat ki machinery ke purze Mirza Mahmud ki marzi ke mutabiq tabdil kiye jate hain. (Maulana Muhammad Ali).
“Ham jan de-denge lekan nabi ‘alai-hi’s-salam ki nubuwwat par anch nahin ane den-ge. (Amir-i-Shari’at).
“Alfaz ko qaim rakh kar uska mafhum badalne-wala zindiq hai aur zindiq Islam men wajibu’l-qatl hai. Har Mirzai hukumat ki duty ba’d men aur Mirza Mahmud ka hukm pehle manta hai. Hukumat ka har woh hukm jo Mirza Mahmud ki policy se takra-jai Mirzai mulazim us ki ta’mil nahin karta. (Maulana Muhammad Ali)”.
“So long as Sir Zafrullah is the foreign Minister, we cannot get Kashmir. (Maulana Muhammad Ali Jullundri, referring to the speech of Allah Rakha Saghir).
Zafrullah is not loyal to Pakistan. Parts of the Government machinery are replaced in accordance with the wishes of Mirza Mahmud. (Maulana Muhammad Ali).
We will give our lives, but will not let harm come to the prophethood of the Prophet, may peace be upon him. (Amir-i-Shari’at).
He who keeps words, intact but misinterprets them is a heretic ; and a heretic in Islam deserves death. Every Mirzai complies with Mirza Mahmud’s orders first and then performs his duty to the Government. A Mirzai public servant does not obey any order of the Government that clashes with the policy of Mirza Mahmud. (Maulana Muhammad Ali)”.
The report stated that at the conclusion of the conference, 10,000 young men paraded the city shouting slogans such as “Down with Sir Zafrullah”, “Down with Mirza Bashir Mahmud”, “Zafrullah resign”; that if Government failed to pay immediate attention towards these Dajjals, responsibility for such failure would devolve upon the Government; that Chaudhri Zafrullah Khan had officially circulated his programme when on his return from Paris he came to attend the conference at Rabwah; that at Rabwah he received Government officials; that he charged the expenses of his journey to Rabwah to the public Exchequer; that he was disloyal to Government; that he had made a bargain to give Kashmir to India in exchange for Qadian; that people would be justified to create a situation which would force this Dajjal son of Dajjal and his followers to run away from Pakistan; that Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud was Dajjal-i-Azam and the Musailima Kazzab of 14th century; and that only one hundred thousand Muslim girls were detained by Hindustan but that if the Mirzais succeeded in their object, four hundred thousand girls will be dishonoured by them.
A deputation of some Ahmadis to represent against the proceedings of the conference and its report in the Shu’la waited on the Chief Secretary in the presence of the Home Secretary. The record of the proceedings that subsequently took place in this case is as follows :—
“A deputation of four Ahmadi gentlemen including Sh. Bashir Ahmad, Advocate, waited on the Chief Secretary today to voice their grievances in connection with the recent conference held at Sargodha by the Ahrar. I was present during the interview. Their complaint in short was that the trend of speeches delivered during the conference was highly objectionable and too vituperative and that one of the speakers had advocated the extermination of the Ahmadis by the Government on account of their being zindiqs. They also gave the attached two newspapers to C. S.
2. Will D. I. G., C. I. D., please put up for Government’s information the report which he must have received from his staff at Sargodha? He should also kindly obtain the text of the speeches if a verbatim record thereof was made at the spot so that they can be examined to ascertain whether they are objectionable or not.
3. I might mention in this connection that the D. M. Sargodha had telephoned to me on Friday, March 21st, to say that the Ahrar were proposing to take out a procession in the course of which they would be shouting anti-Ahmadi slogans. He wanted to know as to what was the policy that Government desire to be adopted regarding such matters. I told him that the policy of the Government regarding the Ahrar-Ahmadi controversy had already been communicated to all the D. Cs. which he should look up and that in the light of that policy he should exercise his discretion. So far no report has been received from the D. C.
S. GHIAS-UD-DIN AHMAD— 1-4-52”
D. I. G., C. I. D. (U. O.),—No. 264-H-S., dated 2nd April 1962.
I dealt with this case yesterday which has been linked to this case.
2. It is true that the speeches which were made were highly provocative and objectionable. The Mirzais were described as zindiqs and they were otherwise ridiculed and opposed. Even the Foreign Minister was not spared and shouts of ‘Sir Zafrullah murdabad’ were raised. Under H. C. M.’s instructions the S. P. has been advised to take action under section 107/151 Criminal Procedure Code. The H. C. M. is not in favour of taking action under the Punjab Public Safety Act which the S. P. had also recommended.
3. The speeches were recorded in shorthand and according to the P. I. they are not actionable.
4. The article in the Shu’la is very objectionable. It not only attacks the Ahmadis but also contains uncalled for criticisms of the authorities. The editor of this paper, Abdur Rashid Ashk, is known to the C. I. D. He is, like many other Ahrar, a Congressite, He was detained under the Punjab Public Safety Act in 1947 because he was associating with political workers of the Indian Dominion.
5. It is my opinion that if this country is to progress on healthy lines political charlatans and jingoes, who endeavour to gain popularity by hurling abuse at each other and who make no contribution for the political advancement of the country, should be dealt with unsparingly. The Ahrar have a feeling that the Muslim League is at their back : otherwise their past is black and they would not have dared to step into the political field. They were stooges of the Congress and some of them are still loyal to that body. Habib-ur-Rahman, who is a well known Ahrar, left this Province after the Partition and went over to India. In their heart of hearts some of them are still disloyal to Pakistan. They are working outwardly on a religious platform not in order to serve their country but in order to retrieve their lost prestige. There are signs already that a section of the Ahrar led by Sheikh Husam-ud-Din wants to come into active politics and its members are contemplating the formation of a new party.
6. I have already proposed that District Magistrates should be advised in a circular letter to take a firm stand and to promulgate 144, Cr. P. C. if they have the least suspicion that the holding of an Ahrar meeting would promote sectional ill-will. Another thing we can do is to take action against the rag (Shu’la), which has shamefacedly publicised the evil attacks made against the Foreign Minister. It is the duty of the Government, as long as Sir Zafrullah Khan holds his office, to protect him from such malicious attacks. By abusing Sir Zafrullah Khan the Ahrar do not attack an individual but defame the Government to which he belongs—of which, in fact, he is a part.
7. The Ahrar are clever speakers and they take good care not to attract the law. It is not possible in this case to prosecute them for spreading sectional discord, under section 153-A., P.P.C. In my opinion their activities are such that there is full justification for taking action against one or two prominent ones under the P. P. S. A.
8. Two telegrams have been received from the Ahmadis protesting against the conduct of the Ahrar.
(Sd.) M. ANWAR ALI—4.4.52
——U. O.—No. 216.BDSB, dated 5.4.52.
The Ahrar are a problem. They are not anti-Government or out directly to disturb the law and order. Personally I think they are quiet only because they are not strong enough to be able to achieve much if they did oppose the administration. But I have not the least doubt in my mind that the moment they are in a position to gather a sufficient number of people behind them they would raise their head and would not hesitate to do anything to be a source of trouble. They are men of no importance. They have no following and no programme but they are ambitious. And their ambition has frequently been titillated by various political parties particularly by the Muslim League I am told. They are, therefore, waiting that some day, even if not by their own merit, by the foolishness of other people they would come into prominence. For that day they are keeping this fire of anti-Ahmadi feeling burning. if this fire extinguishes the Ahrar would be left with nothing to attract any one to their party. This is their only hope. They must, therefore, go on with it. They are not concerned and are not interested in Pakistan or the importance of maintaining unity amongst its people. Some one else will have to decide some time how to deal with this problem. It is now definitely becoming a menace. Sufficient rope has been given to the Ahrar. On behalf of Government I was also commissioned once to talk to them. I held a meeting with Sh. Husam-ud-Din. A note of that meeting and agreement arrived at must be in the Secretariat. He promised that the party would not in future indulge in anti-Ahmadi propaganda but they have done so on every possible occasion. The Ahmadis are no lambs either. They aye lying low and do not retaliate because they are aware of their numerical weakness. But there is a limit to every one’s patience. And in any case Government’s own duty is very clear. How long are they going to permit this sort of cruel provocation. It is now almost persecution of the Ahmadis by the Ahrar. What the C. I. D. must however tell us is (a) what exactly can be done apart from the Safety Act, (b) what is the total strength of Ahrar and (c) how far would they be prepared to oppose or defy Government and what would be the general reaction if the question of Ahmadis is made an issue. Without some such data no firm decisions can be taken and a circular letter to D. Cs. without something definite does sot prove of much avail nowadays.
The Ahrar-Ahmadi controversy, if it can be called by that name, is assuming alarming proportions. The Ahrar are mainly to blame for the trouble they have stirred up in this Province. The Ahmadis, as characterised by the I. G. P. are ‘no lambs’ but they have adopted their stubborn attitude only to preserve themselves as a community. If they were to take the attacks and onslaughts made on them by the Ahrar complacently they would be finished as a body in no time. Also, their stubbornness is mainly confined to the sphere of religion. It is a matter purely for themselves if they do not let the members of other Islamic sects participate in their ritual or they themselves scrupulously avoid taking part in the prayers and other religious ceremonies of the non-Ahmadi Muslims. It is, however, the duty of the Government to see that this controversy which is based on religion does not threaten the peace and order of the country.
2. I agree with the I. G. P. that Government should have something more concrete before them than what is available in the noting on this file before they can revise the policy which is being pursued at present and which was enunciated only recently (vide C. S’s circular letter No. 7505-HG-51/76135, dated November 3, 1951). Actually the existing policy need not be reorientated to meet the situation. What is needed is its firm implementation.
3. C. S. may please see at this stage. I think the case should be submitted to H. C. M. when the proposals have taken a more crystallized shape.
(Sd.) GHIAS-UD-DIN AHMAD — 8.4.52
(Sd.) H. A. MAJID — 9.4.52”
With a view to replying to the inquiry made by Mr. Qurban Ali Khan, the case was examined on 3rd May 1952, by Mr. Muhammad Khuda Bakhsh, S. P. (B), C. I. D., Punjab, who recorded the following exhaustive note on the activities of the Ahrar:—
“The Ahrar have almost regained the influence among the Muslim masses of the Punjab which they had lost by their opposition to the creation of Pakistan. This has been possible by their identifying themselves politically with the Muslim League and by an extensive anti-Mirzaeeat campaign. The former brought them support from that popular ruling organisation and the latter won them the goodwill of the general Muslim public who always takes pleasure in satire against the cult of new prophethood in Islam.
2. A list of the branches of the Majlis-i-Ahrar, which have since opened in the Province and annually subscribe to the Centre is appended. The number of uniformed razakars so far registered is reported to be 1,064. But the ‘fifth-column’ lies among the maulvis and pesh imams and fanatics who consider it a merit to keep the religious controversies alive from their individual quarters and pulpits. The Ahrar leaders are kept invited and entertained by them almost constantly at one or other comer of the country. And greater the virulence of their professional speeches against the ‘Mirzais’ the larger is the collection of chanda. The majlis has become financially sound and been able to produce rich patrons of whom the names of the following are taken as more liberate:—
(1) Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan, M. L. A., of Khan Garh, District Muzaffargarh.
(2) Haji Din Muhammad of Badami Bagh, Lahore (Millowner).
(3) Mian Qamar Din, Rais of Ichhra,, Lahore.
(4) Rana Ghulam Sabir, M. L. A., Okara.
The Ahrar are more influential at present in districts of Lyallpur. Sialkot, Sargodha, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Montgomery, Multan and Muzaffargarh and at Okara, Chiniot and Gujar Khan.
3. As regards suggestions for effective measures against this sectarian menace, I am of the opinion as follows:—
(a) The Muslim League should completely wash their hands off this movement. Their M. L. As. and office-bearers should not only not preside over the Ahrar meetings but should give clear indication to the public by their attitude that they do not want to help the Ahrar in any way. Unfortunately the trend of mind of the general Muslim public has so far gone against the Ahmadis that the workers of the Muslim League are sometimes forced to find security of their public influence in openly sharing these sentiments of the people. The fact that no Ahmadi was returned to the Assembly in spite of Muslim League tickets is attributed to the hold of the Ahrar speakers on the public.
(b) The Ahrar conference, though designated in the name of Defence, should be banned under section 144, Criminal Procedure Code.
(c) Arrangements should be made preferably through influential members of the Muslim League of the locality that public places are not lent to the Ahrar for meetings.
(d) Notices should be served on the more violent Ahrar speakers like Ala Ullah Shah Bukhari, Maulvi Muhammad Ali Jullundri, Qazi Ehsan Ahmad Shujabadi and Sahibzada Faiz-ul-Hasan that while speaking against Ahmadiyyat they should strictly remain within the religious limits of the controversy and not say anything capable of exciting hatred and the patriotic sentiments of the other citizens of Pakistan against the community. After all if any person or class of persons was engaged in activities calculated to harm the security of the State the matter essentially called for a report to the authorities for legal action and not for inciting the public for taking the law into their own hands.
(e) Action can always be taken with deterrence under section 107, Cr. P. C. by local Magistrates against the Ahrar speakers and their local hosts, particularly the maulvis and pesh-imams inviting them to speak from their mosques.
(f) In my opinion, action should not be spared even under the PPSA in worst cases, e.g., where abuses are hurled and mock funerals taken out for the Honourable Minister for Foreign Affairs and cases of repeated defiance of law and maligning the Government. Warnings have repeatedly proved ineffective. The Ahrar should be made to realise that the authorities this time mean business. At present they seem to be under the impression that Musalmans, whether district officers or ordinary commoners, actively sympathise with their professed, mission of the safeguard of finality of prophethood (tahaffuz-i-khatm-i-nubuwwat). They can cite at least four instances of District and Additional District Magistrates presiding over their conferences in the past year.”
In the light of the views expressed by the officers who had the occasion to note on the case the matter was discussed on 19th May in a meeting of the Home Secretary, the I. G. P. and the D. I. G., C. I. D. After the meeting the D. I. G., C. I. D., wrote the following note summing up the history of the Ahrar and suggesting certain action against them:—
“Government has been apprised from time to time about the serious threat to public peace which must inevitably result from Ahmadi baiting advocated by the Majlis-i-Ahrar. For facility of reference the particulars of these notes are given below:—
(1) Note dated 17th January 1950, in which, a suggestion was made that a warning should be administered to the Ahrar leaders. No action was taken on the note.
(2) Note dated 3rd February 1950, in which the objectionable propaganda carried out in the course of a conference at Multan was brought to the notice of the Government. The late Governor spoke to Qazi Ehsan Ahmad Shujabadi and Maulvi Ghulam Ghaus Sarhaddi.
(3) Note dated 23rd May 1950, in which a suggestion was made that Master Taj-ud-Din and other Ahrar leaders should be sent for and warned. Government asked C. S. to administer a warning.
(4) Note dated 28th May 1950, in which it was stated that the atmosphere created by the Ahrar would inevitably lead to outbreak of violence against the Ahmadis and was also otherwise dangerous. Certain concrete suggestions for dealing with the menace were also made. Government, however, decided only to warn the leaders.
(5) Note dated 4th April 1952, in which the dangers of the Ahrar movement were pointed out vis-a-vis the activities of the Ahrar at Sargodha. Government wanted more definite proposals to be made.
2. For a proper understanding of the case it is necessary to re-capitulate the objectionable incidents which have resulted from the reckless and exciting speeches made by Ahrar workers. These incidents are briefly as follows:—
(1) Okara—October, 1950—Ahmadi preachers were waylaid and their faces blackened. An Ahmadi schoolmaster was killed as a result of the tense atmosphere created by Ahrar speakers.
(2) Rawalpindi—October, 1950—An Ahmadi was killed as a result of hatred spread against the community although the immediate cause was different.
(3) Sialkot—January, 1951—An effort was made by the Ahrar to break up an Ahmadi meeting. The arrival of the police saved casualties.
(4) Chak Jhumra—February, 1951—At the railway station as a result of Ahrar violence, a man (son of Maulvi Ismat Ullah, who is an Ahmadi) was stabbed by Ahrar workers.
(5) Gujranwala—March, 1951—An Ahmadi shopkeeper was attacked when he objected, to the raising of slogans against Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. The police saved him from violence.
(6) Lyallpur—April, 1951—Following a threat held out by Ghulam Nabi Janbaz an Ahmadi shopkeeper was attacked.
(7) Samundri—May, 1951—An Ahmadi mosque was burnt by a mob led by Ahrar workers.
(8) Lyallpur—November, 1951—An Ahmadi meeting disturbed by Ahrar workers resulting in casualties on both aides. Police intervention checked further trouble.
(9) Multan—November, 1951—Fifty Ahrar attempted to break up an Ahmadi meeting. The arrival of the police prevented further trouble.
(10) Sargodha—March, 1952—Following an Ahrar Conference a procession was taken out in defiance of police orders. The processionsists were beating their breasts and shouting ‘Zafrullah hai hai’.
(11) Rawalpindi—April, 1952—After hearing the provocative and exciting speeches at an Ahrar meeting a youth got up and shouted ‘Zafrullah Mirzai ko hataya jawe’ — ‘Wazir Zafrullah, ko qatl kiya jawe, mar diya jawe’. Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari, who was addressing the meeting, after the shouting of the slogans by the youth, exhorted the audience to take out a procession and to press for the dissolution of the ‘Zafri wazarat’.
(12) Gujranwala—April, 1952—Ahrar workers organised a procession in which two mock funerals of Sir Zafrullah Khan were taken out and slogans, such as ‘Zafrullah puttar chor da, na’ara maro zor da’ were shouted.
(13) Lyallpur—May, 1952—Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari addressing a meeting said that anti-Ahmadi demonstrations would be staged on a large scale and would not be confined to places such as Lyallpur but also in Lahore and Karachi. A procession was also taken out. (His voice was almost prophetic because on the I8th May, i.e., a week after his claim violent demonstrations resulting in riots took place at Karachi.
(14) According to a letter which has come to my notice paradise has been promised to the person who will cut the throat of Sir Zafrullah Khan.
I have mentioned above only important incidents resulting in attacks and breach of peace arising from Ahrar truculence. Innumerable meetings have been held in which hatred against the Ahmadis has been openly advocated. Public mind has been poisoned. Ahrar leaders who were afraid of facing crowds after the Partition, have since become heroes. Sayyad Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari lived in seclusion at a remote village of Muzaffargarh district for nearly two years and declined to accept invitations for addressing public meetings. He now commonly addresses meetings all over the Province and is no longer on the defensive. His eloquence and loquaciousness have once again built around him a halo of importance. Muhammad Ali Jullundri, Ehsan Ahmad Shujabadi and Sahibzada Faiz-ul-Hasan are prominent among those who have been consistently making poisonous speeches against the Ahmadis.
4. Warnings to Ahrar leaders have been administered in turn by His Excellency the Governor, the Chief Secretary and the Inspector-General of Police. These warnings have had no effect; in fact it is obvious that the speakers are becoming more aggressive.
5. At one time Ahrar leaders were giving out that they had made up with the high-ups of the Muslim League and that they had nothing to fear even in spite of the fact that their speeches fell under the provisions of the ordinary law.
6. The Majlis-i-Ahrar has its headquarters at Lahore. It is without substantial finances and special levies are made for conferences. The last appeal for funds only brought Rs. 500. The following four persons regularly contribute to the funds:—
(1) Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan of Muzaffargarh.
(2) Haji Din Muhammad, Millowner of Badami Bagh.
(3) Mian Qamar Din, Rais of Ichhra.
(4) Rana Ghulam Sabir, M. L. A. of Okara.
7. The Ahrar have a volunteer organisation which has a member-ship of 1,064 persons throughout the Province. At the time of Partition the membership had shrunk as several volunteers resigned from the organisation. The membership was larger at one time. The party is at the moment only concerned in doing venomous propaganda against the Ahmadis. Lately demands have been made, in rather an objectionable way, for the removal of Sir Zafrullah Khan. The Chief demand is that the Ahmadis be declared a minority community.
8. The Ahrar have a party paper—‘Azad’ which is published thrice a week. It has a small circulation. Its editor is Dr. Sabir Multani.
9. The elections of the All Pakistan Majlis-i-Ahrar have not been held since 1947. The Punjab elections were held in November 1951 at Okara with the following result:—
President ... Qazi Ehsan Ahmad Shujabadi.
Vice-President ... Maulvi Abdur Rahman Mianvi.
General Secretary ... Maulvi Muhammad Ali Jullundri.
Secretary ... Mehr Abdur Rahim Jhelumi.
Treasurer ... Muhammad Shafi.
Salar-i-Suba ... Chaudhri Meraj Din.
10. It will be recalled that immediately after the Partition the Ahrar leaders were flirting with (General) Shah Nawaz of the I. N. A. who later shifted to India. A prominent member of the Majlis-i-Ahrar of the united Punjab, namely, Habib-ur-Rahman, shifted to India, One Parbodh Chandar who later became an M. L. A. and was a prominent Congress worker, handed over his hotel on the McLeod Road (Vira Hotel) to Agha Shorish Kashmiri and Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan Shorish resigned from the Majlis-i-Ahrar in 1948. He was previously a member of the Working Committee.
11. There is already a group amongst the Ahrar which favours collaboration with the opposition parties. This group is led by Sheikh Husam-ud-Din. Master Taj-ud-Din Ansari, however, has been counselling moderation, and is opposed to an open breach with the Muslim League at this stage. So far Master Taj-ud-Din’s party is stronger. There is no doubt that when the Ahrar find that they have sufficiently rehabilitated themselves with the public they may openly break with the Muslim League and set up an independent party.
12. As pointed out above the mischievous speeches made by Ahrar workers have already resulted in a large number of incidents of breach of peace and physical violence. The latest incident at Karachi is a pointer to what can happen if the activities of the Ahrar are allowed to go uncurbed. Moreover, it must be appreciated that if the Ahrar are allowed to gather strength and popular favour it will become more difficult to take action against them. They are no longer suspect as they were at the time of Partition.
13. The above situation was discussed with I. G. Police and Home Secretary yesterday and the following recommendations are made for the consideration of Government :
(a) The Majlis-i-Ahrar should be declared an unlawful association under section 16 of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act. (This suggestion was made by me as early as May l950).
(b) The following prominent workers should be arrested and detained under the Public Safety Act:—
1. Sayyed Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari.
2. Qazi Ehsan Ahmad Shujabadi.
3. Muhammad All Jullundri.
Against Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari the material is very strong because his declaration at Lyallpur seems to indicate that the happenings at Karachi were within his knowledge.
(c) In case detention is not considered advisable, the above three leaders should be restricted to their home villages.
After all Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari lived of his own choice for two years in a village of the Muzaffargarh district. Muhammad Ali Jullundri (who is a refugee and has since settled in the Multan district) and Qazi Ehsan Ahmad Shujabadi will have to be restricted in that case in the Multan district.
(d) In case it is not considered advisable to declare the Majlis-i-Ahrar as an unlawful association, its meetings at any rate for the next year or two, should be banned by orders under section 144, Cr. P. C.
14. At the meeting it was decided that it would be necessary to apprise the Central Government of what we propose to do in order to ensure uniformity of action. The Central Government should co-operate and ensure that similar action is taken in other Provinces of Pakistan. It will be meaningless if certain bans are imposed on the activities of Ahrar in one Province only. We were also of the opinion that in case the Central Government does not propose to take action on the above lines, it would not perhaps be advisable for the Punjab Government to do so unilaterally.
15. In case Government agree with the above views a suitable draft for C.S.’s approval will be put up.”
This note was placed before Mr. Qurban Ali Khan, Inspector-General of Police, whose comments on it, which are reproduced below, deserve special notice :—
“I do not know how long will we remain at the stage of writing notes informing Government what the Ahrar are doing and what should be expected of them if they are not checked in time. The Ahrar have already done enough to show without any doubt, which way the wind is blowing in their camp. I am for one convinced in my mind that if Government continues with its present policy of leaving the Ahrar alone, the Ahrar will sooner or later perpetrate some such horrible crime that Government would find itself in a difficult position to explain their failure to take action upon what the C.I.D. has been, repeatedly and vehemently reporting to them.
It is a difficult decision to take, I know, but some one has to take it. The Central Government is not likely to share the responsibility of getting involved in a matter which has the remotest chance of raising another opposition especially on an issue which may be exploited as a religious all-Muslims versus Ahmadis issue. There is a possibility of that, In fact the moment Ahrar are touched, they will make that an issue. But some Government somewhere must give the masses a correct lead. If every party is afraid that the Ahrar will join hands with the opposition no one will even be able to maintain the law and order. And in fact the Ahrar are to-day no power. Tomorrow they may become one. No sensible person can support their policy of violence. If Government is convinced that the conduct of the Ahrar calls for action, to-day is, I submit, the most opportune time to take it. Before H.C.M. leaves for Murree it may be worthwhile to call a meeting of the Honourable Ministers, C.S., H.S., D.I.G., C.I.D. and the I.G.”
A meeting of officers was called by the Chief Minister on May 25, 1952, to consider the proposals. Though Mr. Qurban Ali Khan had suggested that Ministers should be called to the meeting, this proposal did not find favour with the Chief Minister and none of the Ministers was summoned. It was decided in the meeting that the existing directive which left with the District Magistrates the discretion to ban meetings sponsored by the Ahrar or the Ahmadis was unsatisfactory, and that the District Magistrates should now be directed that whenever either party intended to hold a meeting, they should invariably ban it under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Therefore, on 5th June the Chief Secretary issued the following D. O. Circular to all District Magistrates:—
I am directed to address you in continuation of the Home Secretary’s demi-official letter No. 10027-51/463-HG., dated December 24, 1951, addressed to all the Deputy Commissioners on the subject cited above.
2. Government have noticed with concern that the Ahrar-Ahmadiya controversy instead of abating has now increased to an extent which if not checked immediately and firmly will constitute a real threat to the public peace. The trend of speeches delivered at the Ahrar conferences is generally marked by a deplorable lack of self-restraint and healthy tone. The speeches made recently by some of their leaders were particularly inflammatory. On the other hand the Ahmadiya community, in spite of the undisguised hostility of a section of the public or probably because of it, insist on holding their tablighi conferences frequently and in public. This attitude only succeeds in provoking fresh outbursts against themselves. After careful consideration, Government have decided that in the general interest of the public peace and tranquillity, neither the Ahrar nor the Ahmadis should be permitted to hold public meetings under any name or garb. You should, therefore, take preventive action under section 144, Cr. P.C., whenever either party intends to hold a public meeting. This directive supersedes the one referred to above which left the discretion, for taking preventive action with the Deputy Commissioners. Now preventive action will be taken regarding Ahrar/Ahmadi meetings invariably and without any exceptions until these orders are modified or withdrawn. The action taken by you and the reactions thereto should in all cases be reported to Government, as early as possible, for their information.”
When action was taken by the District Magistrates on this directive, the Ahrar resorted to a clever stratagem. They shifted the venue of their meetings from public places to mosques where they began to attract large gatherings, particularly before or after Friday prayers. This new situation was reviewed in a meeting of the I.G.P., D.I.G., C.I.D., the Home Secretary and the Legal Remembrancer on 19th June 1952. As a result of the decisions taken in this meeting the following instructions were signalled on 19th June 1952, to all District Magistrates and Commissioners after they had been seen and approved by the Chief Secretary :—
“It has been reported to Government that Ahrar want to hold anti-Ahmadi meetings in mosques immediately preceding or after the Juma-tul-wida prayers, because they think that such meetings are not liable to be banned by District Magistrates. If the Ahrar contemplate doing so within your district, you should immediately pass an appropriate order under section 144, Cr. P.C. banning public meetings on the day without making any mention of the venue of the meeting. You should then send for the imam and the persons connected with the management of the mosque and impress upon them that they should not become a party to this violation of your order and the desecration of a place of worship in the furtherance of the activities of a political party. It should be made clear to them that in the event of an infringement of your order you will not hesitate from prosecuting the persons connected with the management of the mosque for their abetment of the offence as well as the actual sponsors and other moving spirits of the meeting including the speakers. Government are aware that a public meeting may be dovetailed into a prayer congregation or that the complexion of an assemblage gathered for prayers may change into that of a public meeting by the tone and trend of speeches just before or after the prayers or the khutba. But Government are advised that such facts will not afford any legal protection to those responsible for the meetings from the consequences of a violation of your order. A Gazette Extraordinary is under issue today notifying the violation of orders under section 144, Cr. C.P. banning public meetings as non-bailable and cognizable offences. You will receive copies thereof in due course: meanwhile you should proceed on this basis. Government will also send you shortly a model order under section 144, Cr. P.C. for issue by you on such occasions. Lastly it should be noted carefully that Government do not desire any public meetings which are being held in mosques or other places of sanctity or worship to be dispersed by force or to be interfered with in any way while they are in progress. Nor do they desire that any arrests should be made while people are collecting for or dispersing from such meetings. The proper course to follow would be that a case should be registered and the culprits should be arrested after the excitement of the meeting is over at an appropriate time and place. The cases registered should be prosecuted vigorously. You and your Superintendent of Police should remain present at headquarters on Friday and also at the time selected for effecting arrests, if any.”
Simultaneously an Ordinance was promulgated in a Gazette Extraordinary declaring the violation of orders, passed under section 144, Criminal Procedure Code, banning public meetings, a non-bailable and cognizable offence.
At a meeting held by the Chief Minister with the Chief Secretary, the Home Secretary, I.G.P., and D.I.G., C.I.D., on 27th June 1952, it was decided to issue the following D. O. Circular to all District Magistrates, with a view to isolating the Ahrar :—
D. O. No. 176-St. (HS)/52,
Punjab Civil Secretariat,
Home Department, Lahore.
28th June 1952
I am desired to address you in continuation of the Chief Secretary’s wireless message No. 168-St(HS)/52, dated June 19, 1952, on the subject of the Ahrar-Ahmadiya controversy and to say that Government desire that if your order under section 144, Cr. P.C. has been violated by the Ahrar you should proceed only against the prominent members of the Ahrar leadership who may be among the offenders and ignore others of lesser importance or those who do not belong to the Ahrar party. Local persons should be particularly left out unless they belong to the hierarchy of the Ahrar organisation. The intention is that we should isolate the Ahrar leaders from the rest of the public. If we throw our net wider and draw in people of other denominations also simply because they were somehow or the other prevailed upon or inveigled into participation in their meetings by the Ahrar we shall only succeed in arraying a vast section of the public against the administration. By taking action against people who in the excitement of the moment allowed themselves to be made use of by the Ahrar leaders, in some cases quite unwittingly and inadvertently, we shall force them to joining hands with the Ahrar. If any of these people feel repentant and offer apologies you should accept them readily. In the case of such people even if they do not apologise cases should not be instituted against them or if they have already been instituted they should be withdrawn forth-with. When the public see that only the more important and prominent Ahrar leaders are being proceeded against their opinion will immediately veer round to the side of Government and the action taken by its functionaries will meet with general approbation.
2. The cases that you may institute against the Ahrar for the violation of your orders will be very hotly contested and pursued with keen interest in press and public. The object desired by Government as well as the justification and the correctness of your action will depend on their success. You should, therefore, get them thoroughly examined by your law officers from the point of law as well as fact before instituting them in Courts.
(Sd.) GHIAS-UD-DIN AHMAD”