Recommend UsEmail this PageeGazetteAlislam.org
ACCOUNT OF DISTURBANCES.
The members of the Action Committee were arrested in Karachi on 27th February. On instruction’s received over the telephone in Lahore from the leaders of the movement who were in Karachi, some batches of volunteers had already left Lahore for Karachi. The one that left on 27th February under the leadership of Ghazi Ilm-ud-Din was intercepted and detrained by the Punjab Police at Railway Station Lodhran, while the other two, one of which had left on the 25th under Miraj-ud-Din Salar and the other on the 26th under Sahibzada Faiz-ul-Hasan, succeeded in reaching Karachi and were arrested there.
Action decided upon in Karachi on the night of 26th/27th February was taken by the Punjab Government and persona whose list had been prepared by the Inspector-General of Police on his return from Karachi were arrested. These arrests generated a wave of resentment and lawlessness throughout the Province, more especially in Lahore and the district towns of Sialkot, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi, Lyallpur and Montgomery. The mounting wave of disorder became so uncontrollable in Lahore that on 6th March the military had to step in and put the town under Martial Law.
27th February 1953—In compliance with the decision arrived at in Karachi a warrant for the arrest of Maulana Akhtar Ali Khan was issued but when it was shown to him by the police officer who had been entrusted with its execution, the Maulana offered to give an undertaking that he would sever his connection with the agitation if he were not arrested. He was taken to the Civil Lines Police Station where he wrote out the following apology :—
According to this document one drop of a Musalman’s blood was more precious to the Maulana than the entire creation; the Maulana had nothing to do with ‘direct action’; the shape that the movement had taken carried in it a threat to the solidarity of Pakistan; the Maulana was against violence and disorder of every sort; he could not possibly think of putting up with such things as mock funerals of the Prime Minister and other leaders or picketing of their houses ; and he was against everything which was calculated to expose Pakistan and her people to the ridicule of the world. In view of this abject apology, Maulana Akhtar Ali Khan was not arrested and no action was taken against his paper, the ‘Zamindar’, until it misbehaved again on 28th February.
28th February 1953—With the arrest of the leaders in Karachi on the 27th and in the Punjab on the night of 27th/28th February, shops were closed in Lahore and small demonstrative parties walked in the streets forcing unwilling shopkeepers to close their shops. In the afternoon a public meeting was held in the garden outside Delhi Gate where some volunteers who had prepared themselves for arrest were garlanded and taken in procession towards the Civil Secretariat. On the way, however, the crowd changed its mind and marched on The Mall with Government House as its objective. The crowd numbered five to six thousand but there was no apparent tendency to violence, the processionists contenting themselves with shouting anti-Government, anti-Police and anti-Ahmadi slogans. The procession was stopped and asked to disperse near the Charing Cross where the Commissioner, the Inspector-General of Police, the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, the District Magistrate and the Senior Superintendent of Police had arrived. The garlanded volunteers came out and offered themselves for arrest. They were, however, told that since there was no ban on public assemblies or processions, they had committed no offence and could not be arrested. The volunteers, however, insisted on their being arrested and in order to clear the road for traffic, thirty-four persons were arrested under section 107/151 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, put in a truck, driven away and dropped at some distance from the town. The crowd then dispersed and scattered in different directions.
Shortly after this the Commissioner, the Home Secretary, the Inspector-General of Police, the District Magistrate and the Senior Superintendent of Police conferred together in the Civil Lines Police Station and after discussing the situation decided against the banning of public meetings and processions.
1st March—This was a day of processions and arrests.
The news that Maulana Akhtar Ali Khan had apologised went round the whole town. The public became furious and besieged his house on the McLeod Road. A posse of police, however, arrived and on an assurance by the Maulana’s son that he was in his village in Karamabad in the Gujranwala district, the mob dispersed. At about the same time Maulana Ahmad Ali organised a big procession outside the Delhi Gate. The crowd appeared. to be in a violent mood and damaged a police vehicle by throwing brickbats
Maulana Ahmad Ali was arrested under section 3 of the Punjab Public Safety Act and thirty-two other persons were arrested under section 107/151 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Another procession appeared near the High Court Building, intent on marching on the Government House. It was stopped and twenty-nine persons were put under arrest by the Additional Superintendent of Police. The same officer faced another procession on the Mall where he arrested twenty-three more persons. la the afternoon a large procession set out from the Delhi Gate for the Government House but was stopped near the Charing Cross in the presence of the Commissioner, the Home Secretary, the Inspector-General of Police, the Deputy Inspector-General of Police and the District Magistrate. Many men came out and offered themselves for arrest. They were put into trucks and, as on the previous day, dropped away from Lahore. The crowd then dispersed without showing any signs of violence.
2nd March—It appears that on hearing that Maulana Akhtar Ali Khan had deserted the cause and closeted himself in his house in Karamabad, some local men went to him there and taunted him with cowardice. The Maulana denied the accusation and came to Lahore on the evening of the 1st or the morning of the 2nd March. He went to Wazir Khan Mosque where he attempted to explain his position to the public and asserted that he was still as true to the movement as he had been before. He also announced that he would offer himself for arrest in the afternoon. Accordingly a procession, 10,000 strong, set out from the mosque in the evening. This time the crowd was hostile and rowdy. The procession was stopped near the Charing Cross, where the Commissioner, the Home Secretary, the Inspector- General of Police, the D. I. G. Police and the S. S. P. were present, and declared an unlawful assembly. The Maulana and some others were arrested and collected in a place which was cordoned by the police. Suddenly a crowd of about 1,000 attacked the police cordon with brickbats, tins, bottles and other odd missiles. In the attack eleven police officers, including two Superintendents of Police, namely, Mr. Zulqarnain Khan and Mr. Taylor, were injured and the crowd had to be lathi-charged. The Maulana was removed to the jail and forty-one persona were arrested for assault and rioting. The persons who had been arrested earlier with Maulana Akhtar Ali Khan were taken away from Lahore and released as before. The crowd thereupon dispersed. After the mob had cleared off, the Commissioner, the Home Secretary, the Inspector-General of Police, the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, the District Magistrate, the Senior Superintendent of Police and the Superintendent of Police, C. I. D. held a conference at the Civil Lines Police Station. As the situation had been rapidly worsening, it was decided to inform the General Officer Commanding, the 10th Division, and to request him to come over and stand-by with troops in aid of civil power. The General did not come himself but sent his G. S. O. 1 (Lt. Col. Sheereen Khan) and two other officers who explained that if military aid was needed a requisition from the Provincial Government was necessary. This led to some argument, the civil authorities contending that the District Magistrate, without any reference to Government, was competent to ask for aid from the army and the military officers sticking to the position that as the question of the cost of troops was involved, requisition for military aid should formally come from the Provincial Government. During the argument the Inspector-General of Police offered to make a written requisition on behalf of the Punjab Government. A letter was, therefore, drafted which was signed and handed over to the military officers by the Home Secretary. The letter stated that as an outbreak of serious disorder was apprehended in Lahore and it was felt that civil authorities may not be able to cope with the situation, the Home Secretary was desired by the Provincial Government to request for the aid of troops to help the District Magistrate in the prevention and suppression of disorder. The written requisition left the number of troops, the period for which they were to be employed and the manner in which they were to be posted, to be communicated in due course to the G. O. C. by the District Magistrate, Lahore. At the conference a decision was also taken to promulgate an order under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, prohibiting processions in specified parts of the Lahore Corporation. The same evening a meeting of the Cabinet was held at the Chief Minister’s residence which was attended by the officers who had met at the Civil Lines Police Station and by the Chief Secretary. The steps taken at the Civil Lines Police Station were approved by the Cabinet and a little after midnight the District Magistrate issued an order under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, prohibiting an assembly of five or more persons from collecting within the Corporation limits of the City of Lahore ‘excluding the area surrounded by the Circular Road’.
3rd March— This was comparatively an uneventful day. The military moved to the Jinnah Garden and in the morning started patrolling the Civil Lines and the city area of the Corporation except the walled city. The Border Police also moved about. Some unimportant processions were taken out in the walled city and other areas covered by the order under section 144. Thirty-one persons were arrested in Anarkali for defying the order under section 144 and a defiant procession coming from Nila Gumbad to the Mall was dispersed near the Tollinton Market by a lathi-charge ordered by Mr. M. A. K. Chaudhri, Assistant Superintendent of Police. Two other crowds were halted and dispersed by lathi-charge by a police party led by the Inspector- General of Police himself. The only serious incident that occurred on this day was the stoning of a police party led by Inspector Agha Sultan Ahmad of Naulakha by a mob of about a hundred persons which was moving from the McLeod Road towards the Charing Cross via Montgomery Road. The police fired three rounds without causing casualty.
In the evening it was noticed that the troops had ceased patrolling.
4th March— On 4th March a meeting of the Cabinet was held which was attended by the Chief Secretary, the Home Secretary, the Inspector-General of Police and the Deputy Inspector-General of Police. The Inspector -General of Police read out the report of a speech delivered on the preceding night by Maulana Abdus Sattar Khan Niazi at the Wazir Khan Mosque. The speech was highly inflammatory, and an order of his arrest under section 3 of the Punjab Public Safety Act was passed by the Home Secretary but it could not be executed because the mosque where Niazi had enthroned himself had become an impregnable strong-hold of the agitators.
The military, apparently under orders from headquarters, stopped patrolling, and one or two Companies even returned to the Cantonment from the Jinnah Garden. Several processions were taken out and dispersed. One of these surrounded the Ahmadiya Buildings and was dispersed by a mild lathi-charge by A. S. I. Muhammad Akram. Streams of volunteers had now started pouring into Lahore by rail and by road. A batch of volunteers from Sargodha was dispersed by Sub-Inspector Muhammad Hamid near the Naulakha Police Station. Another batch of 110 Ahrar volunteers on the Brandreth Road was met by Sayyad Hasanat Ahmad, City Magistrate, Malik Khan Bahadur, Superintendent of Police and Sayyad Firdaus Shah, Deputy Superintendent of Police. The volunteers refused to disperse and reached Chowk Dalgran where they were tear-gassed. They would still not disperse and sat on the ground. A lathi-charge proving ineffective, they were lifted bodily, put into trucks and taken away. False rumours about this incident began at once to be circulated. It was given out that the police, in dispersing the volunteers, had profaned the Holy Qur’an by kicking and tearing it, and killed a small boy. At a meeting held outside Delhi Gate a boy was produced, holding in his hand some torn leaves of the Holy Book, who said that he was an eyewitness of the sacrilegious incident. A maulvi, probably Maulvi Muhammad Yusuf, took these leaves of the Book in hand, held them out to the audience and made a violent speech, infuriating the already excited crowd. The faked incident became a public topic for excited crowds and spread like wild fire throughout the city within a few hours, creating feeling of anger and hatred against the police.
The above-mentioned account of the Dalgran incident has been taken by us from the written statements and the evidence of officers. The version given of this incident by the Ahrar and the Majlis-i-Amal, however, is entirely different, and it is alleged that during that incident a police officer did kick at the Holy Qur’an, and beat to death a young boy, and in support of this allegation Muhammad Nazir witness No. 32, Muhammad Hanif witness No. 33, Sheikh Muhammad Rafiq witness No. 34 and Siraj Din witness No. 37 have been examined. The Court also examined Sayyad Hasanat Ahmad, City Magistrate, Lahore, and Malik Khan Bahadur Khan, Superintendent of Police, Punjab Constabulary, who were present on the occasion. According to the non-official witnesses, a batch of volunteers was coming from Chowk Dalgran side towards the railway station when it was stopped by the police. The volunteers were asked to disperse but they sat down and when an attempt was made to remove them to some trucks which were standing near by, they laid themselves on the ground and had to be dragged. Among the men who were so dragged was an old man who had on his person a hama’il. When he was being dragged; the hama’il came off his person and a police officer of short stature and with a goitre in his neck kicked at it. The witnesses differ whether the hama’il was pushed into the drain or remained lying on the ground and whether it was in a cover or without a cover. The man who was wearing it has not been called and his particulars have not been given; nor have the particulars of the boy who is said to have been beaten to death been given. We cannot imagine that a Musalman police officer, however irreligious he may be, would kick at the Holy Book, and thus be guilty of the grossest blasphemy. This is conceded in the arguments before us but it is suggested that the Book might have been trampled upon unintentionally. Sayyad Hasanat Ahmad and Malik Khan Bahadur Khan have both denied the allegation and since non-official evidence about it is hopelessly discrepant, we cannot hold that anyone kicked at the Holy Book or beat any boy to death.
The allegation that some Ahmadis clad in military uniform went about in a jeep indiscriminately shooting people has been made the subject-matter of proof before us and several witnesses have been called in support of it. But though some mysterious vehicle with some unidentified men in it seems to have moved about on this day, there is no evidence before us that the occupants of this vehicle were Ahmadis or that the vehicle itself was the property of an Ahmadi.
At 4-30 p.m. a public meeting was held outside Delhi Gate with an audience of about 5,000 where references to a child having been shot and the Holy Qur’an having been trampled under foot by the police in Chowk Dalgran were made. After the meeting a procession was formed which moved towards the Wazir Khan Mosque. The crowd was stopped by Assistant Sub-Inspectors Manzur-ul-Haq and Muhammad Sadiq near the mosque. Information was received over the telephone by Sayyad Firdaus Shah, Deputy Superintendent of Police, that these two Assistant Sub-Inspectors had been kidnapped and taken inside the mosque where they had either been killed or were on the point of being killed. The Deputy Superintendent of Police took an armed reserve led by S. I. Muzaffar Khan of Police Station Kotwali and marched towards the mosque. Just outside the mosque he was met by a furious mob and when he inquired about the whereabouts of the two police officers, he was surrounded and attacked by the rioters with knives and sticks and killed on the spot. He had as many as fifty-two injuries on his-person. His own revolver and two muskets of the policemen who were accompanying him, were snatched and Sub-Inspector Muzaffar Khan was injured. The D. S. P.’s body was conveyed by someone to the Kotwali where the Home Secretary, the Inspector-General of Police, the District Magistrate and the Senior Superintendent of Police were present. Col. Alam, Officer Commanding 1st Baluch Regiment, also arrived with some other officers and the General Officer Commanding joined a little later. While these officers were reviewing the situation, the District Magistrate disclosed that on hearing the news of the murder of the D. S. P. he had decided to hand over the town to the military and communicated his desire to the military officers. This action was not approved by the Inspector-General of Police who thought that there was no necessity of surrendering control to the army at that stage. If the District Magistrate had in fact handed over control to the army we would have considered him as having acted sensibly and wisely, but that officer himself is not willing to take the credit for any such action and in his evidence before us he has completely denied having ever decided to hand over to the military.
The officers present decided to impose the curfew and the necessary order was promulgated by the District Magistrate. The police patrolled the town and came across several crowds which were dispersed by firing. Thus a mob which was defying the curfew was contacted near the Bhati Gate and it dispersed on a few rounds having been fired. Firing was also opened at a crowd in the Naulakha Bazar who had come out of their houses in contravention of the curfew. A mob of Ahrar volunteers which had collected on the Circular Road near the Ahrar office, began to advance towards the Kotwali and after being given the necessary warning, was fired upon, one of them having been killed and another wounded. Another crowd was dispersed by Chaudhri Muhammad Husain, Superintendent of Police, at the McLeod Road by rifle fire which resulted in some casualties. Firing was also resorted to on the Nisbet Road by Inspector Agha Sultan Ahmad who fired four rounds; twice in Gowalmandi by the Sub-Inspector; by the Inspector-General himself at a crowd which was heading towards the Kotwali, causing some casualties; and by Assistant Sub-Inspector of Police, Police Post Mochi Gate, on rioters who were brickbatting the Police Post. The whole city was literally in a state of tumult and throughout the night weird and dreadful noises could be heard over long distances.
A little after midnight a meeting was held at the residence of the Chief Minister which was attended by the Home Secretary, the Inspector-General of Police, the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, the District Magistrate, the Senior Superintendent of Police and the General Officer Commanding and some other military officers and continued till 3 a.m. The Inspector-General of Police apprised the General Officer Commanding of the events that had happened and were expected to happen so that it might be decided how the military could be effectively employed.
5th March—The events that occurred after the murder of Sayyad Firdaus Shah, Deputy Superintendent of Police, and the awful eerie noises that were heard on the night of 4th proved to be ominous portents for the dawning day. Though everyone was guessing what would happen, the events when they came were beyond all prediction. That the order under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure prohibiting assemblies in public was not made applicable to the walled city and none of the responsible officers could go to Wazir Khan Mosque where the Deputy Superintendent of Police had been, murdered, was a tacit admission of the fact that the city had become out of bounds for the authorities responsible for the maintenance of order.
At 9 o’clock on the morning of 5th March the District Magistrate called a meeting of notables of the city with a view to persuading them to issue an appeal to the public to remain peaceful and to use their personal influence with the masses, but none agreed to be a party to any such course of action, and only a few women offered to go to the Wazir Khan Mosque. As the day advanced, incident after incident began to happen, involving attacks on the police and the Ahmadis and the looting and burning of property belonging to Government or to the Ahmadis. The order issued under section 144 prohibiting the gathering of five or more persons in public places was defied throughout the town and mobs collected everywhere, threatening and abusing persons in vehicles and in some cases pulling them out. Manzur Ahmad, an Ahmadi teacher of Baghbanpura, was stabbed to death and this was followed by some more murders and general loot and arson. Some Government omnibuses were completely burnt and two post offices were first looted and then burnt. One police vehicle was set on fire and six others damaged. Several private concerns were also looted. A police party which was taking some dead bodies for post-mortem examination to the Mayo Hospital, was met by a mob which attempted to seize the bodies in order to parade them before the public, and two constables received injuries in the fracas. Police were brickbatted in several and fired upon in two places, one head constable having been wounded with a bullet. A military patrol was also brickbatted outside Lohari Gate and it had to open fire. The police had to fire in several places during the day. Clerks of several offices including the Secretariat stopped work and came out. The Islamia College students also left their classes and marched to the Dyal Singh College where they persuaded the students of that College to come out and join them. They threw brickbats, breaking windows and panes and damaging the principal’s car. From the Dyal Singh College they went to the University Hall and from there to the Government College. No attempt was made to disperse them by force because the police appeared to be anxious to avoid a clash with students.
Cyclostyled posters appeared on the walls calling upon policemen to lay down their arms because the struggle against the Government was a jihad in which no Muslim could fire upon another Muslim.
Curfew was imposed by the District Magistrate prohibiting people from appearing on any road, street, lane, by-lane, thoroughfare or any other public place between 3-30 p. m. and 6 a. m. on 5th-6th March and between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. from 6th to 11th March 1953. This order applied to the whole town with the exception of a portion of the Civil Lines. The assembling of five or more persons in any public place and the carrying of arms at any time of the day or night within the aforesaid area were also prohibited in the aforesaid areas for a period of two months.
In the morning the Governor called a meeting of the Cabinet to which the Chief Secretary, the Home Secretary, the General Officer Commanding the 10th Division and some Staff Officers, the Inspector-General of Police, the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, the District Magistrate and the Senior Superintendent of Police were also summoned. To the Ministers and officers present at the meeting the Governor suggested use of force in strong measure as his experience in Bombay showed that if in the early stages of a disturbance a large number of rioters was killed, the trouble was nipped in the bud. After prolonged discussion the following decisions were reached at the meeting :—
The Chief Secretary was asked to draft a statement for issue over the signatures of the prominent citizens summoned to the afternoon meeting, but as he was called to the Secretariat where clerks had gone on strike, the statement was drafted by the Home Secretary. The draft prepared by the Homo Secretary was considered by the Governor to be too condemnatory of the demands to have any chance of acceptance by the representatives of the public. On return from the Secretariat the Chief Secretary also attempted a draft but then the idea was given up.
At the afternoon meeting the Inspector-General of Police as desired by the Governor and the Chief Minister gave a detailed account of the situation. He was followed by two more speakers, namely, Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi and Mr. Ahmad Saeed Kirmani, M. L. A. The Maulana described the situation as a civil war between the public and the Government and asserted that unless the Government expressed its willingness to consider the demands of the people, he would not subscribe to any appeal. Mr. Kirmani said that the movement was being led largely by hooligans and other irresponsible persons and that the intelligentsia were not with it. After Mr. Kirmani had finished his speech, the Chief Secretary, the Home Secretary, and the Inspector-General of Police were requested to go out. The meeting, however, continued and Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi busied himself in the preparation of a draft appeal, but the production was not approved by the Governor and the Chief Minister.
Another meeting was held at the Government House in the evening which was attended by the Ministers, the General Officer-Commanding and Brigadiers Haq Nawaz and F. R Kallu, the Chief Secretary, the Home Secretary, the Inspector-General of Police, the Deputy Inspector-General of Police and Malik Habib Ullah, Superintendent of Police, C. I. D. The situation was reviewed and it was decided that since the last incident of lawlessness had taken place at 2-30 p. m., namely, an attack on a police party and the burning of a police vehicle, firing should be avoided as much as possible. The Governor desired that cases of ordinary violations of the curfew should not be taken notice of, and one of the officers or the Governor himself also proposed a ‘let-up’ in the firing. The decision to relax firing created considerable confusion among the police officers who were engaged in controlling the situation. According to the orders of the morning, the police was to take strong measures, and police patrols under the command of Mr. S. N. Alam and Malik Habib Ullah had been sent out with these instructions. When the orders of the evening were conveyed to the Kotwali control and were in turn communicated to the officers engaged in active operations, they were completely bewildered and could not decide what to do. The scattered Police Force was left in utter confusion and firing was resorted to during the night only on one occasion, i. e. at a crowd of Railway employees who had struck work and were engaged in damaging a signal and a train.
There are two events of 5th March, which have been the subject matter of some dispute and argument before us. The first of these relates to the firing in Gowalmandi at about midday, in which several persons including Abdul Aziz, Mudi, Nizam Din and Muhammad Habib are said to have been killed. The allegation by the Ahrar and the Majlis-i-Amal is that these men were killed by Malik Khan Bahadur Khan, Superintendent of Police., Punjab Constabulary, and A. S. I. Abdul Karim who was attached in those days to Police Station Gowalmandi. Abdul Aziz and Mudi are said to have been shot by Abdul Karim with rifle bullets and Nizam Din and Muhammad Habib with the same bullet fired by Malik Khan Bahadur Khan. The witnesses who have been called to prove this allegation are Hidayat Ullah No. 45, Husain Bakhsh No. 46, Ghulam Ahmad No. 48, Chiragh Din No. 49, Abdur Rauf No. 50, Master Abdul Majid .No. 51, Hakim Muhammad Jamil No. 53, Mehr Din No. 54, Siraj Din No. 55, Muhammad Hanif No. 56, Ghulam Husain No. 57, Taj Din No. 58, Ala-ud-Din No. 59, Sardar Muhammad No. 60 and Maqbul Ahmad No. 61. The incident was the subject matter of separate inquiries by Mr. Ata Muhammad Khan Noon, D. I. G., Mr. Abdul Haye, Magistrate, and a military officer. Nothing was proved in these inquiries against either of the two officers who in the evidence before us have been accused of shooting innocent men in cold blood. This firing seems to be traceable to an earlier incident which was reported in F. I. R. No. 70 of Police Station Gowalmandi. According to that report, information was received that several hundred men were setting fire to a house in Gowalmandi, which, was occupied by A. S. I. Abdul Karim who on that very day had done some firing near the Mayo Hospital. On receiving this information A. S. I. Faiz Ahmad, A. S. I. Sultan Ahmad and Head Constable Abdul Qadir with a party of police rushed to the spot. They attempted to disperse the mob but were fired at from the roof of a house and Head Constable Abdul Qadir was hit. One of the constables was beaten with a stick.
The incident in dispute very probably occurred a little later after this, and it is quite possible that the police fired vindictively to avenge the injuries caused to Head Constable Abdul Qadir and a foot constable. A. S. I. Abdul Karim totally denies having been present at this firing. He says that on that day he fired only three rounds from his revolver, one near Ganda Engine, the other near Chowk Amir Ali, and the third near his own house but killed nobody. He, however, admits that on that day there was some other firing in Gowalmandi under the order of Malik Khan Bahadur Khan, Superintendent of Police, Punjab Constabulary, which had nothing to do with the incident in dispute. We refrain from giving any finding about this incident because by our terms of reference we are required to report only on the adequacy or otherwise of the measures, and excessive firing is not within the scope of these terms unless such firing contributed to or accentuated the disturbances.
The other issue in dispute in regard to the events of 5th March is the meeting of the Cabinet alleged to have been held in the Government House at 6-30 p.m. which is said to have been presided over by the Governor and attended by Major-General Muhammad Azam Khan, G.O.C., Brigadiers Haq Nawaz and Kallu, the Chief Secretary, the Home Secretary, the Inspector-General of Police and Malik Habib Ullah, A.D.I.G., C.I.D. One of the decisions taken in this meeting is stated to have been that there should be relaxation in the firing. The Governor and the G.O.C. both deny that there was any such meeting but the Chief Minister, the Home Secretary, the Inspector-General of Police and Malik Habib Ullah are definite that such meeting did take place. The proceedings of the meeting were scribbled by Malik Habib Ullah on a piece of paper, Ex. D. E. 231 which he handed over sometime after the meeting to the Home Secretary who produced it in Court with his written statement. This document contains in itself inherent evidence of its being genuine inasmuch as its contents appear to have been written in a hurry and some of the sentences in it are obviously incomplete. It gives the time of the meeting as 6-30 p.m. and mentions the names of the persons present and the decisions taken which are five in number, one of which is: “H. E. said that in case of ordinary technical violations of curfew no action should be taken”. Neither the words “relaxation in firing” nor the word “let-up” appears in the document. It is quite possible that neither Mr. Chundrigar nor Major-General Muhammad Azam Khan can now distinctly recall what transpired in the hustle-bustle which must have then prevailed. It may equally well be that what the officers have described as a formal meeting was no more than consultation and discussion in the course of which those present expressed certain views which were generally agreed to, and Malik Habib Ullah considered them as decisions taken in a formal meeting. The point is not of much importance because Mr. Chundrigar himself admits that the suggestion not to take action in cases of technical violations of the curfew was made in the course of discussions on that day. But what is of importance is that some alterations in the decisions of the morning was suggested and accepted and this alteration was taken by the police, though we cannot say how, as a direction not to use force to the extent they were doing to suppress disorder in accordance with the decisions of the morning. The fact that after this meeting there was no firing at all by the police anywhere except near the Ikmoria Bridge, shows almost conclusively that the police must have been directed to relax the firing.
6th March—6th March was a Friday and since early morning processions from all sides began to pour into the Wazir Khan Mosque. Government offices suspended work, Loco and Carriage Shops closed down, and labour came out in full strength in sympathy with the movement. The Kotwali was besieged by angry crowds who were throwing stones at the building and demanding that senior police officers who had resorted to firing should be handed over to them. As the latest orders were that firing was to be avoided as far as possible, tear-gas shells were fired from the roof of the Kotwali to keep off the mob, but as soon as the tear gas blew over, the crowds closed in again. While the Inspector-General of Police was on his way to the Kotwali, his car was stopped near the Railway Station by a mob which was stopping all persons in cars or tongas or on bicycles. Near Police Station Naulakha he saw an uncordoned tank with some troops and people walking all round it. Near the underbridge on the Circular Road, he was again stopped by another mob headed by a bearded man. but managed to go on. Another mob he saw was chasing a horse-cart with lathis. The cart was overtaken and the horse unyoked. On coming near the Kotwali he heard the crowd shouting ‘Shahi Police zindabad’, ‘Pakistan Army zindabad’, ‘Police Constabulary and Border Police murdabad'. At the Kotwali he met the Senior Superintendent of Police, Mirza Naeem-ud-Din, and both talked things over and exchanged views. There is a serious discrepancy between Mr. Anwar Ali, the Inspector-General of Police, and Mirza Naeem-ud-Din, the Senior Superintendent of Police, as to what the latter said in the course of their conversation. Mr. Anwar Ali’s evidence on the point is as follows :—
Mirza Naeem-ud-Din’s version of the talk, however, is as follows :—
On a comparison of the two statements it will be apparent that while, according to Mr. Anwar Ali, Mirza Naeem-ud-Din was against the use of force and would have the Government define its attitude on the demands and to declare that it was not unsympathetic and callous to the feelings of the people and was doing all it could to expedite a decision on the issue, according to Mirza Naeem-ud-Din himself what he said was that Government was following a weak-kneed policy which was demoralising the police and that if that policy were not changed he would prefer to resign. Further Mirza Naeem-ud-Din makes no reference to his being called before the Chief Minister at the Government House and to what he said to the Chief Minister. That Mirza Naeem-ud-Din did say some such thing as is mentioned by Mr. Anwar Ali seems to be true because though denied by Mirza Naeem-ud-Din it is confirmed by the evidence of Mr. Chundrigar and Mr. Daultana.
To continue the narrative, the Inspector-General and the Senior Superintendent of Police proceeded from the Kotwali to the Chief Minister’s house where they learnt that he had left for the Government House. On the way they found all shops shut and small batches of men intent on mischief moving everywhere. From the Chief Minister’s house they both went to the Government House. On reaching the Government House they found all the Ministers, including the Chief Minister, present. There were also present there members of the Lahore Corporation, including some women, e.g., Begum Tasadduq Husain and Begum G. A. Khan, and the Mayor and Nawab Muzaffar Ali Khan Qizilbash. Ata Ullah Jahanian was also there with some student workers.
The Chief Secretary and the Home Secretary had gone in the morning to the Secretariat where they found the officials of the Secretariat collected in the compound and loudly demanding cessation of firing and acceptance of the demands. Mr. Alam, Deputy Inspector General of Police, had also arrived there. All three attempted to talk to the clerks but no one would listen to them, every attempt to argue with them being met with the demand that their viewpoint, namely, that the firing should stop and the popular demands be accepted, be conveyed over the telephone to the Governor and the Chief Minister. It was only when the Chief Secretary gave an undertaking that he would do his best to represent their case to Government and the Home Secretary held out the threat that if they were not permitted to go out, the military and the police would come and take action, that the Secretaries’ car, which had been surrounded and held up, was permitted to move. When the Secretaries arrived at the Government House, they found it all in a state of turmoil. The following is a graphic description by the Home Secretary of what was going on there:—
The situation was fast reaching a climax in the town. The Railway workers had entered the Engine Shed and taken possession of it, not allowing any engine to move out. The Railway track between Lahore and Moghalpura had been cut and a train coming from the Shahdara side stopped on the way. The automatic traffic signal near the Y.M.C.A. building was burnt by a mob which was about to loot the Commercial Buildings. Some more Government buses had been burnt. The Chief Engineer, Electricity, had been served by the workers with a formal notice that unless the Government House, the Ministers and officers residing in the G.O.R. Estate voluntarily cut off electricity, the city would be blacked out. This information from the Chief Engineer was brought to the Government House by a man who demanded that an immediate reply should be given to the notice. Just then the electricity in the Government House was cut and the secrophone ceased to work.
On going into the room of the Governor’s Secretary, the Home Secretary found the Governor, the Chief Minister and some Ministers attempting to telephone to Karachi. The Home Secretary talked to those present in the room and suggested that the situation could be brought under control only if the following action was taken :—
The Home Secretary advised that the Centre should be immediately contacted as the telephone might go out of action at any time. He successfully put through a telephone call to Karachi over the Military Trunk Line, but shortly afterwards it ended abruptly. The Home Secretary and the Inspector-General of Police who had also come into the room, then went out. Shortly afterwards the Chief Minister called in the Home Secretary and asked him to draft in Urdu a statement on the lines indicated to him in English. The Home Secretary replied that he was not well-versed in drafting statements in Urdu and suggested that the job be entrusted to Mr. Zulqarnain Khan, Superintendent of Police. Accordingly the substance of the Chief Minister’s instructions was communicated by the Home Secretary to Mr. Zulqarnain Khan in the presence of the Governor and the Chief Minister. The Chief Minister required the draft to be put up immediately as he was talking on the telephone to Karachi. The statement which was originally drafted by Mr. Zulqarnain Khan was as follows:—
When the Chief Minister looked at this statement, he said that it would prove completely ineffective and ordered the following words to be added:
The statement was being cyclostyled when the Chief Minister again desired that the following words should be further added to it:—
The Governor and the Chief Minister were both anxious that the statement should be dropped into the mosques from the air before the Juma prayers. The Governor also asked the Home Secretary in the presence of the Chief Minister and the Cabinet to read the statement on the telephone to Khalifa Shuja-ud-Din, who had been named as the fourth dictator of the Majlis-i-Amal in a leaflet issued on that day or a day earlier. The Home Secretary complied with, the order and read over the statement to Khalifa Shuja-ud-Din and also had copies of the statement sent to Khalifa Sahib’s house as desired by the Governor. The Governor seemed to be very anxious to satisfy the Khalifa Sahib because he made repeated inquiries whether his orders regarding the furnishing of copies of the statement to Khalifa Sahib had been complied with or not. The Governor also directed the Inspector-General of Police to broadcast the statement from loud-speaker vans in the city. Translations of the statement were immediately flashed to the districts under the orders of the Governor and the Chief Minister.
The day was reminiscent of, and was about to develop into a St. Bartholomew Day when Martial Law was declared at 1-30 p.m. We have already mentioned that an Ahmadi teacher had been killed on the preceding day. On the 6th March, Muhammad Shafi Burmawala, an Ahmadi, was murdered in Moghalpura, and Jamil Ahmad, an Ahmadi college student, was fatally stabbed inside Bhati Gate. Mirza Karim Beg, another Ahmadi or a supposed Ahmadi, was stabbed on the Flemming Road, and his body thrown on a burning pyre made from some furniture. Property of the Ahmadis that was looted or burnt that day included Pak Rays, Shafa Medical, Orsuco, Musa and Sons’ shop, the Rajput Cycle Works, the godowns and timberyards of Malik Muhammad Tufail and Malik Barkat Ali, the house of Malik Abdur Rahman on Mason Road, five Ahmadi houses on Mozang and Temple Roads, including that of Sheikh Nur Ahmad, Advocate. The house of Mr. Bashir Ahmad, a leading advocate and Amir-i-Jama’at of the Ahmadiya community in Lahore, was besieged in the afternoon and the mob was about to enter the house when Mr. Bashir Ahmad fired some rounds in self-defence. He was tried for this act by a special Military Court and acquitted. On the night of 6th/7th March the house of Abdul Hakim, proprietor, Pioneer Electric and Battery Station, MeLeod Road, was raided and his old mother murdered.
MR. DAULTANA’S LEAD FOLLOWED BY MOFUSSIL LEAGUES
After the Chief Minister’s statement of 6th March several Muslim League organisations in the Province passed resolutions in support of the demands. Thus, on 6th March the Muslim League, Mian Channu, passed a resolution, that a law should be passed to the effect that no person shall use the word nabi in respect of himself and that if he did so, he would be guilty of an offence. On 7th March 1953, the City Muslim League, Wazirabad passed two resolutions, one of which enjoined every councillor to offer financial help “to the local Majlis-i-Amal and to lay down his life, if necessary, in support of the khatm-i-nubuwwat movement. The resolution further declared that the Muslim League as a body shall not interfere with the programme or activities of Majlis-i-Amal. By the second resolution it was decided to inform the Prime Minister of Pakistan and the Chief Minister of the Punjab by telegram that the demands of the Majlis-i-Amal should be accepted within three days and that failing that members of the City Muslim League would resign en bloc and would request M. L. As. from their constituencies to start a, movement to canvass support for a no-confidence motion against Chaudhri Zafrullah Khan. By the same resolution the measures taken by Government forcibly to suppress the religious demands of the Musalmans were strongly disapproved. On the same day the City Muslim League, Jalalpur Jattan, passed a resolution supporting the khatm-i-nubuwwat movement without any reservation and the statement made by the Chief Minister on 6th March, and in the light of that statement offered its support to any step taken by him. The resolution stated further that members of the League were waiting for instructions from the high command to take practical steps to achieve their object. The second resolution called upon the Government to accept the demands of the Majlis-i-Amal as early as possible. On 8th March 1953 the Muslim League, Gakhar, passed three resolutions; the first to the effect that in order to maintain the dignity of the League it was necessary for its members to side with the people and to take part in the khatm-i-nubuwwat movement; the second expressing the gratitude of the League to Mir Muhammad Bashir, its President who had offered himself for arrest and had appealed to all councillors to do likewise; and the third appointing Hakim Ali contractor as President who would make necessary arrangements to provide volunteers for arrest after the arrest of Mir Muhammad Bashir. The City Muslim League, Kamoke, on 10th March 1953, expressed itself in favour of the demand for the declaration of Ahmadis as a minority and for the removal of Chaudhri Zafrullah Khan.