Religious Persecution of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
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The Author: Mujeeb-ur-Rehman
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.
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Elucidation of Objectives is an English translation of Taudih-e-Maram (Urdu), a companion volume of the two treatises Fat-he-Islam and Izala-e-Auham, written in 1891 by Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, The Promised Messiah and Mahdi as, Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at. The book contains a detailed refutation of the conventional Muslim and Christian belief that Jesus was raised to the heavens alive and shall return in his material body sometime in the latter days.
The Promised Messiah as has also discussed at length such abstruse and subtle themes as the nature of Angels, their relationship with God and man, and how they function as intermediaries and carry out divine commands. (Read Online)
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Commentary by Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmad (may Allah be pleased with him). The most comprehensive commentary on Holy Quran ever written.
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Home Critical Analysis/Archives Plight of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan
Plight of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan

1953 Punjab Disturbances Inquiry Report (1953/1954)
Some extracts

Salient Observations of Historical Importance by Justice Muhammad Munir and Justice M. R. Kiyani of the Lahore High Court

Dr Muhammad Zafrullah Khan, Ahmadi Foreign Minister of Pakistan 1947-1954. He was one of the targets of the 1953 agitation. Later, he was elected President of the 17th Session of the UN General Assembly. From 1970-73, he was President of the International Court of Justice at The HagueIn 1953, Majlis Ahrar-i-Islam precipitated widespread anti-Ahmadiyya violent disturbances in the Punjab. In this, they were helped by most of the religious parties, like Jamaat Islami etc. They agitated the mobs in the name of Islam, Khatame Nabuwwat etc. As a result, many Ahmadis were murdered, and assaults, loot and arson were undertaken on a large scale. The law and order situation got completely out of hand, and martial law had to be imposed in Lahore, the provincial capital. Both the Central and the Provincial governments fell, and were replaced.

A Court of Inquiry, comprising two eminent judges of the Lahore High Court, Justice Muhammad Munir and M.R. Kiyani, was established and given the task of examining the causes, nature and events of the disturbances. After a lengthy and wholesome inquiry, they rendered a 387-page report, which was widely acclaimed by national and international circles as a great ‘historical document’ and was recognized for its deep analysis and clairvoyant observations.

The court determined that responsibility for the disturbances rested primarily on Ahrar who, to make political gains, used Islam as ‘a weapon which they could drop and pick up at pleasure to discomfort a political adversary’. The court observed that the anti-Ahmadiyya movement was ‘an instrument whereby religious groups and leaders who lacked popular support and secure political constituencies were trying to capture a political living space for themselves’.

Some observations and remarks of this Report are reproduced below for their historical value, as these, in principle, remain applicable, half a century later (in 1999 CE), to the Anti-Ahmadiyya groups and their actions in Pakistan.

  1. The Report recorded the past of Ahrars as below:
    “The Ahrar were a party of nationalist Muslims who seceded from the Congress and in a meeting held in Lahore on 4th May 1931 founded the Majlis-i-Ahrar-i-Islam..... In every important speech one leader of theirs or another criticized the Muslim League and its leadership, including the Quaid-i-Azam for whom they had little love and who in those days had come to be regarded as the sole and undisputed leader of the Muslim nation. They took mean advantage of his liberal views and lack of ostentation in religious matters by calling him an infidel.... The partition of 1947 and the establishment of Pakistan came as a great disappointment to the Ahrar because all power passed to the Congress or the Muslim League, and no scope for activity was left for the Ahrar in India or in Pakistan. The new Muslim State had come to them as a shock.... The Ahrar should have had little difficulty in realizing that with the creation of Pakistan their past ideology had become obsolete and that there was no scope for their past activities in the new State, but the Ahrar are not made of that stuff, and seasoned agitators as they are, having had experience of championing and conducting many an agitation to enhance their popularity, they began to think of an outlet for their activities in their new surroundings.” Extracts from page 10-13 of the Inquiry Report.

  2. Ahrar's favorite weapon
    “During the period that the Muslim League under the leadership of the Quaid-i-Azam was striving for Pakistan, the Ahrar were flinging foul abuses on all the leading personalities of the Muslim League and accusing them of leading un-Islamic lives. Islam with them was a weapon which they could drop and pick up at pleasure to discomfort a political adversary.” Page 254

  3. Ahrar's situation subsequent to the creation of Pakistan, a homeland for Muslims of the Sub-continent
    “The partition of 1947 and the establishment of Pakistan came as a great disappointment to the Ahrar because all power passed to the Congress or the Muslim League and no scope for activity was left for the Ahrar in India or in Pakistan. The new Muslim State had come to them as a shock, disillusioned them of their ideology and finished them as a political party. For sometime, they found themselves in a state of frustration, completely bewildered as to their future”.

  4. The Police reports produced before the court indicated that:
    “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 External Link - Opens new browser window 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 ring-leaders usually keep behind the scene and incite others against Ahmadis in the name of their religion and in the name of our prophet.”

  5. Mr. Daultana, the Chief Minister of the Punjab actively encouraged the press to fan the fire of hatred.
    “The press was definitely encouraged by the Director of Public Relations to fan the agitation, and with Dr. Qureshi we are inclined to think that Mr. Daultana could not have been unaware of what the press was doing. Four vernacular Papers had been handsomely paid for thousands of copies which were perhaps never purchased, in pursuance of an old policy that Papers which supported the government should be patronized, and although these very Papers were the keenest agitators, contracts were renewed early in July 1952 with the knowledge of Mr. Daulatana. A sum of over two laks which the Assembly had voted for the education of illiterate adults was diverted under the orders of Mr. Daultana to the purchase of these four Papers and the scheme was to be kept confidential. The Director told us without the least compunction that his scheme was to aid a certain type of Papers, not to promote literacy. The ‘Zamindar’, notwithstanding that it continued spreading hatred even after July 1952, when Dr. Qureshi complained to Mr. Daultana, was treated as God's own agent and action delayed against it until it could no longer be delayed. In short, the Center complained vigorously. The ‘Azad’, the Ahrar's official organ, was repeatedly brought to the notice of the provincial government by the Center and repeatedly reacted with mere warning.”

  6. On Ahrar's competence at using religion to make political gains
    “If they had carried on this religious controversy, as other religious controversies are carried on, they would not have perhaps attracted much support. But they were clever enough to recognize that the feelings of a Musalman are nowhere more easily and bitterly aroused and his indignation awakened than over a real or fanciful insult to the Holy Prophet. They, therefore, began to give out that their activities were meant to preserve the Nabuwat (prophethood) of the Holy Prophet and to repel attacks on his namus (honour) which had been made by Ahmadis in propagating the belief that the Holy Prophet was not the last of the prophets and that another prophet had appeared who claimed not only to be equal but superior to the Holy Prophet. The trick succeeded and they began to attract large audiences to their meetings, and since some of the Ahrar speakers are experts in the choice of words and expressions and the use of similies and metaphors and can intersperse their speeches with flashes of humor and wit of however low an order, they soon began to be popular.” Page 257

  7. On 4 July, 1952 the Home Secretary Punjab recorded the following on file:
    “This Province is no doubt the stronghold of the Ahrar and contains the largest number of Ahmadis in any one Province of Pakistan but the fanaticism and philosophy of hatred which the Ahrar are preaching under the cloak of religion for their own political resuscitation, if not curbed and killed now, will not remain confined to this Province or to the Ahrar and Ahmadis.”

  8. The DIG (CID) said in his report:
    “The Ahrar leaders probably do not realize that they are playing with fire. A certain amount of buffoonery can be overlooked, but where feelings are inflamed to such an extent that murders, riots, the heaping of insults, etc., are threatened, a halt must be called.”

  9. The Court's remarks near the end of the Report
    “Everybody was agreed that the Ahrar were a subversive force. They were opposed to the creation of Pakistan and even Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar thinks that they were anxious to “rehabilitate” themselves. In 1950 and again in 1952, Mr. Anwar Ali, then DIG CID strongly recommended that they should be declared an unlawful body. Mr. Qurban Ali Khan wrote very strong and prophetic notes on the possible consequences of neglect. One lawlessness breeds another. One do nothing leads to another. But whenever there was a conference, either they were persuaded to change their strong views, or official decorum restrained them from protesting. Mr. Daultana therefore says that everybody agreed with whatever decision we find on the files, and the officers concerned have not contradicted him. We ought to hold, therefore, that the responsibility was joint, though we feel differently. Further, we feel that the Ahrar were treated as members of the family and the Ahmadis as strangers.”

  10. The Court's severe censure
    “The conduct of the Ahrar calls for the strongest comment and is especially reprehensible. We can use no milder word for the reason that they debased a religious issue by pressing it into service for a temporal purpose and exploited religious susceptibilities and sentiments of the people for their personal ends.”

  11. The Court's apt comment on inter-relationship of religion and politics in Pakistan
    “In his evidence Kh. Nazimuddin has used a very apt simile while complaining that Mr. Daultana wished him “to hold the baby”. If the demands be compared to a baby, the whole subject of responsibility can be put into a single sentence and that is that the Ahrar gave birth to a baby and offered it to the ulema for adoption who agreed to father it; anticipating that the baby would cause mischief if it grew up in the province, Mr. Daultana cast it on a canal, dug with the assistance of Mir Nur Ahmad and watered by the press and Mr. Daultana himself, to flow down Moses like to Kh. Nazimuddin who in the apparent good looks of the baby noticed a frown and something indefinably sinister and therefore refusing to take it in his lap threw it away, with the result that the baby kicked and raised up a row which enveloped the province of its birth and threw both Kh. Nazimuddin and Mr. Daultana out of office. The baby is still alive and waiting for someone to pick it up and in the god-gifted State of Pakistan there are careers for everyone- political brigands, adventurers, Non-Entities.” Page 286

    Twenty five years later, Chief Justice Muhammad Munir, on page 45 of his book ‘From Jinnah to Zia’, said:

    ... and we know that some 20 years later no less a person than Mr. Bhutto took up the baby in his lap and by a constitutional amendment declared the Ahmadis non-Muslims.

  12. The Court's concluding remarks
    “and it is our deep conviction that if the Ahrar (the leading party) had been treated as pure question of law and order, without any political considerations, one District Magistrate and one Superintendent of Police could have dealt with them. Consequently we are prompted by something that they call a human conscience to inquire whether in our present state of political development, the administrative problems of law and order cannot be divorced from a democratic bed-fellow called a ministerial government which is so remorselessly haunted by political nightmares. But if democracy means the subordination of law and order to political ends then Allah knoweth best and we end our report.”

The governments that followed, democratic as well as despotic, learnt nothing from the events of 1953, in so far as what was good for the country. They, however, in league with Mulla, conspired, planned and implemented what was politically expedient and self-serving for short term, and persecuted the Ahmadi Muslims far beyond the unacceptable demands of the clerics of 1953. These wrongs, unfortunately have done great and perhaps irreparable damage to the State and people of Pakistan. Forty five years later, now, Mr. Rafiq Tarar, a young activist of Majlis Ahrar of 1953, whom Syed Ataulla Bokhari, Amir Shariat Ahrar, called his fifth son, presides over the State of Pakistan. Cry, the beloved country.

From the Archives
Rabwah 18 January 1997: At the instigation of mullas, a few college students took out a procession in Rabwah. They walked through the streets shouting highly abusive and provocative slogans. When they reached Aqsa round-about, they became more aggressive and started using highly disgraceful and filthy language against the founder of Ahmadiyyat, injuring the feelings of Ahmadis, which resulted in a clash with a few Ahmadi youth. The police immediately registered cases against seven Ahmadis under sections 324, 337/A-l and 148/149 PPC and placed five Ahmadis behind bars. Fifty other unnamed Ahmadis were also included in the F.I.R. by the police which enables them arrest almost anybody whenever they wish. Arrested Ahmadis had to remain in police custody and then in Jhang prison for two weeks till they could get release on bail on 30 January 1997. No action was taken by the police against the processionists who instigated the incident.

Mansehra: The beleaguered Ahmadiyya Community of Data in District Mansehra thought it fit to send an appeal in 1997 to the Prime Minister of Pakistan in view of their distressing situation. The opening paragraphs;

‘We belong to a religious minority community of Pakistan who were declared non-Muslim by religious fanatics sometimes back.…… Due to the hatred created by religious fanatics in general public, we and our families are under constant threat to our lives and property. Hardly a day passes owhen we do not face their indignation, hate and hostile attitude towards us. In our village, people always try to harm us and our families by whatever means they can lay their hands on. Now these people have implicated (us) in false cases’.
For the last so many years we are subjected to indirect threat to our families' lives which has given (them) physical and mental ill health. We can't do anything except to endure their physical and mental torture’.

These simple folks thought that they would get a sympathetic probe into their situation and would be relieved of the constant persecution. Alas, no action was taken, and the Prime Minister's office did not even bother to acknowledge the receipt of their petition.

Complete text of 1953 Punjab Disturbances Inquiry Report is available in Archive section. The report is also available for download in PDF Format.
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