Bismillah ar-Rehman ar-Raheem
Bhutto becomes the Prime Minister
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto became the elected Prime Minister of Pakistan in the election of 1970 and Qadianis hoped to get a good reward for their unflinching support to the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in this election and for their loyalty to Bhutto. Following elections many PPP MNA’s and MPA’s visited Rabwah (Punjab) and got good reception at the Qasr-e-Khilafat. Khuddamul Ahmadiyya organized parties and contributed funds for the PPP public meetings. Qadiani students joined PPP led student federations to check the activities of Jamiat-e-Tulaba, the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami. A powerful group among the bureaucracy and the military extended support to Rabwah to win its favours for future promotions (many high ranking army officers and civil servants belonged to the Jamaat). The leading anti-Qadiani groups and organizations operating in the country were suppressed and their activities curbed to appease Qadianis. Mirza Nasir (3rd Khalifa) was happy over his political bargain. He declared that majority of Muslims had accepted Qadiani point of view over the vital religious issues. In Saeed House Abbottabad, he declared that majority of people had accepted our interpretation on the belief of the death of Jesus Christ and Khatme Nabuwwat (AlFazl Rabwah, 30th June 1972) After an year he claimed that 70-80% people especially the young generation of Pakistan had come to believe that Ahmadis were not non-believers in Khatme Nabuwwat. Like the issue of Jesus’ death, the issue of Khatam-i-Nabuwwat would finish in the next five or seven years, he predicted. (AlFazl Rabwah, 28th July 1973)
Oil crisis hit badly the Western world in late 1973 and it was deemed necessary to check any move meant to forge a common front against western powers. In February 1974, Bhutto announced the convening of Islamic Summit in Pakistan. It baffled Rabwah. The leading role of Saudi Arabia in the summit was a red rag to the Qadiani bull. Mirza Tahir says that Saudi King Faisal aspired to be the Khalifa of the Muslim world. Thus the fate of Faisal was sealed. He was murdered by his Americanized nephew. However an Anti Ahmadiyya movement was launched on the eve of Islamic Summit and lot of literature was distributed among the Muslim delegates.
These events created an atmosphere of mistrust between PPP and Rabwah. However they still enjoyed the support of several key figures of the ruling party. Mirza Nasir continued to receive PPP stalwarts in his palace in Rabwah and firmly believed that no harm can ever come to his community. From time to time, he ordered heads of different Ahmadiyya organizations to put up stiff resistance against the attacks of his opponents and preach Ahmadiyya creed in a fearless way. “How could you celebrate the centenary of Ahmadiyyat in a befitting manner if you did not prove your worth,” he once advised his followers in a private meeting. All this contributed to the aggressive mood of the community. (Ahmadiyya Movement – British-Jewish Connection by Bashir Ahmad p.405)
The Rabwah Incident
In a bid to show their muscles to their opponents, Qadiani belligerents attacked the students of Nishter Medical College, Multan, when they came back from an excursion trip and passed through Rabwah on 29th May 1974. Qadianis carried sticks and light arms. Fifty students were badly injured with 13 in critical conditions. (Daily Jasarat, Karachi, 31st May 1974). It was a pre-planned affair and Mirza Nasir and Mirza Tahir were behind the game.
Qadiani Goondaism unleashed violent reaction all over Pakistan. Although Hanif Ramay, the Chief Minister of Punjab, issued stern warnings to law breakers yet the demonstrators paid no heed to it. Mr. Justice K A Samdani, a High Court Judge was appointed to hold an inquiry into the Rabwah incident. In the Punjab Assembly the leaders of the opposition moved adjournment motion but the speaker disallowed it on the ground that the matter was subjudice. (Pakistan Times, Rawalpindi, 3 May 1974)
Bhutto appealed to the people to wait for the results of the Tribunal but the movement continued unabetted. The opposition leaders in the National Assembly made stern efforts to move an adjournment motion on Rabwah incident without any success. The assembly devoted most of the time to procedural debate on the admissibility of such a motion. To check the rising movement, many religious and political leaders were arrested under the DPR (Defense of Pakistan Rules) and public meetings declared unlawful. (Daily Kohistan, Lahore, 10 May 1974) The Government used repressive measures to find an excuse to revive 1953 macabre drama to shelve the issue. People bore all hardships with fortitude to carry out the movement in a peaceful manner.
Everyone knew that the man behind the Qadiani goondaism was Mirza Nasir, the Government was however reluctant to arrest him. He filed a petition for bail before arrest in Lahore High Court. He was associated with the investigation into Rabwah incident. (Pakistan Times, Rawalpindi, 7 June 1974)
Meanwhile Justice Samdani Tribunal was conducting its investigations. The statements of the witnesses who appeared before the Samdani Tribunal appointed to investigate the causes of the Rabwah incident gave an awful picture of Qadiyaniyat hitherto less known to the world. Muhammad Saleh Noor, a Qadiani dissident deposed:
- Khuddamul Ahmadiyya is military organisation of Ahmadis.. It believes that the Jamaat will soon hold the rein of power.
- Qadiani officials are instructed by the Khalifa to manage jobs through all legal or illegal means for Ahmadis.
- In Africa, Ghulam Ahmad is projected as a prophet Ahmad..
- There existed in Rabwah an organisation called Furqan Force. the witness had been a member of this force and it took part in hostilities in Kashmir in 1947. General Gracey had later disbanded this organisation. The arms and ammunition recieved by Furqan force were sent to Wahga through a military wagon and buried near Mahmud ‘Mosque’. Volunteers had been posted to guard the arms and ammunitions.
- Ahmadis have a mission in Israel. It is located in Haifa. It is under Tehreek Jadid and Mirza Mahmud was the Chief of that Department. Those who went to Israel from Pakistan had double passports. They went to an African country on a Pakistani passport adn there issued the other passport to go to Israel. The other passport was kept by them secretly. No Jews have been converted to Islam. (Pakistan Times 28 June 1974)
International Propaganda Campaign
At the hieght of mass protests and movement, entire Qadiani propaganda machinery was actively engaged in mustering international support. Mirza Nasir gave interview to Associated Press of America in which he alleged:
“I am convinced that due to many reasons Prime Minister Bhutto’s PPP has engineered the riots. One reason is that PPP wants to prop up its crumbling prestige by winning over the support of the extremists of other sects.”
Sir Zafarullah Khan Qadiani alleged that when their properties were being burnt by rioters, Federal Security Forces stood by as silent spectators. (Daily Jasarat, Karachi, 28 June 1974; B A Rafiq From the World Press)
On the basis of propaganda line given by Mirza Nasir and Qadiani Missions abroad, foreign press ascribed the Rabwah incident to Bhutto and Shah Faisal’s policy to ‘excommunicate ahmadis’. The Economist stated:
“Several months ago when an Ahmadi was fired as Chief of Staff of Air Force. This said to have turned the Ahmadis against Bhutto and now cited by conspirational minded Pakistan as one of the motivations, the Prime Minister may have had for inciting the riots himself. Another such incentive may have been provided by Pakistan’s oil-rich Muslim brother; King Faisal is said to have urged Mr Bhutto at the Islamic Summit in Lahore last February to deal with Ahmadis and even to have made Arab aid contingent on a solution of the Ahmadi problem. A follow up Muslim meeting at Jeddah in March pronounced the Ahmadis non-Muslims, with the Pakistan delegation reluctantly acceding. Pakistan’s religious parties have been stepping up anti Ahmadiyya propaganda ever since. ” (The Economist London 15 June 1974)
As part of Ahmadiyya malicious propaganda against Pakistan, Sir Zafarullah Khan help a press conference on 5th June 1974 in London. He explained that the present trouble began when about 150 students from Nishtar Medical College at Multan had been passing by train through Rabwah, the headquarters of the community. They shouted slogans and obscenities at Ahmadis. There were similar demonstration by the students when the train returned a week later but this time they were greeted with violent reaction and some of them were hurt. (The Times London 7 June 1974)
Zafarullah Khan invited the attention of International community to the so-called persecution of Ahmadis in the Punjab and appealed to Amnesty INternational, International Red Cross, Human Rights Commission, International Commission of Jurists, public welfare bodies like OXFAM to go to Pakistan and help ‘suffering’ ahmadis. He wrote to UN Secretary General Kurt Waldhiem to send observers to Pakistan.
Similarly Jamaat Ahmadiyya Missions in US, UK, Nigeria and other countries met high placed Government officials to apprise them of the situation in Pakistan. British MPs expressed their sympathies for Ahmadis victims. Washington Post carried front page article sympathetic to Ahmadis and blatantly insulting to the people of Pakistan and Muslims in general. (Al-Islam USA 30 Sept 1974)
Governemnt of Pakistan deplored the tendency of a section of international press to distort and caricature internal happenings in Pakistan. Pakistan Times in its leading article refuted all absurd charges levelled by Ahmadiyya Missionaries and informed that the Prime Minister Bhutto had talks with delegates of all the interested groups. The son of the religious head of Ahmadiyya was among them who met the Prime Minister. The Provincial governments were kept in touch with the leaders of Ahmadiyya community as well as other groups involved in the controversy. It deplored the malicious propaganda of Ahmadiyya foreign missions and condenmed their anti-Pakistan statements. The paper questioned:
“We are not sure to what extent Pakistan foreign accusers have been influenced by the statements of Mirza Nasir Ahmad and Sir Zafarullah. but it is clear that by lapping up whatever was said by these gentlemen, they acted in fairness neither to them nor to Pakistan. Similarly the worthy spokesmen of Ahmadiyya community have only harmed their own cause by securing for foreign help against their own government and rendered themselves liable to the charge that they care more for their international connections than their loyalty to the land where they have enjoyed extraordinary facillities and privileges. Indeed they are more guilty of sullying the image of their country than their friends abroad.” (Pakistan Times 25 June 1974)
Link – an Indian news magazine made following comments on Zafarullah’s press conference in London:
“His recent press conference in London to malign the Government of Pakistan in Rabwah incident is part of a bigger scheme. one readily wonders where this Judge of International Court os justice was when Indians massaccred the members of the Muslim minority in more than three thousand communal riots till today.
Zafarullah Khan in his press conference in London said that at least 20 persons were killed in Rabwah and therefore he sought the intervention of Amnesty International and Commision for Human Rights and the International Red Cross. For people in Pakistan, who are in the know of full facts, this was a bolt from the bue and a stab in the back. A gross exaggeration of the whole incident. Zafarullah played well to the tunes of his masters. Let us all try to identify his masters. you will find them in Washington, in London, in Delhi and now most probably willing connivers in Moscow as well.” (Link India, 23 june 1974; B A Rafiq, From the World Press, London p.114)
Despite mass protests, Bhutto continued his partisan attitude and support to Qadianis. He tried to put all the blame on some foreign hands. Opposition wanted Bhutto to come to brass tacks because he had showered many blessings on the Qadianis, particularly their large scale appointments to sensitive military posts. For instance two of the three military chiefs belonged to Qadiani community.
Government takes the Qadiani Issue to Elected Representatives
Bowing to the public pressure, on 30th June 1974, the Government announced to place the entire matter before the National Assembly of Pakistan in the form of two resolutions. One of the resolutions was sponsored by the Government and tabled by the then Law Minister, Abdul Hafeez Pirzada. The other resolution wassponsored by the opposition and moved by Maulana Shah Ahmad Noorani, Secretary Parliamentary group of the Opposition.. The resolution of the opposition was signed by 37 members of opposition including Maulana Abdul Haq, Sher Baz Mazari, Prof. Ghafoor Ahmed, and Haji Maula Bux Soomro.
The Government resolution related to the determination of the Constitutional position of Qadianis while the resolution of opposition was more exhaustive in nature over the position of Qadianis. It said:
- “Whereas it is an accepted fact that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian proclaimed to be prophet after Prophet Muhammad (May peace be upon Him) and whereas his false proclamation of being a prophet and his attempt to falsify many of the verses of Quran and to end the conception of Jehad was a treachery against the fundamental concept of Islam.
- And whereas the followers of his religion may have any name given to them, intermix with the Muslims, pretending to be a sect of Islam. this they are busy in subversive activities inwardly and outwardly.
- And whereas the World Muslim Organisation in its meeting held between 6 and 10 April 1974 at Makkah in which 140 Muslim organisations of the Muslim World took part, decided unitedly that Qadianism which calls itself a sect of Islam is a subversive movement against Islam and the Islamic world.
- Now therefore this Assembly should declare that the followers of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, may they be given any name, are non-Muslims and that a Government bill may be introduced to make necessary amendments in the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan so that this declaration of this non-Muslim minority may be safeguarded. (The Message International, Karachi, June-July 1984)
Both resolutions were referred by the National Assembly to the Whole House Special Committee for discussing them in detail and finally to submit its report to the National Assembly.
The Whole House Special Committee set up a Select Committee comprising of leaders of various groups in the Assembly. Perhaps it was a Divine Will that all the leaders of various religious and political parties were elected members of the Parliament. Maulana Shah Ahmed Noorani (JUP), Prof. Ghafoor Ahmed (JI), Maulana Mufti Mahmood (JUI) Chaudhery Zahoor Ilahi (ML) and Maula Bux Soomro (Independent group) represented the opposition in the Special Committee while the Government nominated Abdul Hafeez Pirzada (Law Minister) and Kauser Niazi (Minister of Information and Religious Affairs) to represent the government point of view. Both the House Committee and the Select Committee began their work with devotion.
Mirza Nasir Ahmad Qadiani, head of Qadiani group and Sadruddin, Amir of Lahori group requested the Committee to hear them in defense. The Committee accepted their request and asked them to explain fully their point of view. Mirza Nasir submitted a written explanation of about 200 pages and was examined and cross-examined by Yahya Bukhtiar, the then Attorney General(AG) of Pakistan. The questions asked by the AG were prepared by the members of the Committee especially the ulemas. Sadruddin designated Abdul Mannan Omer, a senior member of the community and son of Hakim Nuruddin to represent the Lahore section. He gave his jamaat’s stand in a 14 page memorandum and was cross examined two days. Muslim point of view on the Qadiani issue was presented to the Assembly by 37 members of the National Assembly. Maulana Sami-ul-Haq, editor of the monthly Al Haq Akora Khattak and Maulana Muhammad Taqi Usmani, Karachi, under the guidance of Maulana Binori compiled the paper. It was read out by Maulana Mufti Mahmud in the Assembly. (Qadianism on Trial by Wali Muhammad Razi)
Sahibzada Farooq Ali, the then Speaker of the National Assembly revealed in an interview to the Jang that the members of the National Assembly acted in accordance with their faith and conscience to find a solution to the Qadiani problem. There was absolutely no pressure from the (Peoples) party on them. Bhutto and some members of Assembly believed that Qadianis were an educated class and would be in a better position to put forth the arguments in support of their contention. but Mirza Nasir Ahmad gave extremely ridiculous arguments and created poor impression of himself. During the cross examinations, he withstood the volley of questions but miserably failed to present his point of view. that conclusively proved that beliefs of Rabwah Jamaat were really dangerous.
Sahibzada further said:
“We were under the impression that unlike Qadianis, Lahore section of Ahmadiyyat could possibly be saved from being declared a non-Muslim minority as they did not believe in the prophethood of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. But when Sadruddin, the aged leader of Lahore Jamaat presented his point of view to the Housem it became evident that each Ahmadiyya sect upheld dangerous and confused ideas. During the discussion when we asked the opinion of the House, majority of MNAs strongly maintained that Lahore Jamaat deserved to be declared a non-Muslim minority in the first instance. We did try to save them but there was no scope for it. It transpired that there was little doctrinal differences between the two groups, the real difference was political in nature. It was also felt that Sadruddin himself greatly desired that Lahore Jamaat should be declared non-Muslim minority. He was convinced that his arguments run contrary to his point of view.” (Sahibzada Farooq Ali’s interview, Jang Magazine, cited in Ahmadiyya Movement, British-Jewsih Connection by Bashir Ahmad)
The Committee of the Whole Hose of the National Assembly of Pakistan submitted its unanimous report as follows:
The Special Committee of the Whole House, assisted by its Steering Committee and Sub-Committee, having considered the resolutions before it or referred to it by the National Assembly and after perusal of the documents ad examination of witnesses, including heads of Anjuman Ahmadiyya Rabwah and Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat-e-Islam Lahore, respectively, unanimously makes the following recommendations to the National Assembly:
a) That the Constitution of Pakistan be amended as follows:
i) that in Article 106(3) a reference be inserted to persons of the Qadiani Group and the Lahore Group (who call themselves Ahmadis);
ii) that a non-Muslim may be defined in a new clause in Article 260
To give effect to the above recommendations, a draft Bill unanimously agreed upon by the Special Committee is appended:
b) That the following explanation be added to section 295A of the Pakistan Penal Code:
Explanation: A Muslim who professes, practices or propagates against the concept of the finality of the Prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon Him) as set out in clause (3) of Article 260 of the Constitution shall be punishable under this section.
c) That consequential legislative and procedural amendments may be made in the relevant laws such as National Registration Act, 1973 and the Electoral Rolls Rules, 1974.
d) That the life, liberty, property, honour and fundamental rights of all citizens of Pakistan, irrespective of the communities to which they belong, shall be fully protected and safeguarded.
- Abdul Hafeez Pirzada
- Maulana Mufti Mahmud
- Maulana Shah Ahmad Noorani
- Prof. Ghafoor Ahmed
- Ghulam Faruq
- Ch. Zahur Elahi
- Sardar Maula Bukhsh Soomro
- Maulana Ghulam Ghaus Hazarvi
Before moving the resolution, Law Minister, Abdul Hafeez Pirzada said that all along in the Special Committee meetings there was consensus and unanimity. there had been difficulties but of procedural nature.
The Historic Bill followed delibrations on the Ahmadiyya issue by the Special Committee of the National Assembly since 30th June 1974, amended two articles of the Constitution and incorporated recommendation of the Resolution first passed by the Special Committee of the National Assembly and then endorsed in its special session.
Text of the Bill:
Following notification was issued by the National Assembly Seretariat:
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY SECRETARIAT
This bill was introduced in the National Assembly on the 7th September 1974,
A Bill further to amend the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
STATEMENT OF OBJECTS AND REASONS
As resolved by the National Assembly following the recommendation of the Special Committee of the whole house, this bill seeks to amend the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan so as to declare to be a non-Muslim any person who does not believe in the absolute and unqualified finality of the Prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon Him) or claims to be a prophet after Muhammad (peace be upon Him) or recognizes such a claimant as a prophet or a religious reformer.
ABDUL HAFEEZ PIRZADA
ASLAM ABDULLAH KHAN
The National Assembly passed the Constitutional Second Amendment Bill. Also the Senate unanimously passed it. All of the 31 senators present in the House voted for the Bill piloted by the Law Minister. Before the final vote, through a division, Opposition Leader Hashim Khan Ghilzai announced that his side whole heartedly supported the Bill. It was 7 September 1974.
Article 106(3) of the Constitution as amended by both Houses of the Parliament reads:
In addition to the seats in the Provincial Assemblies for the provinces of Baluchistan, the punjab, the North West Frontier and Sind specified in clause (1) there shall be in those Assemblies the number of additional seats hereinafter specified reserved for persons belonging to the Christian, hindu, Sikh, Buddhist and Parsi communities and persons of the Qadiani group or the Lahori group (who call themselves Ahmadis) or the scheduled castes:
Baluchistan – 1
The other Amendment was in Article 260 inserting a new clause after clause 2.
‘A person who does not believe i the absolute and unqualified finality of Prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon Him) the last of the prophets or claims to be a prophet in any sense of the word or of any description whatsoever, after Muhammad (pboH) or recognises such a claimant as a prophet or a religious reformer, is not a Muslims for the purposes of the Costitution or Law.’
AlHamdolillah. A 90 year issue was finally resolved and Pakistan became the first Muslim Nation in the world to officially and legally declare Qadianis as a non-Muslim minority. But was it really?
When the National Assembly gave its assent to the Constitution Second Amendment Bill declaring the Qadianis as non-Muslims, the entire House broke into a thunderous crescendo of desk thumping. Not since the passage of coutries Constitution in April 1973 had National Assembly members witnessed such camaraderie. Public interest in the Qadiani issue was evident from the packed gallaries. For want of accomodation, visitors squatted on the carpetted aisles or crowded into empty corners to catch a view of proceedings. The diplomatic corps of Islamabad was well-represented and the ladies gallery had a fair sprinkling of teenagers and women of middle years. ((Dawn Report on NA Session, 9 Sept 1974)
Leaders of various political parties and religious organisations expressed satisfaction over the decision of the National Assembly on Qadiani issue. (Morning News Karachi 9 Sept. 1974)
Hasan-ul-Tohamy, Secretary General of Islamic Secretariat, appreciated the decision taken by the Pakistan National Assembly and hoped that other members of the Islamic Secretariat would follow the same decision. He said if the resolution would be sent to the Islamic Secretariat, it would publish it and send it to all member countries. (Morning News Karachi 9 Sept. 1974)
Dawn Karachi commented on this decision in its editorial under the caption: An Historic Decision. It wrote:
“An old controversy which posed a threat to public peace and tranquility and was not without elements of delicacy and complxity has at last been got out of the way. The resolution of the Qadiani question by Parliament, in conformity with the sentiments and aspirations of the people of Pakistan, is a matter of historic significance. For about 90 years the issue has been in existence like a volcano, sometimes dormant, sometimes active, but never extinct. It is of very great significance that the issue should have been settled in a Constitutional manner and through a unanimous verdict delivered by the representatives of the people. Thus when the National Assembly and the Senate passed the Constitution (Second) Amendment Bill declaring that non-believers in the absolute and unqualified Finality of the Prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon Him) would be excluded from the fold of Islam, not only was a painful chapter of religious controversy closed but a glorious example laid down for future reference and emulation. The manner in which the decision was taken augurs well for the growth of democracy in the country. Constitutionality is the breath of life in a democracy. The same decision coming as an official decree would not have meant the same thing. Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto deserves our praise and gratitude for first facing the issue boldly and then submitting it to the country’s supreme sovereign body.
The achievement of unanimity by the National Assembly which functioned for several weeks as a Special Committee of the Whole House is a matter of great significance. Though it conducted its proceedings in camera, its delibrations were against the background of an intense national upheaval. This began with the Rabwah incident at the end of May and then spread, to quote the Prime Minister like ‘a prarie fire’. there was loss of life and property. Truly this eruption was rooted in emotions which had been suppressed for long and the time had come when the devout followers of Islam could stand it no longer. It was wise on the part of the Governement not to delay it further. As the Prime Minister said, human ingenuity could alway devise some method of postponing decisions and this could be tried once more. For the logical decision needed great courage and strong conviction.. It should be a matter of pride for us that the Government and the elected representatives of the people have demostrated that courage and that conviction. but it certainly was not an easy task taking into account, as Mr bhutto said, the many ramifications of the decision in political and economic sphere as well as in matters involvin gthe security of the State. He was not overstating a bit when he called it the most difficult decision in the history of Pakistan. Why it was very necessary was summarised by him when he said that the basis of Pakistan is Islam and ‘if a decision were taken which the body of Muslims in this country feels to be against the tenets or the fundamental beliefs of Islam, it would dangerously affect the rationale and raison d’etre of Pakistan.’ ” (Dawn Karachi, 10th Sept 1974)
Impact, London, carried very illuminating comments on the Resolution in the light of political history of Qadianis. It stated that the National Assembly decision would go to remove a long standing but an unnecessary anomaly. the decision would serve only to formalise the de facto and even otherwise de jure position. The problem had arisen not because the Muslims in some fit of orthodoxy or fanaticism wanted to ‘excommunicate’ any group of people. Its origin, on the other hand, lay in the assumption by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian of Messiahship, and prophethood and, as a consequence, branding those who did not believe in him to be outside the pale of his Islam. The Qadiani view of their leadership with Muslims was well summarised by their second caliph, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad:
“Our worship has been separated from the non-Ahmadis, we are prohibited from giving our daughters (in marriage) to them and we have been stopped from offering prayers for their dead. What is then left that we can do together? There are two kinds of ties: one religious and the other mundane. The greatest expression of the religious bond is in common worship and in matters mundane, these are the ties of family and marriage. But then both are forbidden (haram) to us. If you say that we are permitted to take their daughters (in marriage), then I would reply that we are allowed to marry the daughters of christians as well. If you say why do we salaam to non-Ahmadis, then the reply to this is that the Prophet (Muhammad) has said salaam to the Jews.. thus the Promised Messiah (Mirza Ghulam Ahmad) has separated us in all possible ways from the others; and there is no kind of relationship which is particular to Muslims and we are not forbidden from (entering) into that.” (Kalimatul Fasl by Mirza Basheer Ahmad in Review of Religions, vol.14, No. 3-4, p.159)
Accordingly in matters of marriage, divorce, inheritance etc the civil courts even during the British rule and later in Pakistan as well as post-Independence India had no difficulty in ruling that the Qadianis were not Muslims, significantly these judgements were never contested by the Qadianis, nevertheless these had no political effect.
It was in 1935 that Iqbal, the famous Muslim poeet and philospher, asked the British to declare the Qadianis as separate community just as they had done with regard to the Sikhs. in 1919 the Sikhs were declared a community separate from the Hindus although the High Court had ruled that the Sikhs were a part of the Hindu religion. As Iqbal said, ‘the Qadianis while pursuing a policy of separation in religion and social matters’ were, however, anxious to remain politically within the fold. ‘The Qadianis will never take initiative for separation’, argued Iqbal, because their small number (56,000) according to 1931 census, would not entitle them ‘even to a single seat in any legislature’ . However that initiative did come, though briefly, in 1946. Unsure of the emerging Pakistan (which according to a prophecy of their caliph, Mirza Mahmud, was going to be a temporary separation and the followers were asked to try to undo this soon (AlFazl, 5 April 1947), they asked the British that ‘our rights should be recognised like those of Parsees and Christians’. (AlFazl 13 November 1946)
After discussing the past political conspiracies of Qadian, the magazine said:
“When Mr Bhutto’s People Party won an unexpected majority of seats in Punjab and Sind and later achieved power after the fall of Dacca, the Qadianis let it be known that a great part in Mr. Bhutto’s victory was of Ahmadiyya support, the number fo Qadiani volunteers, working in support of the Peoples’ Party according to their ‘caliph’ ran into hundreds of thousands.
That marked the end of the group’s low profile and cover politics; according to their second ‘caliph’ their ‘politics was (of a ) more profound (kinid) than the (British) Government’ but it is this departure which seems eventually to have proved so disastrous.
Soon disenchanted with Mr Bhutto, they started hobnobbing with some opposition politicians particularly those of Istiqlal Party. by the middle of 1972, members of the Qadiani community were commanding both the Navy and the Air Force. About a dozen or so of their officers were either holding the corps’ command or occupying other senior and sensitive position in the Army. under the circumstances, a politician whio aspired to power could hardly afford to ignore either the military or the Qadianis to lose conscious and expression of their strength. in April 1973, when Azad kashmir Assembly resolved that the Qadianis be declared a non-Muslim minority, the ‘caliph’ said they were not worried about this but warned that if the evil transgressed its limits, then Pakistan would not survive the resulting troubles and disorders.
Few weeks later, opened the trial of about a dozen Air Force Officers charged with conspiring to overthrow the Government and as it proceeded it brought to light startling facts about how the Air Force Chief and his co-religionists, called the ‘CAS trio’ were following the policy of ridding the PAF (Pakistan Air Force) of its capable and patriotic officer cadre ad converting it into a pro-Qadiani force. Open allegations were made about the Qadiani design to take over (whole or part of) Pakistan. Something rare in military trials, but all except four were found guilty and acquitted. The Air Force Chief who did not take the judgement gracefully had to resign. this was in April 1974.
Then 22 May, episode of some Multan (Nishtar) Medical College students taunting or even hurling abuses at the members of the Qadiani community at the Rabwah railway station was at worst a case of student misbehaviour but instead of ignoring it, the Qadianis chose to retaliate and retaliate brutally when the students, on return journey, passed through Rabwah station on 29th may. As the evidence at Samdani Tribunal disclosed, it was not a reaction, it was a planned afffair. Why did the Qadianis react in such a self-destructive way? Possibly it was a case of sheer arrogance but according to another view it was calculated to invite a certain amount of lawless reaction so as to pave the way for another military take over. However the reaction that the event produced was intense and overwhelming but all the while it remained cool, disciplined an non-violent. the 42 deaths in the first week after 29 May, (25 Qadianis and 17 Muslims) were generally caused by provocative behaviour. the other violence that took place was the police violence against students, workers and ulema. However, as for the demand to clarify the Constitutional status of Qadianis, it had reached a point where it could only be ruthlessly suppressed but never defeated. But as Mr. Bhutto said, by suppressing ‘the problem would have abated and receded into background, but it would not have disappeared. A settlement of the problems and the guaranteeing of the Qadiani community’s Constitutional rights,as the Prime minister told the National Assembly, was in the community’s own long term interest.’ ” (Impact, London, 27 September 1974)
The Morning News, Karachi commented:
“The clear and precise verdict by the national Assembly on the finality of Prophethood must set at rest all controversies on this issue. Undoubtedly, the MNAs’ irrespective of their political affiliations and religious beliefs, demonstrated an admirable sense of appreciation for a decision through consensus. The irritating problem was indeed of a religious nature. it needed detailed and thorough discussions by all schools of Islamic thought. Moreover, as it involved a section of the citizens of Pakistan, it could not be lightly dismissed. A Governemnt committed to the ideals of Islam and democracy had the responsibility to meet the challenge effectively. And it was through the untiring efforts of Prime Minister Bhutto that the country’s supreme law-making body unanimously approved a resolution callinng for the amnedment in Constitution to declare as ‘non-Muslim any person not believing in the absolute finality of the Prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon Him)’. It was a happy feature that the sponsors of resolution included all shades of Islamic beliefs. thus the verdict reflects the collective will of the nation.” (Morning News, Karachi, 9 Sept 1974)
Zafarullah Khan’s Reaction
Sir Zafarulah Khan reacted strongly by issuing a statement that the Parliament of Pakistan had no right to decide about the faith of Qadianis. The then Federal Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, in reply to his statement said that the Parliament was the supreme body and no one could challenge its decision. He reminded Zafarullah that the British Government had over ruled the views of the then Governement of India during the pre-partition days that Sikhs formed part of the Hindu society and subsequently declared it a separate community. (Dawn, Karachi, 10 October 1974)
Zafarullah also wrote a tract to justify his religious beliefs. He argued that the Article (20) of Pakistan Constitution allows everyone to profess religion of one’s choice and the said amendment runs contrary to it. (later published in AlFazl Rabwah 19 April 1976)
Lahore Jamaat reacted softly over it. They claimed to be Muslim and staunch followers of the real claims of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the reformer of the 14th century.
Qadianis refused to accept the verdict. their version of Anti-Ahmadiyya agitation of 1974 is apolegetic in nature. They alleged that the movement was sponsored by the Government to crush the opposition and pave the way for an autocratic rule in Pakistan. (Weekly Lahore, Lahore, 23-31 Dec 1974)