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Friday, October 26, 2012

1974 - Some Clarifications regarding the official record

Before I proceed with any further review of the recently declassified proceedings of the In-Camera session, there are a few clarifications I would like to make.

  1. The document was not voluntarily released by the Government. According to Mr. Bashir A. Khan who acquired the document, he had to sue the Secretary of the National assembly to obtain the records.
  2. The audio tapes which should have accompanied the documents have been allegedly destroyed in a fire.
  3. The records themselves do not contain the most important evidence submitted by the Ahmadiyya delegation. i.e., Mahzarnama. It however contains the detailed response to the Mahzarnama by various religious leaders.
  4. The records were declassified by the individual efforts of an Ahmadi Mr. Bashir A. Khan, who wrote thousands of letters to various political leaders and officials. He also funded the legal action himself. We are grateful to Mr. Khan for bringing such a historic record into the public domain.

As for the quality of the records I have the following observations.

  1. A large number of Arabic references presented by either sides has been omitted. One can only take an educated guess on what these may have been.
  2. At many points, the speaker of the house asked the reporters to leave. We do not know what was discussed in the hall after the delegates left for recess. I don't know if it was against the rules, but what were they trying to hide? It was already an 'in-camera' process.
  3. Without the tapes, we can not be certain of the veracity and completeness of the records. Luckily Maulana Dost Muhammad Shahid sahib recorded hours of video testimony before his demise.
  4. The events which led to this in-camera session are mostly unavailable. For example Samdani Commission report which became the basis of the whole affair has also mysteriously disappeared.
  5. The preceding parliamentary debates which led to the events reported in the documents are also not available to give it some context.
  6. It is important for the reader to acquire all other relevant historic evidence to complete the picture presented in records.
Despite all of the above, this documents reveal a wealth of information about the mindsets, motives and conduct of both sides.

I will be posting some more thoughts and findings in the coming days. InshaAllah.
Previous: The war of two narratives
Next: 1974: IV - The Background

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