In order to understand the motives behind Bhutto government's decision to declare Ahmadis non-Muslims, we also need to understand the sequence of events leading to July 1974. What you will find in this analysis is a story of treachery, hypocrisy and opportunism of politics and Mullahs.
Despite a temporary lull in anti-Ahmadiyya sentiments during the Ayub era, it was obvious that Jama'at Islami and other religious organizations were in no mood to let Ahmadis live in peace. 1970 was the election year and religious parties were hoping to gain power. This would be their first of many election losses to come. Both Barelvi and Deobandi conglomorates and Jamaa't Islami could only gain 10 seats in National Assembly. Bhutto's socialist PPP won majority in West Pakistan, mainly due help and advice from the Ahmadi leadership. Ahmadis also supported friendly candidates from other parties as well, but where it mattered the most, they voted for PPP.
Agha Shorish Kashmiri's Chattan wrote that PPP's victory is a lesson for the religious right-wing, but Mr. Bhutto won due to Qadiani conspiracies in Sindh and Punjab. It is ironic that the same paper was reporting Ahmadiyya hand in support of Mufti Mahmood's political rallies before the elections. Mr. Kashmiri, being a great orator was a sought after ally of the religious orthodoxy. In those days he was supporting Mr. Maudoodi.
|Jama'at e Islami leadership. Sponsored by the Foreign hand.|
The elections resulted in a stalemate between the Awami league in East Pakistan and PPP in the West. This lead to the tragic events of 1971 and creation of Bangladesh.
Ahmadis on Key Posts:
In September 1971, Sahibzada M.M. Ahmad, the advisor to the President on economic affairs was attacked in his office by one Aslam Qureshi (later Maulana Aslam Qureshi). Mr. Qureshi was praised in the press for his upright character. Sahibzada sahib survived the attack. This was a time of crisis in Pakistan. But Mullah was busy inciting the public against the Ahmadis; especially those who were serving their country in prominent positions.
|Assassination attempt was made on Sahibzada Mirza Muzaffar Ahmad, A Federal Minsiter.|
It is true that some Ahmadis were serving in prominent positions in the civil and military services, but it was a natural outcome of being brought in an environment where education and loyalty to country was part of their faith. Sahibzada M.M. Ahmad sahib was the most distinguished economist of his era his services to the country are well documented. In the war of 1971, when most other generals were busy surrendering one half of the country to the enemy, an Ahmadi General Eftikhar Janjua laid down his life while on active service.
Mr. Bhutto also confessed to Col. Rafi in his last days that the only capable General he had known was Gen. Akhtar Malik, another Ahmadi.
When the constitution of Pakistan was finalized in 1973, it became apparent that Bhutto had already started pandering to the Mullahs. The oath statements for both the President and the Prime Minister now included this statement
I ......................, do solemnly swear that I am a Muslim and believe in the unity and oneness of Almighty Allah, the books of Allah, the Holy Quran being the last of them, the prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him) as the last of the prophets and that there can be no prophet after him.....
One can sense the childish motives behind this action. Ahmadis agree to the statement anyway. Holy Prophet (saw) being the Khataman-Nabiyyeen was the first and the last prophet and no prophet can come after him. (i.e., his era is until the day of Judgement).
Mr. Bhutto and PPP were now acutely aware of the label of 'pro-Qadiani' and 'Qadiani agents' being applied on them by the defeated religious parties. Bhutto had to move fast to keep his popularity up among the masses. But despite his best efforts, Mullahs were still not happy. A number of other reservations against the constitution were expressed. i.e., where is the punishment for apostasy? where is the demand of Jizya from non-Muslims? Why are non-Muslims allowed to hold key posts? etc.
In the meantime, the Government of Azad Kashmir, under the leadership of Sardar A.Q Khan passed a resolution (in which only the ruling party voted) which declared Ahmadis as non-Muslims. This probably was an attempt to test the waters before trying it in Pakistan. As expected, the news was appreciated by the religious parties and Pakistani press. Even Rabita Aalam-e-Islami sent a congratulatory telegram to Mr. Bhutto (probably mistaking him to be the president of AJK).
A warning from Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih III
While it appeared that seemingly random events of persecution were happening all around, the Imam of Jama'at Ahmadiyya knew that a conspiracy was being hatched against the community on a grand scale. He called the emergency Shura (a committee of elected advisers from all over the country) in May 1973 and informed them of the secret machinations taking place in the Government and the establishment against the community. He told the community that there was a plot to assassinate the Ahmadiyya leadership and also a scheme to put economic and financial restrictions on Ahmadis (social boycott) to break them apart. And finally there was also the plan to cause internal rift among the Ahmadis in Rabwah by using some hypocrite elements from within the community.
Manufacturing Khilafat; An unfulfilled dream
The global politics of the time had given rise to wannabe 'Khalifas' around the Muslim world. Terrorists from the atheist far-left around the world had declared solidarity with the Palestinian cause. Dictators propped up by the West were going no where. So when Idi Amin, Gaddafi, Anwer Sadaat, Shah Faisal, Yasser Arafat decided to pay a visit for the Islamic Conference in Feb 1974, Bhutto was all set to become a major world leader. On the other hand Shah Faisal was being presented to the Muslim world as the unifying leader, a potential Khalifa. Pakistani Media was in a religious frenzy at this time, Chattan ready and willing to pledge allegiance to Khalifatul Muslimeen, Shah Faisal.
|OIC Summit 1974: Wannabe Saviours. Mr. Bhutto's ambitions and Shah Faisal's petro-dollars could not do the trick.|
There were reports that Jamaat e Islami and other mullahs were going to use the international conference to move against the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community on a global scale. Mirza Tahir Ahmad (later Khalifatul Masih IV a.r.) met with Bhutto to share his concerns; Bhutto assured him that nothing of that sort will be allowed.
The conference was a failure for the Muslim world, but for Mr. Bhutto it was a major success. He popularity graph was at all time high.
Rabita-Aalame-Islami, an NGO sponsored by the house of Saud was present at the conference. A month of so after the conference, this organization passed a resolution declaring Ahmadis as non-Muslims. The Pakistani official delegate also signed it. This resolution also contained the Saudi Royal Decree which barred Ahmadis from entering the country or gaining employment in Saudi Arabia.
The Rabwah Incident
Commonly known as the precursor the the Parliamentary debate, Rabwah railway station incident is another example of how the print media and Mullah propaganda caused so much death and destruction for Pakistani Ahmadis. The event took place on 22nd and 29th of May 1974 in which a group of students belonging to the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami got involved in a brawl with some misguided Ahmadi youth at Rabwah train station. It resulted in some minor injuries, but the news spread like wildfire all across the country. Urdu print media exaggerated the accounts of violence and presented a fictitious picture of mutilations and wanton murder of innocent Muslim boys by barbaric Ahmadis. Nothing could be far from the truth. Justice Samdani was appointed to head a tribunal to investigate the matter. His report which consisted of detailed interviews of all parties involved was submitted to the Provincial government. That report has never been made public. But Justice Samdani had to make a public announcement during his enquiry that no torture, mutilation or murder took place during the brawl. This was in response to the propaganda by various newspaper that many students had their eyes gouged out and limbs hacked off and some were in critical condition. In fact, only 13 minor injuries were reported by the doctors. A reference to this fact was also made during the in-camera session by Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih (a.r.) which was not contested.
Riots, Massacres and Boycott
Following the events in Rabwah, the whole of Pakistan was engulfed in anti-ahmadiyya riots. Nawa-e-Waqt, the most read Urdu newspaper announced on 16th of June that the Social boycott of Ahmadis has started. This was in line with the Rabita-Alame Islami declaration a few weeks earlier urging all Muslims to do the same. Dozens of Ahmadis were killed across the country and many thousands made homeless due to arson and looting. In Gujranwala, a particularly gruesome massacre took place where eight Ahmadis were tortured and killed by violent mobs in different parts of the city. In addition to this there were horrific tales of murders where mobs killed the victims and mutilated their bodies and burnt them with their homes and possessions. While this fire was raging in all parts of the country, the national and provincial assemblies were busy blaming the Ahmadis for creating this situation. Even Justice Samdani ignored the violence against Ahmadis and only focused on the Rabwah incident which was only a minor law and order situation.
While Mullahs were busy on the street ensuring life was made hell for Ahmadis, their representatives in the national and provincial assemblies hijacked those forums to blackmail the government. Instead of discussing the law and order in the country, ministers were forced to announce their allegiance to the cause of khatm-e-nabuwwat and namoos-e-risalat.
The Foreign Hand
At this crucial turning point in Pakistan's history, Mr. Bhutto and his allies had the option to deal with the miscreant according to the law and the new constitution. Instead, Bhutto chose to blame a foreign hand in destabilizing the country once again. I am not sure what he meant by this. Those on the right may have interpreted as US and Zionists supporting the Ahmadis to topple the government. While the secular elements in his own party knew that the all the evidence led to Saudi sponsored Jamaat-e-Islami and other Wahabi-Deobandi elements. According to Dr. Mubashar Hasan, Bhutto's close friend and MNA at the time, Mr. Bhutto knew fully well that Shah Faisal was behind the Mullahs.
In the meantime, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih III (a.r.) told AP that he considered the government fully responsible for the situation. This was consistent with his views that he shared with the Shura a year ago. Jamaa't also had reached out to the international community to highlight the human rights abuses being ignored by the state. Sir. Zafrullah Khan (r.a) raised the matter in a press conference in London. This attracted the disapproval of the government and was referred to by the Attorney General during the In-Camera sessions.
The whole month of June was spent in murdering and Jailing Ahmadis, while the government was looking for a way out. Newspapers were asked not to publish any news about the Ahmadiyya persecution to which they gladly complied.
On 30th of June, Mullahs of Parliament brought a resolution forward demanding that Ahmadis be declared non-Muslims. The law minister took the matter to the speakers chambers where a resolution was drafted which was a masterpiece in bigotry and conspiracy theories. For example it alleged that Ahmadis have made changes to Quran and they are sponsored by imperialist powers to cause divisions among Muslims. This was agreed to be presented to the house for a vote on the condition that witnesses will be called to give evidence before a final decision.
|The Chief Takfiri. Mufti Mahmood or Bhutto?|
But it is evident from the events above that the decision was already made. Many years later, Dr. Mubashar Hasan blamed the law minister for being an 'idiot' for agreeing to such wording. Mr. Farooq Ali Khan also admitted that the matter was decided not in his chambers, but by Rabita-Alame-Islami many months ago.
Mr. Bhutto's Hubris
According to Dr. Mubashar Hasan, Bhutto was fully aware of the outcome of his actions, but he was confident that whatever Mullah's had plotted, he would overcome them by his political maneuvering. This policy of appeasement came back to haunt him a few years later. Bhutto was fairly vocal in public about his intentions to deal with the matter in parliament. Everyone knew that he intended to declare Ahmadis as non-Muslims as the final solution to this 90 years old issue. Khan Abdul Wali Khan, once a secular leader of Pakhtuns, but an ally of Mr. Bhutto also joined hands with him at this juncture.
Dr. Mubashar Hasan stating some facts
Jamaa't writes to the Secretary of National Assembly
On 4th of July, the Nazir Umoor-e-Aama, Mirza Mansoor Ahmad sahib wrote to the secretary of National assembly to allow a delegation to present the Ahmadiyya belief in-front of the steering committee set up by the Parliament. The government responded that unless the Khalifatul Masih III (a.r.) attends himself, they will not allow a hearing, instead written statement maybe submitted.
It was decide that a Memorandum be presented to the Parliament which was published and submitted before Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih III read it in the parliament on 22nd and 23rd of July.
The Ahmadiyya delegation then attended the in-camera session from 5th of August to respond to the questions from the Steering committee.
|The Ahmadiyya delegation|
The above overview has been adapted from Silsila Ahmadiyya, Volume III, which contains thorogh research and facts on the events of 1974. The authors managed to interview Prof. Ghafoor of JI, Abdul Hafeez Peerizada, Mubashar Hasan and Farooq Ali Khan of PPP to obtain their eye witness account of the proceedings.