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Thursday, November 21, 2013

1974: In response to Nadeem F. Paracha

Nadeem F. Paracha is a respected columnist of the left-wing variety, a rare species in Pakistan these days. He is a keen observer of the modern history of a nation in the process of self-combusting into oblivion. I understand and share his pain at this hopeless, prolonged and soul destroying state of affairs in Pakistan.

In his attempt to understand and explain the reasons behind Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's 'compromise' over the Ahmadiyya issue in 1974, NFP has made a few factual errors. Errors which almost seem like an attempt to shift some blame for the 2nd constitutional amendment to its victims, the Ahmadi Muslims. NFP calls this a 'theological issue' and excuses himself from giving any opinions on its religious aspects. Ironically, at the same time he blames the myopia and laziness of the secular intelligentsia to blame Bhutto alone for this whole debacle. The matter of deciding on someone's faith is nothing but a theological issue.

It is laziness and myopia indeed if an opinion is given without considering the religious motives which caused it. NFP then gives an opinion which is rather theological in nature:

"The Qadianis claimed that Mirza was a prophet, and accused all Muslims who did not accept him as being non-Muslims"

The above opinion is based on the false allegations raised by the Anti-Ahmadiyya clergy which was thoroughly discussed and refuted during the In-Camera proceedings held in 1974. Why was this question even taken to the parliament? A parliament of a secularist, socialist majority should have known better!

Ahmadis DO NOT consider anyone who claims to be a Muslim to be Non-Muslim, even if they reject the claims of Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian as the Promised Messiah. In Ahmadiyya theology, this 'Kufr' or rejection of a Divinely appointed Imam (Mamur) is considered a sin, which makes the rejecter answerable in the eyes of God. It has to be understood that Ahmadiyya Muslims interpret the word 'Kufr' in a Quranic context and not as an absolute term of exclusion and hatred commonly used by the Mullahs against each other.

So my dear Nadeem F. Paracha, you have to understand the theology to understand the Ahmadiyya viewpoint. It is nothing but laziness and myopia if you don't even try.

Now to the events of 1974 which culminated in that constitutional amendment. I find it rather amusing that NFP would defend Islami Jamiat Tulaba (IJT) like this. Even if a bunch of hooligans shouting profanities at Rabwah railway station got away with 13 minor injuries (as Samdani commission report confirmed) as a result of a brawl, does that mean that the whole community should be punished for the actions of a few?

And where did you get the idea that some 'Ahmadiyya leaders' were involved in planning a violent response. Ahmadiyya Jamaat's leaders do not resort to violence. Our 130 years history is a witness to that. The fact is, that some Ahmadiyya youths were involved in this brawl which took place on 29th of May because the IJT students, while shouting abuse from the outbound train a week before had also threatened violence on their way back on the 29th. The head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hadhrat Mirza Nasir Ahmad had condemned the actions of those misguided Ahmadis in his Friday sermon on 31st of May.

I also believe that the Rabwah Railway incident was a pre-planned event, used as a pretext to start a violent street agitation against the Ahmadiyya Jamaat. A year before this incident, in spring 1973, an extraordinary session of Ahmadiyya Jamaat's Majlise Shoora was called in which the Khalifatul Masih (Mirza Nasir Ahmad) had informed delegates from all over Pakistan that a grand conspriacy was being hatched against the Jamaat. He had even outlined the methods likely to be used including using hypocritics within the community. Rabwah railway station incident was not a random event. On the day of the brawl, Faisalabad Mullah rags had published fictitious accounts of mutilations of the innocent 'Muslim youths' at the hands of Qadiani 'goons'. JI leadership was in cahoots with the Petro-Dollar funded Rabita Alam e Islami who had issued an edict to boycott Ahmadis and remove them from key posts only a year ago. It is no surprise that the student wing of the same organization then gets the ball rolling at Rabwah.

Agha Shorish Kashmiri was fawning over King Faisal at the OIC conference and praying for his speedy ascendency to the office of Khalifa for all Muslims. Mr. Bhutto was not blind to the immense wealth and prestige which came with the Saudi patronage. It only made sense for a person of his ambition to sacrifice the Ahmadiyya Muslims to gain popularity among the religious minded masses of Pakistan. Maulana Kausar Niazi wrote in his book “The last days of premier Bhutto”;

"He was referring to the Constitutional Amendment regarding the Ahmadis, which has prompted country wide celebrations. Mr. Bhutto felt that the credit which should have gone to his government had not been accorded. “The maulvis are claiming all credit for the Amendment,” he complained, “we must portray the true picture before the people."

Here is another interesting observation. PPP of early days was branded a communist party by the religious right. With such a toxic label, Mr Bhutto had no hope to win many seats in Punjab in 1971 elections. It was Mirza Tahir Ahmad, who later became the 4th head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community who helped PPP leadership to choose the appropriate candidates in Punjab which then ensured a very unlikely PPP victory. Ahmadis were helping the country to follow more progressive path and they supported the only party which was serious in its secular and enlightened vision for the country’s future.

Bhutto then stabbed his benefactors in the back, and while in his jail cell five years later, equated the Ahmadiyya Muslim community to the 'Jewish Lobby' in USA. He had tears in his eyes when he had to insist that he was a Muslim because a high court judge had called him a 'Muslim in name only' during his murder trial.

He died believing that maybe his act of declaring Ahmadis Non-Muslims will become the cause of his forgiveness.

Whether he will be forgiven or not, God is the only Judge of that. But Mr. Bhutto left the country firmly in hands of religious bigots for a long time to come. Even people like Nadeem F. Paracha cannot bring themselves to accept that their beloved leader sacrificed the soul of Pakistan 40 years ago.

How can we hope for things to change?
Here is the Ahmadiyya response to the declassified In-Camera proceedings and the historic background to the 2nd amendment.

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