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Books and Documents (10 Mar 2010 NewAgeIslam.Com)


Munir Commission Report -2: From Partition to Lahore Convention

PART I

 

FROM PARTITION TO LAHORE CONVENTION

 

THE CONTROVERSY

 

The genesis of the controversy that led to the disturbances is to be found in what has been described in official documents as ‘the Ahrar-Ahmadiya controversy’, which had existed since long before the Partition. But this description was objected to, in fact resented, before us by all non-Ahmadi parties, on the ground that differences with the Ahmadis are not confined to the Ahrar and are common to all sects of Musalmans. Similarly the use of the word ‘ Ahmadi ’ exclusively in respect of the followers of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was resented by non-Ahmadis for the reason that all Musalmans are Ahmadis, being the followers of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, whose other name was Ahmad, and that it has been wrongly usurped by the followers of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. We have decided to use the word ‘ Musalman ’ to distinguish the general body of Muslims who do not believe in Mirza Ghulam Ahmad from those who believe in him and the word ‘Ahmadi’, ‘Qadiani’ or ‘Mirzai’ for the Qadiani section of Ahmadis who believe that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was a prophet (nabi).

 

AHMADIS

 

In Part V we will deal in greater detail with the doctrinal and social differences between the Qadianis and Musalmans. Here we content ourselves with only giving a brief account of the Ahmadiya movement, which was founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, a grandson of Mirza Ghulam Murtaza who was a General in the Sikh Darbar. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was born on 13th February 1835, at Qadian, a village in the district of Gurdaspur, which exclusively belonged to his family in proprietary rights. He learned Persian and Arabic languages at home but does not appear to have received any Western education. In 1864 he got some employment in the District Courts, Sialkot, where he served for four years. On his father’s death he devoted himself whole-heartedly to the study of religious literature, and between 1880 and 1884 wrote his famous ‘Buraheen-i-Ahmadiya’ in four volumes. Later he wrote some more books. Acute religious controversies were going on in those days and there were repeated attacks on Islam, not only by Christian missionaries but also by preachers of Arya Samaj, a liberal Hindu movement which was becoming very popular.

 

In March 1882 Mirza Ghulam Ahmad claimed, to have had a revelation (ilham) to the effect that he had been entrusted by God with a special mission, in other words, that he was a ‘mamoor-min-Allah’. In 1888, again under an ilham, he demanded homage (bai’at) from his adherents. Near the end of 1890, Mirza Sahib again received an ilham that Jesus of Nazareth (Isa Ibn-i-Maryam) had not died on the Cross, nor lifted up to the Heavens but that he was taken off the Cross in a wounded condition by his disciples and cured of his wounds, that thereafter he escaped to Kashmir where he died a natural death, that the belief that he will reappear in his original bodily form near the Day of Resurrection was wrong, that the promise relating to his appearance merely meant that another man with the attributes of Isa Ibn-i-Maryam would appear in the ummat of the Holy Prophet of Islam and that this promise had been fulfilled in the person of Mirza Sahib himself who was Maseel-i-Isa, and thus the promised Messiah. The publicity given, to this doctrine created a stir among the Musalmans because this was contrary to the generally accepted belief that Isa Ibn-i-Maryam was to descend from Heaven in his bodily form, and gave rise to strong opposition among the Muslim theologians. Subsequently. Mirza Sahib also claimed to be the promised Mahdi, not the Mahdi who was to engage himself in conquest and bloodshed but the reasoning Mahdi who would vanquish his opponents by argument. This new claim gave further impetus to the opposition to Mirza Sahib and theologians began to pronounce fatwas of kufr against him. In 1900 he expounded another doctrine that thereafter there was to be no jihad bissaif and that jihad was to be confined to efforts to convince the opponent by argument. In 1901 Mirza Sahib claimed to be a ‘zilli nabi’ and by an advertisement ‘Ek ghalati ka izala’, explained the doctrine of khatm-i-nubuwwat to mean that after the death of the Holy Prophet of Islam no nabi would appear with a new shari’at but that the appearance of a new prophet without a shara’a was not contrary to the doctrine of khatm-inubuwwat. In a public lecture in Sialkot in November 1904, Mirza Sahib also claimed to be a Maseel-i-Krishan.

 

The Jama’at-i-Ahmadiya was founded in 1901 and at Mirza Sahib’s own request was shown as a separate Muslim sect in the census records of that year. The present number of the jama’at is stated to be in the neighbourhood of 2,00,000 in Pakistan, Ahmadis are also to be found in other Muslim countries and in India, Europe and America.

 

The new movement had attracted substantial support in Mirza Sahib’s own lifetime, including several men of consequence and influence. On Mirza Sahib’s death in 1908 Maulvi Nur-ud-Din became the first khalifa of Jama'at-i-Ahmadiya. On Khalifa Nur-ud-Din's death in 1914, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad's son Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad, the present head of the Ahmadiya community, became the second khalifa. His succession as a khalifa caused a split in the jama’at and a section of the jama'at led by Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din and Maulvi Muhammad Ali, seceded and formed a separate party, called the Lahore party, the difference between the two being that whereas the Qadiani party believes Mirza Ghulam Ahmad to have been a prophet, the Lahore party deny this status for Mirza Sahib and hold that he was no more than a mujaddid or muhaddas. The seceders set up in Lahore an organisation called ‘Ahmadiya Anjuman-i-Isha'at-i-IsIam’. Both parties are engaged in extensive missionary work in foreign countries.

 

THE AHRAR

 

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. They first came into prominence during the Kashmir agitation of 1931 when on 30th October in that year Mazhar Ali Azhar led a determined band of one hundred volunteers from Sialkot to march into the Jammu territory. The Kashmir agitation in the Punjab was a spontaneous expression of sympathy with the Kashmiri Muslims who were being subjected to ruthless oppression by the Dogra Darbar. The grievances of Kashmiri Musalmans comprised the appropriation by the State of a number of mosques, graveyards and other places sacred to Muslims, the exclusion of Muslims from public offices, the restrictions imposed on the observance of their religious ceremonies and the absence of a properly constituted legislature in which Muslims could be represented in accordance with their numerical proportion in the State. A campaign in the press against these grievances resulted in a communal riot in Srinagar on 13th July 1931. Attempts to take charge of the agitation, resulting from this riot were made both by the Majlis-i-Ahrar and by a body styled “The All India Kashmir Committee”, which came into being on July 26, and included in its personnel Doctor Sir Muhammad Iqbal, Nawab Sir Zulfiqar Ali Khan, Khwaja Hasan Nizami, Nawab Ibrahim Ali Khan, Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad, the present head of the Ahmadiya community, and Abdur Rahim Dard, an Ahmadi, as Secretary. The subsequent conflict between the Ahrar and the Ahmadis was largely due to the mutual hostility arising from their having been in opposite camps during the period of the Kashmir agitation. The Ahrar arranged to celebrate the 14th of August as the ‘Kashmir Day’, and on the following day officially announced that they had taken up the agitation on behalf of their co-religionists in Kashmir. As already stated, on October 30, Mazhar Ali Azhar with one hundred followers entered the Jammu territory. This dramatic act at once brought the Ahrar into prominence.

 

Though they had cut themselves off from the Congress, the Ahrar continued to flirt with that body right up to the Partition. One of the resolutions passed by the Working Committee of the Majlis-i-Ahrar which met at Delhi on 3rd March, 1940, disapproved of the Pakistan plan, and in some subsequent speeches of the Ahrar leaders Pakistan was dubbed as 'Palidistan'. In a press statement issued on 29th November 1940 Maulana Daud Ghaznavi announced the decision of the Ahrar to merge themselves into the Congress. In the resolution passed by the Punjab Provincial Ahrar Conference held at Gujranwala from 17th to 19th March 1943, and in a subsequent resolution passed at Saharanpur in the same year they declared themselves against the proposed Partition which they described as vivisection of the country. In every important speech one leader of theirs or another criticised the Muslim League and its leadership, including the Quaidi-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 author-ship of the couplet—‘Ik kafira ke waste Islam ko chhora yeh Quad-i-Azam, hai keh hai kafir-i-azam’ is attributed to Maulana Mazhar Ali Azhar, a leading personality in the Ahrar organisation, who had the audacity to assert before us that he still held that view.

 

References were made in the speeches of the Ahrar not only to Quaid-i-Azam’s marriage with a Parsi lady but also to his not having gone on pilgrimage to Mecca. In 1945, they attempted to revive the Sunni-Shia controversy and Mazhar Ali Azhar and his son Mustafa Qaisar left Lahore for Lucknow on 16th November to re-open the Madah-i-Sahaba agitation. In the elections of 1946, three Ahrar candidates stood against the Muslim League candidates but they were all defeated. From the subsequent direct action which the Muslim League started in the Punjab they kept themselves completely aloof. One of the main activities of the Ahrar was their opposition, in one form or another, of the Ahmadis. It may indeed be said that the Ahrar took their birth in the hatred of the Ahmadis. Only two years after they founded the Majlis-i-Ahrar, they passed a resolution that no Qadiani should be elected to any public body. Qadian, as already stated, was, before the Partition, almost exclusively an Ahmadi town. In 1934, the Ahrar decided to hold a conference in Qadian itself but on the meeting having been banned, they held the conference on 2lst October of that year in the playground of the Dayanand Anglo-Vedic High School in Rajada, a village only a mile away from Qadian, where they attracted an audience of many thousands. In that conference the popular Ahrar speaker Sayyad Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari delivered a 5-hour diatribe against the Ahmadis in the course of which he said “things which could have no other effect but to rouse hatred of the Ahmadis in the minds of the hearers”, the professions of peace in his speech alternating with abuse and wit of a very low order. Bukhari was prosecuted for this speech and convicted at the conclusion of a sensational trial which created more interest and anti-Ahmadiya feelings than the speech itself. Since then every Ahrar speaker of note has been saying one thing or another against the Ahmadis, their leaders and their beliefs.

 

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 some-time they found themselves in a state of frustration, completely bewildered as to their future. Two of their leaders, Maulvi Abdul Ghani Dar and Maulana Habib-ur-Rahman, decided to stay on in India; Sheikh Husamud-Din, another equally important leader, wavered for some time and eventually decided to come over to Pakistan to take charge of a hotel, known as the Vira Hotel, in Lahore, which a Congressman Parbodh Chander by name had handed over to him. Master Taj-ud-Din Ansari of Ludhiana and Maulvi Muhammad Ali of Jullundur also came over to Pakistan, and while the former settled at Sialkot, the latter went to Multan. Even Sayyed Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari who belongs to Gujrat, shifted to a village in the Muzaffargarh district. Maulana Mazhar Ali Azhar renounced politics. Sahibzada Faiz-ul-Hasan took to a secluded life in his village Alo Mohar in the Sialkot district.

 

In November 1947, the Ahrar held a meeting of the Working Committee at Khangarh, where Sayyad Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari had settled, to consider what their future programme should be, but could come to no decision. The same was the result of a subsequent meeting held in December 1947, in Lahore where three possible courses, namely, of dissolving the party of giving up politics and confining themselves to religious activities, and of keeping the party alive, were discussed but the only decision taken was that an All-Pakistan Majlis-i-Ahrar should be founded. In the first conference after this, held in May 1948 at Lyallpur, faint references were made to Ahmadis and loyalty to Pakistan was affirmed. More distinct sentiments in favour of Pakistan were expressed in the next meeting in Lahore in June 1948, accompanied by a hint that the Ahrar were not joining the Muslim League because of the un-Islamic beliefs of men like Chaudhri Zafrullah Khan and Mian Iftikhar-ud-Din. Their moat important gathering since the Partition was on the occasion of the Ahrar Defence Conference which was held from 12th to 14th January 1949 at Lahore and at which they announced their decision to cease functioning as a political party and to continue their future activity as a religious group.

 

In political matters, they announced, they would follow the Muslim League. After this they began holding their conferences under the label of Tabligh Conferences, and a series of such conferences was held at Okara, Lyallpur, Maghiana, Chiniot, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Pind Dadan Khan, Jhelum, Shujabad, Burewala and Multan. The demand for the declaration of Ahmadis as a non-Muslim minority was first made at a conference in Rawalpindi and reiterated at a public meeting held at Pind Dadan Khan on 1st May 1949. After this, criticism of the founder of the Ahmadiya community and Chaudhri Zafrullah Khan became a regular feature of all Ahrar addresses and they began to feel that it was not necessary for them to seek the help of the Muslim League and that they could in future function as a separate party. The Muslim League also adopted a friendly attitude towards them because the Working Committee of the Pakistan Muslim League in its meeting held in Karachi on 27th December 1949 excluded, the Ahrar from the list of nineteen parties which were tabooed for Muslim Leaguers.

 

ARREST OF TWO AHRAR LEADERS

 

The Ahrar should have had little difficulty in realising 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. From exploiting an existing agitation there is only one step down to creating an agitation, and as will be presently shown, they adopted that tactics to justify their existence and to keep themselves alive as a party.

 

Before a year had passed after the establishment of Pakistan, Makhdum Shah Banauri, Secretary, Majlis-i-Ahrar-i-Pakistan, was arrested on, 15th July 1948, under section 3 of the Punjab Public Safety Act. The precise reasons for his arrest have not been brought out in the evidence, though it is stated that the ground for his arrest was the suspicion of his being engaged in some prejudicial activity. His arrest was followed by that of Sheikh Husam-ud-Din, another Ahrar leader, on 28th September 1948, under the same provision. They were both released after they had made long statements.

 

MURDER OF MAJOR MAHMUD

 

Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad was sojourning in Quetta, in the hot weather of 1948. While he was there, a young military officer, Major Mahmud, who was an Ahmadi, was murdered in a singularly brutal manner. The Muslim Railway Employees Association had organised a public meeting which was held on the evening of 11th August 1948. Some maulvis addressed the gathering and, the subject selected by each one of them for his speech was khatm-i-nubuwwat. In the course of these speeches, references were made to the Qadianis’ kufr and the consequences thereof. While the meeting was still in progress, Major Mahmud, on his return from a visit to a patient, passed by the place where the meeting was being held. His car accidentally stopped near the place of the meeting and an effort to re-start it failed. Just then a mob came towards the car and pulled Major Mahmud out of it. He attempted to flee but was chased and literally stoned and stabbed to death, his entire gut having come out. The report of his post-mortem examination shows that he had as many as twenty-six injuries caused by blunt and sharp-edged weapons and that the death was due to shock and internal haemorrhage resulting from incised, wounds involving the left lung, left kidney and the right lobe of the liver. Nobody was willing to take credit for this act of Islamic heroism and out of a large number of persons who were eyewitnesses, none was able or willing to identify the ghazis who were authors of this brave deed. The culprits, therefore, remained unidentified and the case was filed untraced. The police record shows that the infuriated mob was frantically looking for men with short beards—Ahmadis it may be mentioned wear short beards—to kill them,

 

On coming to know of this gruesome murder the Intelligence Bureau of the Government of Pakistan by its letter No. 10/B/48-(6)-P., dated the 26th October 1948, to Mr. Zulqarnain Khan, Superintendent of Police (A), C. I. D., Punjab, Lahore, drew the attention of the Provincial authorities to the secret activities of Majlis-i-Ahrar which the Bureau considered to be prejudicial to the interests of Pakistan and, after stating that the pledges of loyalty to the State which had been given by top-ranking leaders of Majlis-i-Ahrar in their speeches and writings were mere eye wash, asked for the Provincial Government's considered opinion, for the information of the Central Government, whether the activities of the Ahrar necessitated some strong action against them at that moment. In reply Malik Habib Ullah by his letter No. 22451-BDSB, dated the 20th November 1948, explained in great detail the attitude of the Punjab C. I. D. towards the Ahrar. The reply reproduced the substance of the speech made by Abdur Rahman Mianvi at Chawinda in the district of Sialkot on 7th May 1948, in which he had accused the late Quaid-i-Azam for the Muslim genocide in East Punjab, and to the speech of Sahibzada Faiz-ul-Hasan at village Bhullar in the district of Sheikhupura, in which he had made some vulgar references to Begum Liaquat Ali Khan and other educated women who did not observe pardah; stated that the Ahrar had become more sober by the arrests of Makhdum Shah Banauri and Sheikh Husam-ud-Din, that Sayyad Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari and Master Taj-ud-Din were willing to extend their co-operation to the Government by reiterating their loyalty to Pakistan, that a very keen watch was being kept on the Ahrar and that when-ever their activities showed any signs of becoming prejudicial to the interests of the State, prompt action would be taken to disband them; and expressed the Punjab Government’s view that at that stage it was not advisable to take the drastic action of banning the Ahrar organisation.

 

SPEECHES BY AHRAR LEADERS

 

The record of the speech, of Sahibzada Faiz-ul-Hasan referred to in Malik Habib Ullah’s letter shows that in his speech delivered on 27th August 1848, on the occasion of the Urs of Sayyed Imam Ali in village Bhullar, he described Begum Liaquat Alt Khan and other women who did not observe pardah as prostitutes and alleged that the abduction of one hundred thousand Muslim women by Hindus and Sikhs in East Punjab, was due to the Quaid-i-Azam’s desire to become the Governor-General of Pakistan. On 8th August 1950, Assistant Director, Intelligence Bureau, Government of Pakistan, by his letter No. 9/B/50-(25) sent to the Superintendent of Police (B), C.1.D., Punjab, a copy of a congregational address by Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad in which he bad warned his followers of the grave danger with which they were confronted.

 

In that address the leader of the Ahmadiya community had alleged that the situation was not being properly reported to the Government, that open propaganda for the extermination of the community was going on unchecked, that the Government was doing nothing to stop such propaganda, that their lives and properties were in grave peril and that they must be ready to defend themselves if it became necessary to do so. In reply to this letter Malik Habib Ullah, by his secret letter No. 9931-BDSB, dated the 3lst August 1950, informed the Bureau that the reference in Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad’s address was presumably to the speeches of the Ahrar who since the merger of the Majlis-i-Ahrar with the Muslim League had been carrying on a sustained campaign of vilification against the Ahmadis, that on several occasions these activities of the Ahrar had been reported for action to the Government, that the Adviser for Law and Order had declined to take any immediate action lest the Ahrar should earn cheap martyrdom, that a warning had been given to the Ahrar leader Master Taj-ud-Din Ansari, that the warning had produced no effect on the activities of that leader and that the results of a fresh warning by the Governor were being awaited.

 

The demand for declaring the Ahmadis as a non-Muslim minority was first publicly made at an Ahrar meeting held at Pind Dadan Khan on 1st May 1949. Thereafter Ahmadis were the sole subject of speeches made at public meetings organised by the Ahrar, and not only the leaders of the Ahmadiya community but Chaudhri Zafrullah Khan, the Foreign Minister, became the chief object of their abuse. In the Tabligh Conference held by the Ahrar on 26th and 27th November 1949 at Sialkot, speeches were made to an audience of 11,000 persons by Master Taj-ud-Din, Maulvi Muhammad Hayat, Maulvi Muhammad Alt Jullundri, Sheikh Husam-ud-Din, Qazi Ehsan Ahmad Shujabadi and Sayyad Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari, each of them abusing the Ahmadis, their founder and leaders and Chaudhri Zafrullah Khan. A specimen of the kind of speeches that were made in that meeting will be found in the record of the speech of Maulvi Muhammad Hayat who said:—“We don’t blame Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, false as he was, because he committed fornication only occasionally. Our objection is to the present khalifa who commits fornication every day.” The prosecuting police officer who examined this speech for action thought that such observations were merely a stock-in-trade of political demagogues which caused no offence to anybody.

 

In the subsequent public meeting arranged by the Ahrar in the name of Ahl-i-Sunnat-wal-Jama’at at Naushehra Virkan on 7th December 1949, Maulvi Ghulam Ullah Khan described Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as a Dajjal who had been created by the British to disrupt Islamic solidarity and alleged that the Qadianis, particularly Chaudhri Zafrullah Khan, were causing great damage to Pakistan and the Muslim community and that they were arranging to barter away Kashmir for Qadian. This speech was reported to be actionable under section 153-A of the Penal Code and section 21 of the Punjab Public Safety Act, and Mr. Anwar Ali, D.I.G., C.I.D., while forwarding the case to the Home Secretary, inquired from him whether it was Government’s intention that action should be taken against those who were abusing Chaudhri Zafrullah Khan and engendering hatred against a particular section of the people. In his comments Mr. Anwar Ali also alluded to an arrangement which the Ahrar leaders said had been made by them with the Prime Minister to knock Chaudhri Zafrullah Khan, who had become a political menace, out of the Cabinet. The case came up to the Adviser for Law, who referring to his opinion in another case, ordered that no action was to be taken against the Ahrar leaders for the present and that Government would wait and see.

 

The next important Tabligh Conference was held by the Majlis-i-Ahrar at Lyallpur on 17th and l8th December 1949, in which, before an audience of about 5,000, Maulvi Ghulam Ghaus Sarhaddi, Qazi Ehsan Ahmad Shujabadi, Maulvi Muhammad Ali Jullundri, Sheikh Husam-ud-Din and Master Taj-ud-Din Ansari made speeches which, according to Mr. Anwar Ali’s note dated 30th December 1949, were actionable under section 153-A of the Penal Code and Section 21 of the Punjab Public Safety Act. The Adviser for Law made the following comment on this case on 2nd January 1950:— “They have made the Ahmadis the target of their attack in order to gain a hearing from the public. They are trying to exploit the religious feelings of an average Musalman against the Ahmadis ; but I do not think it would be advisable to take any action against the Ahrar for the present as the Muslims are very touchy on the point of Ahmadism and to prosecute the Ahrar for their vituperations against the Ahmadis, would, give them an air of martyrdom in the eyes of public which they do not deserve. I would not, therefore, advise any action against the Ahrar leaders for the present”. When the case came before Sirdar Abdur Rab Nishtar, the Governor, on 5th January 1950, he noted that he had already warned the Ahrar leader Maulvi Ghulam Ghaus Sarhaddi who had come to see him a few days before that while Government did not prevent anyone from propagating his religious views, it would not tolerate speeches which might lead to a disturbance of the peace.

 

The Tabligh Conferences that were being held by the Ahrar and in which the Ahmadis were being abused provided an excuse to the latter to hold their own meetings. One such meeting was held at Sialkot on 15th January 1950 in reply to a Tabligh Conference which had been held by the Ahrar on 26th November 1949. The Ahrar, however, attempted to break up that meeting by throwing brickbats and the police had to resort to a mild lathi-charge. The Superintendent of Police, the District Magistrate and the Additional District Magistrate arrived on the scene and after the police drove away the rioters, the meeting was resumed but immediately a large crowd collected at a little distance, installed a loudspeaker and demanded the release of four rioters who had been arrested and the surrender of an Ahmadi who had stabbed a non-Ahmadi.

 

The Tabligh Conference at Multan was held on 28tb and 29th January 1950, which was addressed by several speakers including Sayyad Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari, Qazi Ehsan Ahmad Shujabadi, Ghulam Nabi Janbaz and Maulvi Muhammad All Jullundri. The meeting attracted a large crowd and in the speeches made on that occasion, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was compared to Master Tara Singh, and disparaging references were made to Chaudhri Zafrullah Khan who was described as a traitor to the Muslim community. There were also obscene references to the founder of the Ahmadiya community and its present leader. General Nazir Ahmad also came under comment. Sayyad Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari alleged that the Deputy Commissioner of Multan had dispossessed Muslims of mosques which he had given over to the Mirzais. When the report of this incident came up before the Adviser for Law on 11th February 1950, he repeated his previous argument that any action taken against the Ahrar for their vilification of the Foreign Minister and the Ahmadis, would make them martyrs and earn for them considerable public sympathy and that they did not deserve such “honourable place” in the public estimation. When Sirdar Abdur Rab Nishtar saw the case on 13th February 1950, he noted that he would like the President of Majlis-i-Ahrar to be sent for and warned against the consequences of the campaign of vilification that was being carried on against the civil and military dignitaries of the State. He remarked that nobody could be permitted to undermine the State in the name of religion and added that he had spoken about this aspect of the matter to Qazi Ehsan Ahmad Shujabadi and Maulvi Ghulam Ghaus Sarhaddi but that it appeared that the hint given to them had not proved effective. He directed that the Ahrar should now be spoken to a little more frankly, and observed that if the Adviser for Law felt some difficulty in talking to them, he would do so himself. Accordingly Master Taj-ud-Din, the President of Majlis-i-Ahrar, was sent for by the Adviser for Law on 20th February 1950 and warned against the consequences of vilification of high State Officers like Chaudhri Zafrullah Khan and General Nazir Ahmad. He was told that if the warning went unheeded, Government would be constrained to take severe action against the Ahrar and that the result of this warning would be watched.

 

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