According to the view propounded by the leading ulama before us the punishment for apostasy (irtidad) in Islam is death. If, therefore, Ahmadis are kafirs, a person who becomes an Ahmadi renders himself liable to the capital punishment. This doctrine seems to be in force in Afghanistan as part of the law of the land and several persons there have paid the supreme penalty for their un-Islamic beliefs. The first Ahmadi to experience the rigour of this law was one Abdur Rahman Khan who was executed in the time of Amir Abdur Rahman Khan. The second was Abdul Latif who was stoned to death in 1903 during the reign of Amir Habibullah Khan. Abdul Latif was an Afghan national who, after living for sometime with Mirza Ghulam Ahmad at Qadian, had himself become an Ahmadi. When he returned to Afghanistan in 1903, he was declared by the Ulama to be a murtadd for having become an Ahmadi and was ordered to be put to death. He was fixed alive in the ground up to the waist and was then stoned to death. The same fate befell one Ne’matullah Khan who, on the ground of his having become an Ahmadi, was declared by the ulama of Afghanistan to be a murtadd and on 31st August 1924 was publicly stoned to death at Sherkot.
The execution of Ne’matullah Khan gave rise in India to some controversy about the punishment of apostasy in Islam. Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani, a scholar of Deoband, wrote on the subject a pamphlet called ‘Ash-shahab’. The first part of this document was devoted to establishing that Ahmadis were apostates (murtadds) and the second to proving that the appropriate penalty in Islam for apostasy (irtidad) is death. This pamphlet had remained in oblivion for about thirty years bat some-time before March 1950, Qazi Ehsan Ahmad Shujabadi obtained the permission of its author who had now become Sheikh-ul-Islam-i-Pakistan, to reprint and publish it. The permission was granted and the pamphlet began constantly to be quoted and cited as a fatwa in the speeches of the Ahrar. In a public meeting held in Company Bagh, Rawalpindi, from 14th to 16th April 1950, almost every speaker appealed to the audience to purchase copies of the ‘Ash-shahab’. This was reported to Mr. Anwar Ali, D.I.G., C.I.D., who, by his note, dated the 20th March 1950, drew the attention of the Chief Secretary to the ossibility of a person’s getting incited by the fatwa and killing some Ahmadi. Mr. Anwar Ali, however, expressed the opinion that for obvious reasons it was not advisable to take any action against the publication and contented himself merely by suggesting that Master Taj-ud-Din Ansari and other Ahrar leaders who were becoming unbridled should be sent for and formally administered a warning. The Chief Secretary, Mr. Fida Hasan agreed with the D.I.G., C.I.D., that tae banning of the pamphlet would bring the Ahrar into the limelight and that a strong warning would be sufficient. The Adviser for Law accepted this view, and when the file came up to the Governor, Sirdar Abdur Rab Nishtar, on 30th June, he wrote: — “Previous warnings have not proved effective. A stern warning should be given to the fellows and they should be told that provocative speeches against a group or an individual, particularly when the individuals concerned are distinguished public servants and are performing important State duties, cannot be tolerated. If the Ahrar do not desist from it, the Government shall be forced to take action against them”.
Accordingly a stern warning was given to Master Taj-ud-Din Ansari by the Governor himself. The pamphlet, however, continued to be quoted in speeches at public meetings until the Minister for the Interior saw it. He must have been shocked to realise the implications of the doctrine propounded in this document because he suggested its immediate proscription by the Punjab Government.
In the meantime a report was received of speeches made at an Ahrar conference held at Hafizabad in which Muhammad Ali Jullundri had called Chaudhri Zafrullah Khan a mad dog. Malik Habib Ullah who submitted this report with his comments to the D.I.G., C.I.D., on 19th June 1950, said that unless the tone of the speeches of the Ahrar were controlled Government would have to face quite a few cases of murder or rioting before very long. Mr. Anwar Ali, D.I.G., C.I.D., submitted the case to the Adviser for Law who in turn marked it to the Governor, Sirdar Abdur Rab Nishtar, who said that he would like to talk to D.I.G., C.I.D., about the matter. It was at this stage that Mr. Anwar Ali, D.I.G., C.I.D., took stock of the whole situation and wrote the following note: — “Lately the Majlis-i-Ahrar has apart from making obscene and indecent references to the founder of the Ahmadiya faith and the present khalifa begun to advocate violence advertently as well as inadvertently. It will be recalled that last year a young Ahmadi officer of the rank of a Captain was brutally attacked and killed at Quetta because he took exception to the conduct of certain anti-Ahmadiya demonstrators. The Majlis-i-Ahrar was opposed to the Partition of the Indian sub-continent. Ahrar leaders enjoyed the confidence of the Congress and used to hob nob with Congress workers. After the Partition they went low. For a time they were afraid of public fury and used to give occasional statements to establish that they were loyal to Pakistan. They were purely on their defensive and did relief work in refugee camps and elsewhere. The members were scattered and for a while the party broke up. Sayyad Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari shifted from Lahore and took refuge in a village in the Muzaffargarh district. Sheikh Husam-ud-Din announced that his political career had come to an end and opened a joint stock company for the purpose of doing inter-Dominion trade. For a while, Sheikh Husam-ud-in was kept under detention under section 3 of the P.P.S.A. because his loyalty to Pakistan was questioned. One of his colleagues, Makhdum Shah Banauri, was also interned for sometime.
2. When the Muslim League in this Province became torn with dissensions and its influence suffered a severe set back, the Ahrar thought that it was high time for them to enter the political field. Accordingly, they started a series of Tablighi Conferences. The burden of Ahrar speakers used to be that they were loyal to Pakistan, that they acknowledged the Muslim League as the only political party in the country, that the Kashmir Jehad was fully justified and that public effort should be mobilised for improving the defence of the country. Later they also began to speak against the Ahmadis. The Majlis has some very effective speakers and soon S. Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari emerged from his retirement and with his eloquent tongue aroused public interest once again in his party. As time went on, the tone of the speeches continued to deteriorate. Other items on the programme were forgotten and the Ahrar began to concentrate on the Ahmadis vilifying them in a most shameful manner. As confidence was gained, Sir Zafrullah Khan, began to be attacked and described as a traitor.
The Ahrar are no longer on the defensive but have positively become aggressive. Conditions have now gone too far and bounds of decency and political morality have been surpassed. The following things which are significant have taken place: —
(1) The writings of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad are quoted ad nauseam and twisted and obscene and indecent inferences drawn.
(2) Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and the present khalifa are described as adulterers and given to unnatural indulgences.
(3) The Ahmadis are described as traitors who have no loyalty towards Pakistan.
(4) Sir Zafrullah is vilified and abused. He is often described as an ‘ass’ and as a ‘knave’ and it is imputed to him that he will barter Kashmir to safeguard Ahmadi interests at Qadian.
(5) Alarm is created in the public mind by giving out that Pakistan is governed by Ahmadis who are traitors. In pursuance of this plan lists of army and civil officers who are Ahmadis, are often published.
(6) S. Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari has often said that if Mirza Ghulam Ahmad had claimed prophethood in his lifetime, he would have killed him with his own hands.
(7) At a recent Ahrar meeting passions were raised so much that a man in the audience got up and volunteered to kill Mirza Bashir-ud-Din.
(8) At a meeting at Multan which was addressed by S. Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari, a man got up and asked if he should go and kill Sir Zafrullah Khan.
(9) A booklet entitled ‘Ash shahab’ written by Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani in which, it is made out that the Ahmadis are ‘murtadds’ and, therefore, deserve to be killed by every Muslim, has been reprinted and is being circulated (This book was written by the late Maulana when a controversy of had arisen about the lynching of two Ahmadis in Afghanistan.)
3. Against this, the Ahrar have not made any constructive contribution for the manifold problems, economic, social, political, etc., which confront Pakistan. They have practically no political programme except perhaps the desire to win supporters for the forthcoming elections.
4. Public memories are tragically short. In spite of the fact that about two years ago the Ahrar leaders were looked upon with distrust and suspicion, they are able to attract large audiences whenever they address public meetings. There are few who question their bona fides or even care to ask why all this fuss is made about the Ahmadis. The Ahrar have partially achieved their objective; they have rehabilitated themselves and will before long emerge as a political party not necessarily on the side of the Muslim League. They have their counterpart in India as well. If they are sincere, they should have dissolved their organisation and should have become Muslim Leaguers.
5. The Ahrar leaders probably do not realise that they are playing with fire. A certain amount of buffoonery can be overlooked, but where feelings are inflamed to such an extent that murders, riots, the heaping of insults, etc., are threatened, a halt must be called. It may not be advisable to proceed, against the Ahrar leaders under the Penal Code (in order to avoid raising a further controversy), but their activities being prejudicial to the, maintenance of public safety and public order, the following suggestions might be considered:—
(a) Action should be taken where active violence is preached either under section 3 of the P.P.S.A. or for the abetment of the offence concerned.
(b) Abuse and oblique insinuations against Sir Zafrullah Khan emanating from Ahrar leaders should on no account be tolerated. Any one who defames a Cabinet Minister in public, should be proceeded against under section 21 of the P.P.S.A.
(c) Indecent and obscene speeches which corrupt public morals and outrage public decency, should not be tolerated. Often Ahrar speakers have said that Mahatma Gandhi and their khalifa slept together. Such abominable and nauseating humour should not be tolerated particularly in an Islamic State.
(d) Lastly the question of declaring the Majlis-i-Ahrar as an unlawful association under section 16 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1908, should be seriously considered. 6. H. A. L. will recall that the Hon’ble Minister for the Interior expressed it as his opinion that the book entitled ‘Ash-shahab’ which advocates violence against the Ahmadis should be immediately proscribed. It will also be recalled that he mentioned quite rightly that unless action is taken at this stage against the Ahrar party and its workers, its popularity may have increased manifold and later action might give them the role of martyrs apart from creating practical difficulties. I might also mention that intelligent and sane people do not want deprave utterances on the part of Ahrar leaders to be countenanced.
7. I will be failing in my duty if I do not point out to Government that the atmosphere aroused by Ahrar leaders is pregnant with dangerous possibilities and may lead to individual cases of violence against Ahmadis". This note was marked by the D.I.G., C.I.D., to the Chief Secretary who agreed that the ‘Ash-shahab’ should be proscribed and action taken under section 3 of the Punjab Public Safety Act where active violence was preached, or where any other offence was committed, for its abetment. As regards the proposal for launching a prosecution where Chaudhri Zafrullah Khan was defamed, he suggested that this should be done only if that Minister himself agreed to such course. As regards the proposal to declare the Ahrar an unlawful association, he remarked that the matter could wait for sometime more. The file was marked to the Adviser for Law who on 11th June 1950 wrote a long note agreeing with the proscription of the ‘Ash-shahab’ and stating that the strong warning given by him to Master Taj-ud-Din, the President of the Majlis-i-Ahrar, had had no effect and suggesting that the Ahrar leaders should be sent for and another stern warning given to them. He, however, remarked that the Ahrar were not advocating violence in their speeches but merely attacking the Ahmadiya faith, a course which was popular with the average Muslim, and that any action against them for their attack on Ahmadis and their faith will enhance the popularity of the Ahrar and make them martyrs. He, therefore, advocated caution and discretion in dealing with them for their activities. This note was placed before the Governor, Sirdar Abdur Rab Niahtar, who approved of it. The Governor remarked that earlier he had spoken to Maulvi Ghulam Ghaus Sarhaddi of Hazara and later to Qazi Ehsan Ahmad Shujabadi, warning them that if they overstepped the limits and continued making speeches containing incitement to violence, the Government would have to take action against them. He said that these warnings and that given by the Adviser for Law to Master Taj-ud-Din Ansari had had no effect and suggested to the Chief Secretary to speak to Master Taj-ud-Din Ansari about it. Later the Governor decided himself to talk to Master Taj-ud-Din Ansari. Accordingly Master Tajud-Din was sent for and after warning him the Governor recorded the following note:—
“Master Taj-ud-Din, President of the Majlis-i-Ahrar could be contacted only last night and he came to see me this morning at 8 a.m. I told him that while the Government does not want to interfere with the religious activities of any person or organisation, it cannot tolerate activities which are likely to result in the breach of peace. I informed him, that some months ago Maulvi Ghulam Ghaus, a Frontier Ahrar leader, came to see me and I spoke to him about this aspect of the activities of the Ahrar. Later on Qazi Ehsan Ahmad saw me and I explained the position to him also, but it was unfortunate that in spite of this the tone of the speeches of the Ahrar leaders was, (generally speaking, provocative. The warnings that ware given to Ahrar by H. A. L. through Master Taj-ud-Din under my instructions have also proved ineffective. The speeches of the Ahrar are not confined to legitimate criticism of the religious beliefs of ‘Ahmadis’.
Some of their speakers indulge in utterances which may lead to trouble. This state of affairs cannot be tolerated by the Government and if the Ahrar did not desist from this attitude, Government will be forced to take suitable action against them in the interests of law and order of the Province. I further told him that it is believed and not without justification, that the conferences held by Ahrar under the garb of khatm-i-nubuwwat are really meant to farther their political end. The object is to gain popularity among the Muslim masses who are naturally averse to Ahrar on account of their pre-Partition activities. I also told him that the people are not so devoid of sense as not to see through the game which some of the Ahrar leaders are playing. Day in and day out they hurl abuses upon the Foreign Minister of Pakistan and a large number of high military and civil officers of Pakistan Government who are ‘Ahmadis’. Though the propaganda is given a religious colour, the real object is believed to be to create disaffection in the minds of the people against the Pakistan Government for entrusting responsible posts to such persons. A short while ago a long list of military officers who were described as ‘Qadianis’ was published by the paper which supports Ahrar. This can legitimately be interpreted to mean an attempt on the part of Ahrar to damp the zeal of the Musalmans for Pakistan Army. This is particularly significant when one finds Ahrar referring to the policy of the Government of Afghanistan towards ‘Ahmadis’. It is said in speeches that the Afghanistan Government condemn people of this faith to death and in the same text the attention of the people is invited towards the attitude of the Pakistan Government with regard to them. This comparison, may be interpreted to have been intended to create hatred against the Pakistan Government. I told him that so far the Muslim League Government have not come to the field to expose the activities of Ahrar but if the Ahrar go on like this, they shall have to come forward and remind the people of the past activities of this organisation, which would, in my opinion, condemn them forever. I remarked that it was really strange for the Ahrar to rouse the feelings of the Muslims of Pakistan against ‘Ahmadis’ on the ground that a portion of the Gurdaspur district which at present forms part of India would have come to Pakistan if ‘Ahmadis’ had not adopted a certain attitude alleged by the Ahrar, while all their lives they, the Ahrar leaders, have been trying to hand over the whole of Pakistan to Hindus by opposing the Partition of India and supporting the Congress.
2. Master Taj-ud-Din replied that it was painful for him to find that I took such a view of their activities. He said that he had been trying to impress upon the Ahrar speakers to avoid saying anything which may create any embarrassment for the Government or which may result in the breach of peace. He promised to convey my observations to the leaders of his party and assured me that he would do his best that in future’ the Government is not given any cause for complaint”.
The effect of the wide publication of the ‘Ash-shahab’ and the campaign, of hatred which the Ahrar were strenuously carrying on against the Ahmadis, brought definite and natural results. Muhammad Ashraf, a youth of 19, murdered an Ahmadi schoolmaster named Ghulam Muhammad at Okara. The following is the story of this murder:—
On 1st October 1950 Maulvi Nur Din, who was an Ahmadi, together with seven other Ahmadis, went on a propaganda (tabligh) expedition to Chak No. 5. The propagandists were surrounded by the non-Ahmadis of the locality who started throwing mud on them, blackened their faces and had them driven through filthy water to Railway Station Okara. The incident was reported to the police and one Maulvi Fazal Ilahi was arrested under sections 147 and 342 of the Penal Code. As a protest against this arrest, shops closed down in Okara and a public meeting was held on the night of 3rd October which was attended by several thousand people. The audience was addressed by several speakers who made highly inflammatory speeches. One speaker appealed to the young men present in the meeting to get rid of the Mirzai nuisance. On the following day Muhammad Ashraf who was listening to the speeches, armed himself with a knife, pursued Ghulam Muhammad while he was on his way to Okara, overtook him near a canal and stabbed him. Ghulam Muhammad was seriously injured and expired before he was taken to the police station. Muhammad Ashraf was produced before a Magistrate and made the following confession: —
“In September, again said, on the third day of October, a meeting was held at Okara, in which Rizwani Bashir Ahmad, Maulvi Zia-ud-Din, Qazi Abdur Rahman, Ch. Mahbub Alam and the President of the meeting who was probably Qazi Sahib delivered enthusiastic speeches that the Mirzais call Prophet (peace be on him) by bad name. We shall die on his grandeur. It was said in the speeches that those who would differentiate them (Ahmadis) and try to remove them should raise their hands. In the meeting the name of Ilam Din Ghazi was also mentioned and his history was told. I had also read before the history of Ilam Din Ghazi, and once I had been to his shrine. After that the meeting was over. I returned home. The words of the speeches resounded in my mind all night. Getting up in the morning I went to Chak No. 48 on a cycle where the master had gone to his house in recess. I stayed in the Chak till he came to school. At a shop in the village ckowk I smoked a cigarette. When I came out, master was not in the school. I was convinced that the master was a Marzai and I had come with this intention.
In the Chak I inquired from a Sayyad as to whether any kafir was teaching our children in the days of Holy Prophet. What right he has that he is staying in our Chak and has got the land allotted and teaches the children. After that I inquired from a boy as to where master had gone. He informed that he had gone to Chak No. 40/3-R. I inquired whether on cycle or foot. He replied, on cycle. I had a knife at that time. I overtook him at a distance of two miles. There I got down from my cycle and felled him by pushing his cycle. I inflicted a knife blow to master and he went running in the water of canal minor. The knife gave way and I set it right and gave him blows in the water. At the time of my beating some persons collected. They stopped me. I told them that they should not check me as I was killing a kafir. Another stranger met me and questioned me, I replied that I had killed a kafir, I went to Okara.”
The Sessions Judge sentenced Muhammad Ashraf to transportation for life and when the case came up on appeal to the High Court, a petition for enhancement of the sentence was also put in by the widow of the deceased. Dealing with the question of sentence, the bench of which one of us was a member made certain observations which are relevant to the present occasion and need reproduction in extenso. The bench said: —
“The question of sentence in this case presents real difficulty and for several days we have anxiously, pondered over it to take a decision. whether the young man, who is proved in this case to have been guilty of the premeditated murder of a completely innocent man, should live or die. The learned Sessions judge has given him a life sentence but a petition for enhancement of the sentence to that of death has been made by Mt. Daulat Bibi, the widow of the murdered man. It is urged in support of the petition that both on principle and precedent the sentence should have been that of death and that the imposition of the lesser sentence in this case has led to a miscarriage of justice. Reliance in this connection is placed on Ilam Din v. Emperor, A. I. R. 1930 Lahore 157, and Aziz Ahmad v. Emperor, A. I. R. 1938 Lahore 355. In the first of these cases, a youth of 19 or 20, prompted by feelings of veneration for the Prophet of Islam, had been guilty of the premeditated murder of a Hindu who in a vulgar and scurrilous publication had attacked the Prophet. Broadway and Johnstone JJ. Who heard the appeal, held that neither the age of the offender nor the motive for the murder was an extenuating circumstance, and confirmed the sentence of death. The second case relates to the murder of a revolting Ahmadi by an orthodox Ahmadi because the leader of the orthodox sect had been attacked in, a poster by a party to which the murdered man belonged, While considering the propriety of the death sentence. Young C. J. observed: —
‘We consider it would be dangerous in this country to give cause for belief that death would not as a rule result from murders even when they are committed for attacks on leaders of religious communities, or under their influence unless they are committed in circumstances which do amount to grave and sudden provocation.
‘We feel it our duty to say that, conditions being as they are in India, it is most dangerous for leaders of religious communities to attack publicly their opponents from the pulpit, and, in particular, to use the language that has been used by the Khalifa Sahib with regard to Misri Abdul Rahman and his followers; someone may easily be influenced thereby to commit murder. This is not the first time in India that death has followed hard on the heels of similar denunciations. Even if we accept, as contended by counsel for the appellant, that the Khalifa Sahib referred to punishment in the spiritual sense, it must be remembered that some zealous followers of any religious leader have difficulty in distinguishing spiritual from corporal punishment. In any event there are always in this country fanatics who believe that they are the instruments of God in carrying out such punishments. We must confirm the sentence of death passed upon Aziz Ahmad and dismiss his appeal.’
“On the other hand. it was quite seriously contended for the appellant, and we refer to this argument not because it deserves any serious consideration but merely to illustrate how religious controversies may engender hate and anger, that the Ahmadis are an outstanding provocation to non-Ahmadi Muslims and that any public and aggressive propaganda in favour of the doctrines of that sect may amount to grave and sudden provocation so as to reduce the offence of murder to that of culpable homicide, and, in any case, should be treated by the Court as an extenuating circumstance Justifying the withholding of the capital sentence.
“If we were to follow the principle laid down in the two cases cited above, there would be no alternative for us but to enhance the sentence to that of death. But both these are pre-Partition cases and the actual decision in each of them was influenced by administrative considerations. In the present case, we cannot shut our eyes to the fact that the murder was not committed with any sordid motive and that the offender, who is a youth of impressionable age, was made to believe that in the circumstances the murder had become an obligation by discharging which he could earn religious merit. In the speeches made in the meeting of 3rd October, the Ahmadis were denounced as a menace to Islam and death followed hard on the heels of that denunciation. Where a youth commits murder under the influence of his elders, we have always taken the view that a sentence of death need not be imposed on him, and we are unable to distinguish that class of cases from the present one where learned religious divines take the place of elders and publicly preach violence as a religious duty. There is yet another category of murders where Courts do not generally give the capital sentence, namely, where the offence is committed under the influence of some mental derangement which does not in law amount to insanity, and the case of a religious megalomaniac does not seem to us materially to differ from that category. For these reasons we do not think enhancement of the sentence is called for in this case. We must not, however, be understood as laying down any general rule, and any recurrence of this species of crime, which tends to bring religion into disrepute and to make it the laughing stock of the world, might induce us to take a different view and revert to the normal sentence for murder."
The Okara murder was followed by the murder of another Ahmadi in the same month, the interval between the two being only a few days. In Bagh Gowalmandi at Rawalpindi, Badar-ud-Din who was an Ahmadi was shot dead by one Wilayat Khan. The motive for the murder in that case remained obscure but one of the eyewitnesses, who was believed both by the Sessions Judge and the High Court, had deposed that on being arrested on the spot the accused himself had confessed that he had murdered Badar-ud-Din because he was an Ahmadi.
Indignant protests over these murders were made by the Ahmadiya community and some representations were sent to the Central Government in this connection. By its letter No. 109-S(1)/50 dated 2nd November 1950, the Ministry of the Interior sent the following resolution which had been passed by the Ahmadiya Muslim Association, Karachi, on. 20th October, 1950, to the Chief Secretary to Punjab Government for that Government's comments: —
“This general meeting of the Ahmadiya community, Karachi, strongly condemns the murder of Master Ghulam Muhammad Ahmadi in Okara and of Chaudhri Badar-ud-Din Ahmadi in Rawalpindi which have been caused by the inflammatory speeches of the Ahrar leaders against the Ahmadiya community. The meeting expresses deep concern at the failure of the Provincial and the Central Governments to take notice of the mischievous activities of the Ahrar against a section of Pakistan citizens and invites the attention of the two Governments to the dangerous situation which has been created by such activities and urges upon the Governments to take suitable action in the matter.” The Central Government also inquired from the Punjab Government whether there was, in their opinion, any danger of a general dead set being made against the Ahmadis in this Province. To this the Punjab Government's reply was that there was no danger of any violent upheaval against the Ahmadis, that the two murders were being inquired into in Court, and that if the Ahrar, as reported, agreed to co-operate with the Muslim League, the sectarian propaganda in which they were engaged would end automatically.
In March 1951 a plot, to which high-ranking military officers were parties, was discovered, the object of which was to overthrow the Pakistan Government. One of the accused persons in that case which came to be called ‘The Rawalpindi Conspiracy Case’, was Major-General Nazir Ahmad, who was an Ahmadi. In a speech delivered by Maulvi Muhammad Ali Jullundri at the annual meeting of Jami’ Rashidia, Montgomery, on 15th April 1951, he alleged that eighty per cent pilots in the Air Force were Ahmadis, that the treachery of the Ahmadi officers had been revealed by the discovery of the Rawalpindi conspiracy, that this conspiracy had awakened the Government to realities, that he was in possession of documentary evidence to show the complicity of Ahmadis in tins conspiracy and that Chaudhri Zafrullah Khan had purchased with State money a luxurious mansion in America just opposite to the palace of President Truman, with the object of preaching Ahmadiyat there. When the report of this speech came up before Mr. Anwar Ali, D.I.G., C.I.D., he remarked that speeches of this kind would have a thoroughly bad effect on public tranquillity and might stir up indignation and wrath against the Ahmadis. He proceeded to add that if propaganda of this sort continued, the Majlis-i-Ahrar will have to be administered a formal warning. This note was placed before the Chief Secretary and then before the Chief Minister who initialled it but when the file went back to A.D.I.G., he noted that no orders in the case had been passed but that he presumed that it was not intended that any action should be taken.
By their Lahore resolution, of January 1949, the Ahrar had decided to convert themselves into a purely religious party and to assist the Muslim League in all political matters. They had also announced that they would support the Muslim League in the forthcoming elections, provided the candidate nominated by the League was not an Ahmadi. Electioneering began in early winter 1950 and the results were announced in March 1951, the Muslim League having won by a large majority. The Muslim League had nominated some Ahmadis as its candidates, but they were all defeated. The Ahrar’s own activity during the elections was not consistent. According to the evidence of Mr. Daultana, though they helped some Muslim League candidates they also opposed others who were not Ahmadis. The Muslim League Ministry with Mr. Daultana as the Chief Minister, was installed in office in early April 1951. As no Ahmadi was elected to the Legislative Assembly, the Ahrar announced that a ‘yaum-i-tashakkur’ (thanks-giving day) would be observed to celebrate the victory which they had scored over their opponents. This ‘yaum’ was celebrated in several places on different dates from March to May 1951. At Lyallpur it was celebrated on 20th April 1951, when at a mammoth public meeting; Ghulam Nabi Janbaz threatened an Ahmadi shopkeeper Fazal Din with dire consequences. On 7th May this shopkeeper was attacked in broad daylight in his own shop. On 13th May a mob set fire to an Ahmadi mosque at Samundri and the worshippers present there were thrashed.
At Gujranwala the day was advertised on the 29th and held on the 30th March 1951. The manner in which the meeting was advertised led to a scuffle between an Ahmadi and a non-Ahmadi, resulting in injuries to the latter. In Lahore the ‘yaum-i-tashakkur’ was observed on 25th and 26th May 1951. In view of the fact that earlier Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari at Lahore and Muhammad Ali Jullundri At Jami’ Rashidia, Montgomery, had accused the Ahmadis of complicity in the Rawalpindi conspiracy and specifically mentioned in this connection the name of Major-General Nazir Ahmad, it was considered necessary to warn the Ahrar leaders that any repetition of that allegation would arouse violent antagonism against a wrong party and that the speaker making any reference to this subject would make himself liable for contempt of Court. Accordingly Mr. Qurban Ali Khan, Inspector-General of Police, sent for Master Taj-ud-Din Ansari on 23rd May 1951 and warned him of the consequences if any reference to this subject was made.
On the first day of the celebrations bands of volunteers of Ahrar from all over the Punjab and the Frontier Districts of Peshawar and Haripur Hazara, paraded in a procession through the streets of Lahore, being accompanied by five bands. At the evening meeting, which was attended by several prominent men including Muslim League M. L. As. and office-bearers, speeches were made by Ahrar leaders including Sahibzada Faiz-ul-Hasan who demanded that the Ahmadis be declared a minority or forced to leave this country and settle in India. Maulana Ahmad Ali, who presided at the meeting, moved a resolution demanding the Pakistan Government to remove Ahmadis from responsible posts, while Sayyad Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari referred to the arrest of Major-General Nazir Ahmad, which arrest, he remarked, had converted the ‘yaum-itashakkar’ into ‘yaum-i-tafakhkhur’ because the State had been saved from a grave peril.
In his usual vulgar humour he remarked that Major-General Nazir Ahmad had been stripped naked and that it was for the Ahmadis to get him another pair of trousers. He also alleged that Major-General Nazir Ahmad had been instigated to join the conspiracy by Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad. The slogans suggested by Bukhari to be shouted by the audience were:
“Namak-haraman-i-Pakistan murdabad”, “Ghaddaran-i-Pakistan murdabad”,
“Pakistan zindabad”, “Mirza Bashir-ud-Din murdabad” and
At the meeting of 26th May, Qazi Ehsan Ahmad Shujabadi again referred to the Rawalpindi Conspiracy Case while Sheikh Husam-ud-Din declared that Ahmadis who were a danger to the national unity of Muslims, should be removed from key posts. Disparaging remarks by him and Allama Ala-ud-Din Siddiqui were made about Chaudhri Zafrullah Khan, demanding his removal. On this day also a procession was taken out. When the report of the speeches at this meeting was placed before the Chief Minister in the ordinary course he made the following significant remark: —
“Ahrar are merely trying to capture a political ‘living space’ on an issue which has obvious attraction for the common run of people in Pakistan. We have to watch closely that a measure is kept.”
Nothing wrong with Munir Commission Report. But this discussion now appears to be flogging the dead horse because all that is over in the life of the Muslim community.
However the issue of the Murtid is an issue of interest. I was looking into Quran and did not find any sanction of death to a Muslim who simply converts away from Islam. Most of the citations given by Maulana Maududi on the subject matter is from Hadees. But there is no denying that in the past some incidents of awarding of capital punishment to dissidents must have happened.
The cases of Afghanistan cited are more akin to the tribal justice on various issues. But in the modern age, the issue of conversion away from Islam will have to be discussed liberally. The retention of Muslims to the fold has to be done by proper education, persuasion, moral pressure, and most importantly by making Islam effective and productive in the lives of Muslims. And yet a certain percentage of Muslims would be leaving the fold. They should be left to their fate. Yes, if a Murtid (or for that matter any non-Muslim) tries to unnecessarily provoke, insult or attack Muslims, then Muslims have all the rights to retaliate in the proportion of the attack, including causing death.