From The Lahore Convention To Arrest Of Ulama In Karachi And Punjab (14th July 1952 To 27th February 1953)
SECTION 144 ORDERS RECALLED
The Sargodha cases for contravention of orders under section 144 were prosecuted vigorously and as we have already pointed out one of them resulted in conviction. The case pending at Gujranwala and the other which was pending at Sargodha were subsequently withdrawn and the persons who had been, convicted in the Sargodha case were ordered to be released.
There are two notes by the Home Secretary, one dated 17th July 1952, on page 7 of file No. 16(2)99, Volume I, and the other, dated 18th July 1952, on page 46 of file No. 16(2)93, Volume I, which show that the decision to withdraw the Gujranwala case must have been under the orders of the Chief Minister. The former note reads: “As decided at the meeting held on the 15th July 1952, I sent the attached signal to D. M., Gujranwala, who saw me yesterday. I told him that in view of the fact that the two ringleaders of the Ahrar, namely, Master Taj-ud-Din and Sheikh Husam-ud-Din, had been convicted in the Sargodha case, Government have decided to withdraw the Gujranwala case. The case must have been withdrawn by him either yesterday on return to Gujranwala or today.”
The other note reads:
“The Gujranwala case was withdrawn yesterday. I sent for the Deputy Commissioner on the 15th immediately after our meeting with H. C. M. and communicated to him the decision of Government when he came to see me on the 16th.”
Though Mr. Daultana does not admit that the decision to withdraw the case was his, it seems to be perfectly clear from the two notes mentioned above that the decision to withdraw was taken at a meeting of officers in which he was present, and the despatch with which the decision to withdraw was communicated to the District Magistrate, coupled with the fact that a decision of such importance could not have been taken by any officer on his own responsibility, clearly shows that the decision to withdraw the case was, in fact, that of the Chief Minister himself. The file shows that on 15th July 1952 the Home Secretary suddenly sent a wireless message to the District Magistrate, Gujranwala, asking him to see the Home Secretary on the following day and that the Deputy Commissioner came and saw the Home Secretary on 16th July when he was communicated the decision of the Government to withdraw the case. The only inference from all this is that the case was withdrawn under the orders of the Chief Minister. We have mentioned that Maulana Akhtar Ali Khan and Maulvi Ghulam Ghaus Sarhaddi, the new President of Majlis-i-Ahrar, had come to Mr. Anwar Ali on 5th July 1952 and attempted to assure him that if the persons who had been arrested for defying orders under section 144 were released and the orders under section 144 withdrawn, the Ahrar as a party would make a public statement declaring that no speeches would be made by them which were liable to disturb the peace and tranquillity of the Province. The offer was subsequently repeated to the Chief Minister who directed Mir Nur Ahmad, D. P. R., to contact the Ahrar leaders to ascertain from them their wishes. Mir Nur Ahmad informed the Chief Minister that the Ahrar leaders were anxious to avoid a conflict with the Government and to carry on their agitation in a constitutional manner. Accordingly some of the Ahrar leaders met the Chief Minister on 19th July and agreed to issue a public statement giving an assurance not to resort to lawlessness or violence or to comm.it any breach of the law. On his part the Chief Minister agreed that if such a statement were issued, he would sympathetically consider the question of lifting restrictions on their meetings under section 144 and releasing their leaders who had bean convicted. In accordance with these arrangements, a statement on behalf of Amir-i-Shari’at Sayyad Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari, Maulvi Muhammad Ali Jullundri, Nazim-i-A’la, Majlis-i-Ahrar, Sahibzada Faiz-ul-Hasan, member, Working Committee, Majlis-i-Ahrar, and Maulana Muhammad Hussain Ghazi, Salar-i-A’la, Juyush-i-Ahrar-i-Islam, was published in the ‘Afaq’ of 21st July 1952. This statement was to the effect that in their struggle to have the Ahmadis declared a non-Muslim minority and to have Chaudhri Zafrullah Khan removed from the office of Foreign Minister, the Ahrar had in the past done nothing illegal, that they did not intend to do anything in future which might give grounds for an apprehension of violence, disorder or breach of law, that they considered the Punjab Government as their own Government, that the responsibility with which that Government, had been entrusted to maintain law and order was the Ahrar’s own responsibility to discharge which they would fully co-operate with the Government, and that it was not only the civic but religious obligation of the Ahrar to defend the life, property, honour and freedom of all citizens of Pakistan irrespective of their religious beliefs. On publication of this statement, the Chief Minister issued the following statement in the ‘Civil & Military Gazette’ of 22nd July 1952: “I welcome the latest declaration of policy by leaders of the Majlis-i-Ahrar, Punjab and their assurance that they would give my Government full cooperation
in the maintenance of law and order. As they have rightly emphasised it is not only the national but also a religious duty of the Muslim majority in Pakistan to guarantee full protection for the life, property, honour and civil rights of every citizen of this country irrespective of his or her creed or caste.
For sometime past there have been restrictions in various districts of the Punjab on the holding of public meetings or demonstrations by Ahrar workers. The sole object of the orders imposing these restrictions was preservation of public peace and order in the Province. In view of the declaration made by Ahrar leaders it does not seem necessary to continue the restrictions as far as members of their organisation are concerned. Instructions are, therefore, being issued to the district officers concerned to withdraw or suitably modify their orders under section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code.”
Simultaneously a telegraphic message went from the Home Secretary to all District Magistrates informing them on 21st July 1952 that in view of the assurances given, by the Majlis-i-Ahrar-i-Pakistan to the Chief Minister and his acceptance of the assurances, orders under section 144, Criminal Procedure Code, prohibiting public meetings were to be withdrawn. And on 26th July the Home Secretary sent a wireless message to the District Magistrate and the Superintendent Jail, Mianwali, informing them that Government had remitted the unexpired sentence of Master Taj-ud-Din Ansari and that he should be released forthwith. On the same day a similar message was sent to the District Magistrate and. the Superintendent Jail, Jhang, directing the release of Sheikh Husam-ud-Din.
Just as the decisions taken in the conference of 5th July were a confession of helplessness to face and solve the issue whether Muslims were entitled publicly to speak in mosques on khatm-i-nubuwwat, the decision to withdraw orders under section 144 and pending cases arising from contraventions thereof and to release persons who had been found guilty of contravening those orders, had the effect of nullifying earlier decisions that the Ahrar had to be isolated and that eases against them which had been declared to be cognizable and non-bailable were to be vigorously pursued. The decisions of 5th July had restricted the District Magistrates’ powers to make arrests in or disperse meetings inside or outside the mosques and the decision of 2lst July amounted to an official recognition of the position that, provided the Ahrar did not assault the Ahmadis or rob their property or otherwise violate their honour, they were at full liberty to do whatever they liked to popularise the demands and to speak in whatever strain they liked against Ahmadis, their leaders and their beliefs. Hereafter there was no question of suppressing the spate of hatred that had been let loose against them or of doing anything to stop the gathering storm.
There is some difference in the evidence as to the date on which the undertaking by the Ahrar, which was published in the newspapers of 21st July, was given. According to Mr. Daultana, a deputation of the Ahrar led by Maulvi Muhammad Ali Jullundri met him in his office, probably on 18th July, in the presence of some officers. But from a question put by Mr. Yaqub Ali to Mir Nur Ahmad, it appears that the deputation waited on the Chief Minister on 19th July. An understanding between the Government and the members of the deputation having been arrived at, the question was taken up of drafting an appropriate statement. According to Mir Nur Ahmad and Mr. Ibrahim Ali Chishti, the draft of the terms in which the undertaking was to be published was considered in a meeting of the Ahrar leaders and themselves and was later published in the newspapers.
Maulana Muhammad Bakhsh Muslim states that present in that conference were Maulana Abul Hasanat, Sayyad Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari, Sahibzada Faiz-ul-Hasan, Maulana Ghulam Muhammad Tarannum and Maulana Muhammad Bakhsh Muslim himself, and that the date of this conference was after the Multan firing, namely, on or after the 19th July. The conference was held at the premises of a workshop in Badami Bagh. As there is no record either of the leaders’ interview with the Chief Minister or of the subsequent conference and Mr. Daultana himself is not definite about, the date, we are inclined to accept the statement of Maulana Muhammad Bakhsh Muslim that this conference of the leaders with Mir Nur Ahmad and Maulvi Ibrahim Ali Chishti took place after the Multan firing and this is not only more likely but confirmed by a letter of the Punjab Government sent in reply to an inquiry by the Prime Minister about the incident. That being so, the announcement of the settlement with the Ahrar, coming as it did after the Kup incident, amounted to a public declaration that the Government was anxious to come to an understanding with the Ahrar at any cost.
THE KUP INCIDENT
At this stage it is necessary to give a brief account of the Kup incident itself. Contrary to the general belief that had come to be held by district officers that processions and public meetings, though banned by orders under section 144, were not to be dispersed, a Sub-Inspector of Police attached to Police Station Kup in Multan had seen the absurdity of such orders being made and constantly disobeyed. Accordingly, on 18th July this officer took it into his head to disperse a public meeting or procession in Multan by the use of force. This was taken as an affront by an impertinent officer and an insult to the honour of the Holy Prophet. Accordingly, on the following day an infuriated mob of about 5,000 gathered round the Kup Police Station and demanded the transfer of the impudent Sub-Inspector. The higher officers present attempted to pacify the crowd but without any result. The railing of the Police Station gave way to the weight of the crowd leaning against it and the mob entered the precincts of the Police Station itself. A squad of fifteen foot constables came out to lathi-charge the trespassing crowd but they were met with, a shower of brickbats and had to recede. Then somebody attempted to set fire to the building and the police opened fire, killing three and injuring thirteen of whom three died in the hospital.
Protest meetings against the Multan firing and expressing sympathy with the killed and the wounded were held in several places and eventually an inquiry into the incident was held by a Judge of the High Court who found that the firing was justified. Though the persons who were killed or wounded were members of an unlawful assembly and thus offenders under the law of the land, they were publicly described in several meetings as martyrs, and the Ahrar advertised a meeting at Multan for 29th August 1952 to celebrate their chehlum. The D. I. G., C. I. D., suggested that the meeting be banned but the Chief Minister disapproved of the proposal and agreed merely to the administration of a warning to the Ahrar. The proposal that after the administration of the warning a press note should be issued by Government, was also disapproved by him.
Again when the Home Secretary inquired whether a general warning should be administered to the Ahrar leaders, the Chief Minister replied that Government need not bother about a general warning at that stage.
By now the demands began publicly to be supported by Muslim Leaguers and several poster and handbills signed by members and office bearers of the League appeared in the districts of Lahore, Lyallpur, Jhang and Sheikhupura. Muslim Leaguers also began to preside over khatm-i-nubuwwat meetings organised by the Ahrar.
It also came to the notice of the President of the Punjab Provincial Muslim League that members of the League were presiding at the meetings of other political parties. He, therefore, thought it necessary to define the policy of the League and on 1st April, 1952, issued the following press statement:—
“It has come to my notice that at some places in the Province prominent members of the Muslim League organisation including, in some cases, even the Presidents of the District Muslim, Leagues have presided over Ahrar conferences. It must be made clear that to preside over the conferences of another organisation is a breach of discipline of the Muslim League. I am, therefore, to direct that no member of the Muslim League organisation shall in future preside over meetings which are sponsored or conducted by organisations other than the Muslim League. This of course does not include participation in functions which are of a purely social or non-political nature; but the definition of ‘political’ may be interpreted very strictly and not loosely. It is absolutely necessary that members of the Muslim League do not take part in any activity which is likely to create hostility or ill-feeling between the citizens of Pakistan or to revile and condemn particular sections or groups of the citizens of Pakistan”. and on the basis of this statement a circular letter, dated 3rd April, 1952, was sent to all District and City Muslim Leagues, wherein the members of the Muslim League were prohibited from presiding over non-Muslim League meetings, excluding social and non-political meetings, and it was emphasised that members of the Muslim League should not take any part in activities which might create estrangement or enmity between different classes of Pakistan citizens or which were directed against any particular class or section of Pakistan subjects.
Despite this direction, however, Muslim League branches in districts and towns began to ally themselves with the movement that was rapidly spreading. It has already been pointed out that some persons were being prosecuted in Sargodha and Gujranwala for contravening orders under section 144 for taking part in public meetings in mosques organised by the Ahrar. On 17th July, 1952, the City Muslim League, Gujranwala, held a meeting and passed the following resolutions:—
1. That the doctrine of khatm-i-nubuwwat is a fundamental doctrine with Muslims.
2. That the City Muslim League strongly disapprove the application of orders under section 144 to mosques and regards such orders not only unnecessary but a direct interference with the religious observances of the people and strongly demands of the Government to withdraw such orders.
3. That the City Muslim League demands of the Government that all cases arising out of the contravention of section 144 orders be withdrawn and the persons arrested for such contravention released.
4. That the City Muslim League should give legal assistance to those who have been arrested for gathering in mosques in contravention of orders under section 144.
Three days later, i.e., on 20th July, 1952, the City Muslim League, Sargodha, also passed the following resolutions:—
(1) That the City Muslim League unanimously supports the demands for the declaration of Ahmadis as a non-Muslim minority;
(2) That the City Muslim League requests the Provincial Muslim League and the All-Pakistan Muslim League to take the issue of the declaration of Ahmadis as a non-Muslim minority in their own hands in order to save the nation from further disintegration ; and
(3) That in view of the importance, unanimity and the delicate nature of the demands and public feeling in the country, the Central and the Provincial Leagues should take some practical steps in the matter.
The City Muslim League, Kamoke, also passed a resolution to the effect that since the ulama, of the Punjab had unanimously declared the Ahmadis to be outside the pale of Islam, the Ahmadis had become ineligible for being members of the Muslim League, that members of the Muslim League who were Ahmadis should be rusticated from the League and that no Ahmadi should in future be eligible for membership of the League.
In a public statement published in the ‘Afaq’ of 18th July Mr. Daultana. The President of the Punjab Muslim League appealed to the members of the League to help the League in the solution of the religious and political problems which had arisen over the issue of khatm-i-nubuwwat. He advised them to remain calm and patient in order to enable the Working Committee and the Council of the Provincial League to deal with questions on which these two organisations alone could give a correct lead to the people in the forthcoming meeting of the Provincial League which was to be held on 26th and 27th July.
At a meeting of the Working Committee of the Punjab Provincial Muslim League held on 28th June, 1952, it was decided to hold the next session of the League at Lahore on 26th and 27th July, 1952. A provisional agenda was fixed for the purpose on 1st July 1952, but it did not include the issue of khatm-i-nubuwwat. The agenda was issued to all Councillors who were requested to submit by 15th July such resolutions as they wished to be moved. Accordingly the following resolutions were received by the Joint Secretary of the League:—
1. Resolution, dated 14th July, 1952, moved by Qazi Murid Ahmad, M.L.A., Councillor, Punjab Muslim League, and seconded by Sahibzada Mahmud Shah of Gujrat, Councillor, Punjab Muslim League: That this meeting of the Punjab Muslim League Council demands of the Government of Pakistan that Mirzais be declared a separate non-Muslim minority and directs the Muslim League Assembly Party that at an early date it should have a resolution passed in the Punjab Legislative Assembly calling upon the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan to declare the Mirzais a separate non-Muslim minority.
2. Resolution, dated 14th July, 1952, moved by Sahibzada Sayyad Mahmud Shah of Gujrat, Councillor, Punjab Muslim. League, and seconded by Qazi Murid Ahmad, Councillor, Punjab Muslim League: That this meeting of the Punjab Provincial Muslim League suspects Chaudhri Zafrullah Khan’s loyalty to the State and believes that Chaudhri Zafrullah Khan has exploited the office of Foreign Minister to propagate the doctrine of Mirzaeeat and in filling up public posts with Mirzais, that the failure to have the Kashmir issue solved is due not only to Chaudhri Zafrullah Khan’s inability but also to his and his Jama’at’s traditional loyalty to Great Britain and that the interests of Pakistan, Islamic countries and Kashmir demand that Chaudhri Zafrullah Khan be removed from his office as early as possible.
3. Resolution, dated 15th July, 1952, moved by Muhammad Islam-ud-Din, M.L.A., Vehari, District Multan: That the Mirzais who do not believe in the finality of the Holy Prophet of Islam and on the contrary consider that those who believe in such finality are Kafirs be declared to be a non-Muslim minority and that this demand flows from religious, democratic and constitutional principles. That the Punjab Provincial Muslim League should impress upon the Central Government the importance of the doctrine of khatm-i-nubuwwat and require that Government to declare persons having a different belief as a minority.
4. Resolution, dated 12th June, 1952, moved by Maulana Sayyad Ahmad Saeed Kazmi, member, Provincial Muslim League Council, Multan, and seconded by Khwaja Abdul Hakim Siddiqi, President, City Muslim League, Multan, and further supported by Sufi Muhammad Abdul Ghafoor Ludhianvi, Honorary Office Secretary, District Muslim League, Multan, Councillor, Provincial Muslim League: That since the Qadianis are unanimously considered to be outside the pale of Islam, they should be declared to be a non-Muslim minority and that such declaration should not be delayed by Government. That since Chaudhri Zafrullah Khan, who is a Qadiani, is not a representative of the Musalmans, the Punjab Provincial Muslim League Council should demand from the Government of Pakistan that he should be removed from the office and some reliable Musalman appointed in his place.
5. Resolution, dated 14th July, 1952, moved by Muhammad Ibrahim Qureshi, General Secretary, City Muslim League, Jhang, Councillor, Punjab Muslim League: That the Council should declare that on the strength of their own showings and writings the Ahmadis should be declared by the Council to be a separate non-Muslim minority but that they should be treated as generously as possible. That the Council should take adequate steps to preserve the doctrine of the finality of nubuwwat of the Holy Prophet of Islam and should not in future appoint any members of the Jama’ at-i-Ahmadiya to any key post. That the Muslim League should take the question of preservation of the doctrine of khatm-i-nubuwwat in its own hands so that no zilli or buruzi should in future dare propound any doctrine to the contrary and thus endanger the integrity of the State.
The next meeting of the Working Committee was held on 25th July under the chairmanship of Mr. Daultana, President of the Punjab Provincial Muslim League. At this meeting it was announced by the Chairman that the resolutions which had been received by 15th July 1952 had been examined by him and other office bearers and that they had come to the conclusion that only eight resolutions were to be moved in the Council. This was approved by the committee and in the list of approved resolutions there was at No. 3 a resolution called khatm-i-nubuwwat to be moved by Sayyad Mustafa Shah Khalid Gilani.
The second session of the Council began at 8 a.m. on 27th July, and in it the following resolution was passed by a majority of 284 to 8:—
“The Council of the Punjab Muslim League is fully conscious of the truth that khatm-i-nubuwwat is one of those fundamental articles of the Islamic faith which have knit together Muslims of the world into a spiritual brotherhood and provided a strong basis for the unity and solidarity of the Muslim nation in Pakistan. This truth carries with it the obvious and natural implication that non-subscribers to the doctrine of khatm-i-nubuwwat have a fundamental difference with what Islam stands for in the domain of religious belief.
On the basis of this position, about which there is or can be no dispute, a proposal, which pertains to the domain of political action and constitutional legislation, has been put forward, namely, that the Ahmadis who have a fundamental difference of attitude on a question of faith, should be classed as a non-Muslim minority in the Constitution of Pakistan. In the opinion of the Council the proposal reflects to a certain extent the reaction of Muslims to the strong separatist tendencies which the Ahmadis have themselves at times shown not only in religious matters, but also in the sphere of civic and social life.
The proposal, however, involves grave and important issues of a constitutional and legal nature which will affect the privileges and obligations of citizens of Pakistan and will determine the nature of the constitutional set-up which is to be proposed for Pakistan. Such matters naturally require deep and careful consideration in a spirit of calm unprejudiced deliberation unaffected by emotionalism or agitation. The Council of the Punjab Muslim League is, therefore, of the opinion that the constitutional issue involved may, with the fullest confidence, be left to the mature judgment of the leadership of the Pakistan Muslim League & the Members of the Pakistan Constituent Assembly. In the meantime every member of the Muslim League organisation must endeavour to create an atmosphere of calmness and serenity in which alone deliberate decisions affecting fundamental constitutional policy can be taken.
At the same tame this Council affirms its unwavering adherence to the principle that it is not only a democratic but also a religious duty of Muslims of Pakistan to protect as their own the life, property, honour and all civic rights of every citizen of this State, irrespective of his or her caste or creed. This Council expects the Muslim League Ministry in the Punjab to uphold the principle in all circumstances”.
At a subsequent meeting of the Working Committee held on 22nd August, 1932, it was resolved that no member or office bearer of the Muslim League should preside over the meetings of Majlis-i-Amal of All Muslim Parties Convention. Mr. Daultana now busied himself in explaining the stand taken by the Provincial Muslim League in its resolution of 27th July. Speaking in Hazuri Bagh on 30th August, 1952, he said: “To-day Pakistan is the only country in the world which seeks to claim Islamic Government. The whole world is watching us in this experiment and if we failed in fulfilling this responsibility, the world would have an opportunity to say that there is no room for an Islamic form of Government in the world. In the matter of khatm-i-nubuwwat, I have the same belief which a Musalman should have. According to me all those who do not believe the Holy Prophet to be the last of the prophets are outside the pale of Islam. I go further and say that to raise any argument on the doctrine of khatm-inubuwwat itself amounts to kufr because an argument is possible only where the matter admits of some doubt. The belief in khatm-i-nubuwwat is a part of our faith and it is above all argument and logic. The Mirzais are themselves responsible for the hatred that has been created against them because of their separatist tendencies. They are separate from us in every department of life and have confined their personal, political and social activities to their own class. The Qadiani officers have been guilty of partiality towards men of their own community as several allotments were made by them merely on the ground of the allottee being a Mirzai. This was an abuse of their official position.
The remedy for this state of affairs does not lie in emotional speeches and public meetings. So far as the Punjab is concerned, I shall take strong action against anyone who is found guilty of partiality on sectarian grounds and will have every such complaint fully investigated. I appeal to you in the name of the teachings of Islam and in the good name of the nation to protect the life, property and honour of every person who calls himself a Pakistan citizen. So long as I am the Chief Minister I shall not tolerate in my Province the shedding of innocent blood and shall spare no pains in protecting the honour of every citizen, and I shall discharge this religious, moral and official duty at every cost. The question of declaring the Mirzais as a minority is a constitutional question. Our Constitution has not so far been framed and the Constituent Assembly has not taken any decision in regard to the distinction to be observed between the majority community and the minorities. The question should, therefore, be left to the Constituent Assembly. But assuming for the sake of argument that the Mirzais are declared a minority, what would be the position if they cease to call themselves as Mirzais. The object in declaring a group or a community as a minority is that not only the rights of that group or minority should be determined but that such rights should be protected and they should be given concessions in public services and representation in Legislative Assemblies. If the Mirzais are declared a minority we shall be bound to give them all those concessions and rights which we do not wish
to give them now. This is a very complicated question which requires deep and serious consideration. It is not a question which can be settled by holding public meetings, raising riots or throwing stones or by any other rash step. I ask all those who are holding public meetings in connection with the khatm-i-nubuwwat movement, where is the need for such meetings if everyone of us believes in khatm-i-nubuwwat? These unnecessary meetings sometimes create a doubt in my mind about the bona fides of those who are organising them”. In the course of his speech at Rawalpindi reported in the ‘Civil & Military Gazette’ of 13th September, 1952, he said: “I want lo make the country a true Islamic republic, in which every-one, irrespective of his political opinions should have equal rights and everything should be settled by exemplary justice; where people are well off economically and. morally, where people are sincere, sober and earnest in achieving the common good of the country.