Having found the circumstances which led to the disturbances, we now proceed to determine the responsibility therefore. In this connection it is first necessary to state the respective views of the parties who have taken part in the proceedings before us.
The Punjab Government and the Muslim League do not appear to have any views on the subject, the former having contented itself with a written statement of a few lines to the effect that since no inquiry into the matter was held by the Punjab Government and a Court of Inquiry had been constituted to investigate the whole matter, it had no views to place before the Court of Inquiry but would assist the Court in placing before it such material as it required. In the arguments addressed to us by Mr. Fazl Ilahi as amicus curiae however, it was urged by him that on the evidence produced it should be held that the Punjab Ministry and the Muslim League were proved to be responsible for the disturbances. The Muslim League has contented itself by merely sending for information of the Court copies of certain resolutions passed by it, without expressing any opinion as to the circumstances which led to the disturbances or as to the persons or parties who were responsible for them.
The written statement of Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiya, Rabwah, lays responsibility for the disturbances on the Ahrar, the Jama’at-i-Islami, the ulama and the Provincial and Central Governments. The Anjuman accuses the Ahrar of having exploited a religious issue for the purpose of regaining their lost position and rehabilitating themselves with the public. Similar motives are attributed to Jama’at-i-Islami, and it is alleged that Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi’s object in emphasising on an Islamic Government for Pakistan was; to occupy the first place in the State and that it was with this ulterior object that Jama’at-i-Islami made a common cause with the Ahrar and the other ulama. The addition of a ninth demand to the eight demands of Jama’at-i-Islami for the future Constitution of Pakistan, which was intended to assign to the Ahmadis the position of a non-Muslim minority in the Constitution itself, is pointed out as having been prompted by a political and not by a religious motive. The same motive is attributed to the ulama who allied themselves with the Ahrar in the campaign against Ahmadis, and it is alleged that the object of the ulama was precisely the same as that of Jama’at-i-Islami, namely, to acquire political power and control by emphasising the religious aspect of the future Constitution. The Central Government and the Provincial Government are brought in for a share of the blame because of their indifference to the storm which, as a result of intensive propaganda, had been brewing for a long time, without either Government having made any effort to stop it. The Punjab Chief Minister’s proclamation of 6th March 1953, that the Punjab Government accepted the correctness of the demands and was deputing a Provincial Minister to go to Karachi to place the Punjab’s point of view before the Central Government, is stated to have caused complete collapse of law and order and let loose a reign of terror against Ahmadis, and in proof of this allegation several cases of murder, loot and arson that occurred in Lahore after that proclamation are mentioned.
According to the Ahrar’s case the responsibility for the disturbances rests, first, on certain foreign powers which were desirous of regulating Pakistan policy in their own interests. In this connection Great Britain and United States of America are accused of having pursued an anti-Muslim policy in the past and of having used Chaudhri Zafrullah Khan as a tool for that purpose. The second party held responsible by the Ahrar are the Qadianis themselves, particularly Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad, the head of the Ahmadiya community, and Chaudhri Zafrullah Khan. The third party to be blamed for the disturbances is stated to be Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din. the Prime Minister of Pakistan, and his colleagues, who, by their weakness and lack of judgment, are alleged to have created an atmosphere favourable for the disturbances, while the fourth party arraigned under this charge is the Provincial Government and its officers, who are accused of having provoked the public by excessive use of force.
According to the written statements of the Punjab Majlis-i-Amal, the disturbances are relatable, firstly, to the Ahmadiya movement and the provocative conduct of the Ahmadis; secondly, to the preferential treatment accorded to Ahmadis by the Central and the Provincial Governments; thirdly, to the inability of both these Governments to find a timely solution of the Ahmadi problem; fourthly, to the excessive forces used to quell peaceful and constitutional demonstrations by the public and the provocative conduct of officers; fifthly, to some individual Ahmadis and organised parties of Ahmadis, who deliberately engaged themselves in violence to provide an excuse for the Government to crush the Tahaffuz-i-Khatm-i-nubuwwat movement; and sixthly, to anti-social elements of society who for their own nefarious ends created an atmosphere of lawlessness.
The Jama’at-i-Islami in its written statement throws the responsibility for the disturbances on the Ahmadis themselves in the first instance, and secondly, on Government, both Central and Provincial. In attempting to make out a case against the Ahmadis, the Jama’at makes a concise but full reference to the peculiar doctrines of the Ahmadis, to the writings and speeches of the founder of that community and his followers, which are alleged to be highly provocative and calculated to wound the religious susceptibilities of Musalmans, and to the separatist and disloyal activities of Ahmadis and a consistent effort on their part to carve out of the general body of Muslims a separate and cohesive class having nothing in common with them and constituting in fact a danger to their solidarity. As against the Government, it is alleged that it pursued a weak, unwise and vacillating policy in the matter which caused considerable confusion, not only among the public but also the services. The Government is accused of having allowed for several months a violent agitation to go on in the press and on the platform in support of the demands which had become a clear issue between all Muslims on the one side and the Ahmadis on the other. Though the ulama, including the head of Jama’at-i-Islami, did their best to make the Government alive to the delicate position that had developed almost to a bursting point, the Government is alleged to have persisted in its policy of indifference and indecision, without realising that the demands were the unanimous demands of all Muslims. The volte-face which Government displayed by ordering the arrest of the ulama on 27th February in Karachi and the subsequent policy of arrests on a wide scale, and the use of section 144 and excessive force are alleged to have materially contributed to the disturbances. The Jama’at dissociates itself from the ‘direct action’ and points out that it never endorsed that line of action and emphasises the principle that in a democratic country any popular demand which acquires such importance as the anti-Ahmadiya movement did in the present case, has got to be faced and determined on its merits.
On behalf of the deposed Ministry Mr. Daultana, the late Chief Minister, considers the following factors to be responsible for the situation as it developed:—
(1) Age-old anti-Ahmadi feelings of the Muslims,
(2) The short-sighted attitude of the Ahmadis themselves, who instead of mitigating their difference with the rest of the Muslims paraded and emphasised them.
(3) The vague religious basis of the national ideology of Pakistan, which, due to the stress put on it in and out of season, gave strength to mullaism and plausibility to the mulla’s way of dealing with political principles,
(4) The exploitation by the Ahrar of an explosive situation for their political purposes,
(5) The participation of general body of the ulama in the agitation.
(6) The activities of the malcontents, professional miscreants and similar elements after the disturbances broke out.
(7) The leadership of the Central Government which failed to give a lead to the people.
Deepest discontent in all sections of society, rapid deterioration in economic conditions and failure of food supply, national problems like Kashmir, Junagarh, relations with India, the handling of the constitutional problems and the delay in defining the future shape of Government, complaints with regard to the administration, lack of confidence in leadership and general frustration and demoralisation in every quarter are also mentioned by Mr. Daultana as contributory causes of the disturbances.
Most of the officers from Lahore and the mofussil, who have submitted written statements, have blamed the Ahrar and the mullas who joined them in fanning the agitation. Some of them have also commented upon the indifference of the Central Government in not giving a correct and timely lead to the public. A few officers hold the Ahmadis also to be responsible for what came to pass.
The All Pakistan Muslim Parties Convention, Karachi, And All Muslim Parties Convention, Lahore.
Responsibility for the disturbances must primarily rest on the members of the All Pakistan Muslim Parties Convention, Karachi, and All Muslim Parties Convention, Lahore, and the numerous religious organisations which were represented at these Conventions by the members of these organisations. The resolution to resort to direct action was passed at a meeting of the All Pakistan Muslim Parties Convention held on 18th January 1953 in Karachi and the decision to constitute a Central Majlis-i-Amal to give effect to this resolution was also taken at the same Convention. The constitution of the Majlis-i-Amal was completed on the evening of the same day and the ultimatum to Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din to accept the demands or to resign from his office was communicated on 22nd January by a deputation appointed by the Majlis-i-Amal. The nature of the action to be taken if the demands were not conceded had not till then been determined; nor did Khwaja Nizam-ud-Din in the course of his interview with the members of the deputation who delivered the ultimatum, question them about it.
The ultimatum was nothing short of a notice of civil revolt to be initiated, organised and conducted by the Majlis-i-Amal in case it was not satisfied by the reply to the ultimatum. It has been contended by the Majlis that the action to be taken if the demands were rejected was not direct action, nor barah-i-rastiqdam but only rast iqdam that it was to be a perfectly harmless, peaceful and constitutional demonstration of popular dissatisfaction with the rejection and was never intended to be anything like or in the nature of a civil rebellion or civil disobedience and that the disturbances would not have been a natural consequence of ‘direct action’ if the leaders of the movement, who were to control and supervise the action, had not been arrested. It is further urged that the arrest of the leaders was an ill-advised step, that subsequent protests and demonstrations were a direct result of these arrests and that, therefore, responsibility for the disturbances which came in the wake of such protests and demonstrations, is directly referable to the arrests and consequently to the Central and the Provincial Governments. This contention is wholly untenable. If a threat is held out to a Government that in case certain demands placed before it are not accepted by a certain date the party putting forward the demands would resort to direct action, and the Government, not agreeing with the demands, arrests the leaders of the party holding out such threat and disturbances follow directly from such arrests, the party cannot be permitted, and it does not lie in its mouth, to say that but for the arrests there would have been no disturbances. Threat of direct action is threat to constituted authority and no Government worth the name can look with unconcern at such threat, unless finding itself unable to meet the threat it is willing to surrender or abdicate. In the present case, however, Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din, who appears to have been fully cognizant of the strength of feeling against the Ahmadis and of the plausibility of the grounds on which the demands had been put forward, tried as much as he could to argue with the ulama and to explain to them the difficulties lying in the way of acceptance of the demands and the implications arising therefrom. Though there appears to have been a good deal of mutual understanding and perhaps common feeling between Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din and some of the ulama, neither Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din’s nor the ulama’s ingenuity could discover a way out of the impasse, with the result that on 26th February the Majlis-i-Amal decided upon the course of sending batches of volunteers to the residences of the Governor-General and the Prime Minister. The arrest of the ulama, therefore, now became inevitable though a firm and determined Government, convinced of the folly and mischievonsness of the course the ulama had decided to embark upon, would have been fully justified to effect such arrests earlier. The arrests were followed by protestations, demonstrations and disturbances.
That even if no arrests had been made, there must have been disorder and lawlessness can be denied only by the sponsors of the movement. Such result was certainly anticipated by all who were associated with, and responsible for, the movement. In the Punjab, which was the centre of the movement, thousands of volunteers had already been enrolled, the number exceeding the figure of fifty thousand which Sahibzada Faiz-ul-Hasan had undertaken to enrol, pledges taken from them, enormous funds collected and District Committees of Action with lists of dictators one taking the place of another on arrest appointed. The organisers of the movement had before them the precedents of Multan and Karachi, and most of them their own experience of what happens on such occasions. Public speeches made by the leaders indicate quite clearly what was expected to be the natural result if Government did not bow down to the threat of direct action. And exhortations made to the masses both before and after the delivery of the ultimatum contained significant references to bullets, blood, lives to be sacrificed in defence of the honour (namus) of the Holy Prophet, burial clothes, fire and holocaust and to days reminiscent of Hindu-Muslim riots before the Partition. Those who gave expression to these feelings cannot now claim before us to accept the view that they never expected things to take the turn that they actually did, or that they never apprehended the consequences which, in fact, followed from their conduct.
It is urged that the batches of volunteers were to go stealthily so as not to attract any crowds with them. This is a position which can hardly be put forward by those the very basis of whose activities was public agitation and propaganda as is evident from the large gatherings which they collected at the time of the meeting of the Convention in Karachi, not only from 16th to 18th January but also on the eve of the direct action, when notice was given of a public gathering on the following morning at which the result of parleys with Government, and in case of failure of such parleys, the actual programme to be adopted, was to be announced.
We find on the evidence that the members of the Majlis-i-Amal, when they decided to serve Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din with an ultimatum, knew that if the demands were rejected and the threat of direct action was put into execution, large-scale disturbances involving firing, bloodshed and general disorder of a very serious character would be the result, and since the events precisely took the anticipated course, the responsibility for the disturbances directly lies on the members of that Majlis. And since the Majlis-i-Amal was acting merely as an agent of the several religious organisations and leaders, the persons or parties who were members of the Karachi Convention which passed the direct action resolution are all responsible for the disturbances and their consequences. The members of the All Muslim Parties Convention, Lahore, are responsible because they adopted the direct action resolution, endorsed the ultimatum to the Prime Minister and organised the whole paraphernalia for the direct action, programme.
In determining the responsibility of the numerous religious organisations and preceptors we have acted on the well-recognised principle of vicarious liability and the law governing the relations of principal and agent. The Majlis-i-Amals appointed by the All Pakistan Muslim Parties Convention at Karachi and the All Muslim Parties Convention at Lahore were representatives and agents of their respective Conventions and for anything that either Majlis did its principal, provided the act done was within the scope of the Majlis’s authority, is responsible. Having passed a direct action resolution and appointed a Majlis-i-Amal to carry into effect that resolution, the members of the Convention gave to the Majlis full authority to determine the means by which that resolution was to be put into execution. Accordingly the acts done by the Majlis were the acts of the Convention which appointed that Majlis. Unless, therefore, any member of the Convention publicly dissociated himself from the direct action, he is as much responsible for the natural consequences of the direct action as the Majlis itself.
In his speech during the general discussion on the budget in Parliament Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din appeared to suggest it as a pertinent fact that some eminent ulama belonging to various religious organisations, though they were members of the Majlis-i-Amal and supported the demand for the declaration of Ahmadis as a non-Muslim minority, had dissociated themselves from the direct action programme and that if this fact had been given sufficient publicity, some ulama, and imams of mosques would not have taken part in the movement. Before us there is no evidence that any organisation or person who was a member of the Convention at Karachi or Lahore publicly dissociated himself from the movement of direct action, and in the absence of any such public dissociation it is not at all pertinent to consider whether any, and if so which, of the ulama members of either of the Conventions differed from the programme of action which was settled by the Majlis-i-Amal, a body which they themselves had appointed for the purpose and for whose actions they are not only liable under the law but also on general principles of human conduct.
MEMBERS OF TA’LIMAT-I-ISLAMI BOARD
It is surprising that the Board of Ta’limat-i-Islami which is a Government body should also have jumped whole-heartedly into this business of direct action. Maulana Suleman Nadvi, the President, Maulana Zafar Ahmad Ansari, the Secretary and Maulana Muhammad Shafi, member of the Board, were parties to the resolutions relating to the direct action and the getting up of a Majlis-i-Amal. All these gentlemen, we understand, are in Government employ and receive substantial emoluments. It may be that ulama live in a world of their own and judge things by their own standards but nobody has yet enunciated to us the principle by which a person can conscientiously remain in Government, receive a substantial pay from the public exchequer and at the same time be a party to a movement which is nothing less than a revolt against that very Government.
If these gentlemen were so perturbed over the Qadiani issue, they should have like honest people severed their connection with Government before they became parties to a direct action resolution against their own employer. None of them ever dared publicly to declare that direct action did not have his approval or to denounce what was happening in the name of such action, and in the absence of any such declaration they are as much responsible for the disturbances as other members of the Convention.
Before dealing with the question of the responsibility of Jama’at-i-Islami, it is necessary to give a brief account of the aims and objects of the Jama’at and the scope of its activities. The Jama’at-i-Islami existed before the Partition with its headquarters at Pathankot in the district of Gurdaspur, and Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi was its founder.
On Partition the Maulana came over to Pakistan and in 1952 framed a new constitution for Jama’at-i-Islami in Pakistan. The Indian Jama’at-i-Islami still functions and has its own constitution.
The ideology of the Jama’at-i-Islami is perfectly simple. It aims at the establishment of the sovereignty of Allah throughout the world which, in other words, means the establishment of a religio-political system which the Jama’at calls Islam. For the achievement of this ideal it believes not only in propaganda but in the acquisition of political control by constitutional means and where feasible by force. A Government which is not based on the Jama’at’s conception, as for instance where it is based on the conception of a nation, is, according to Maulana Amin Ahsan Islahi, a Satanic Government, and according to Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi himself kufr, all persons taking part in such Government, whether as administrators or otherwise, or willingly submitting to such system being sinners. The Jama’at was, therefore, professedly opposed to the Muslim League’s conception of Pakistan, and since the establishment of Pakistan, which it described as Na Pakistan, has been opposed to the present system of Government and those who are running it. In none of the writings of the Jama’at produced before us there is to be found the remotest reference in support of the demand for Pakistan, and. on the contrary, these writings which contain several possible hypotheses, are all opposed to the form in which Pakistan came into being and at present exists. According to the statement of the founder of the Jama’at before a Military Court, short of an armed rebellion the Jama’at believes in, and has its objective the replacement of the present form of Government by a Government of the Jama’at’s conception. The Jama’at has a head who is called an Amir and though its membership is limited, consisting of only 999 persons at present, the Jama’at has a vast publication and propaganda machinery.
We have had the occasion to remark that the three demands were all professedly based on religion. Neither the Jama’at nor Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi has denied this, but both have emphasised several other reasons for the declaration of the Ahmadis as a minority and for their removal from key posts. It seems to be implicitly admitted in the statement of these reasons that the demands had also a political and social aspect. Now if this view be correct and the religious aspect of the demands for the time being be ignored, the Jama’at’s position, if it be found that it was a party to the direct action, comes to this that where there is a popular demand which the Government does not accept or agree to consider, all constitutional means may be thrust aside and an ultimatum of civil revolt given to the Government. This to our mind is a position which cannot be tolerated by any decent Government which believes that it is there by the consent of the people and not by mere force, and whenever it is confronted by any such position its obvious duty is to reject the ultimatum and to use all the means within its power to meet the threat. If Jama’at-i-Islami’s reasons for the demands were to be found in social and political factors, the obvious course for it was to engage in a constitutional agitation and to try to convert the Constituent Assembly to its view or to wait till the next elections and fight them on this issue. All our affairs are at present in an unsettled condition, and to require the Government at the point of pistol to accept a particular demand or to adopt a particular course is not only unconstitutional but a clearly unpatriotic act—a method which can only be resorted to by a party which is anxious to add to the difficulties of the Government. If the demands had not been represented to be based on religious grounds, it is obvious that no crisis would have arisen because in that case the Government would have required the party putting forward the demands to prove the case on the merits so that suitable action could be taken against those who were engaged in anti-State activities. But one of the three demands was for the removal of all Ahmadis from Key posts, and this could only have been based on religion because no Ahmadi other than Chaudhri Zafrullah Khan occupies any key post as defined by Jama’at-i-Islami, namely, a post which involves the formulation of a policy. And Maulana Amin Ahsan Islahi when questioned what other posts were in view when the demand for the removal of Ahmadis from key posts was made, was unable to mention any such post which was occupied by an Ahmadi. In the same way if Chaudhri Zafrullah Khan’s dismissal had been demanded on the ground that his activities were prejudicial to the interests of the State, the Government would have, apart from the fact that he is an Ahmadi, required definite data that he was indulging in activities which were not known to the Prime Minister and which were causing such harm to the State that his dismissal had become necessary. The sole question, therefore, regarding the Jama’at’s responsibility for the disturbances is whether, like other parties, it also approved of the decision to launch direct action if the Government did not accept the demands which were put before it on the ground that they followed from certain religious doctrine.
The Jama’at-i-Islami disclaims responsibility for the disturbances on the ground that it never approved of direct action or the programme decided upon in pursuance of the decision to resort to such action. This allegation of the Jama’at is traversed by the Majlisi-Amal, the Ahrar and the Ahmadis. It, therefore, becomes necessary to determine whether any responsibility for the disturbances can also be fixed on the Jama’at. The difference in the version of Jama’at-i-Islami and Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi on the one hand and of the Majlis-i-Amal and the Ahrar on the other, has already been mentioned in detail in an earlier part of this report. It is not disputed either by the Jama’at-i- Islami or by Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi that the resolution relating to direct action was passed in Karachi on 18th January in a meeting of the Convention in which the Maulana was himself present. At this meeting a resolution was also adopted constituting a Majlis-i-Amal of fifteen members of which eight were unanimously nominated on the spot. Up to this stage there is no dispute between the Jama’at-i-Islami and the Majlis-i-Amal and the Ahrar. The difference begins from the stage when a meeting of the eight members of Majlis-i-Amal who had been chosen in the Convention was held on the same evening.
Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi and his Jama’at state that no notice of this meeting was given to Maulana Maudoodi who was present in Karachi, that this meeting was not attended either by the Maulana or by any representative of Jama’at-i-Islami, that even the eight members who had been chosen earlier did not all attend the meeting, that no information of the co-option of seven members was given to them, that these seven members were not present in the evening meeting in which the decision to send an ultimatum to Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din was taken, that consequently the decision to deliver an ultimatum to Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din was ultra vires the Majlis-i-Amal and that, therefore, neither the Jama’at-i-Islami nor Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi is responsible for the events that happened after the delivery of the ultimatum. Though it is proved from the evidence, and it is admitted both by the Majlis-i-Amal and the Ahrar, that not all persons who had been chosen as members of the Majlis-i-Amal in the meeting of the Convention on 18th January attended the meeting of the Majlis held on the same evening, and that the decision to send an ultimatum to Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din was taken in the absence of, and without notice to the seven members who had been co-opted, it is contended by the Ahrar and the representative of Majlis-i-Amal that this meeting of the Majlis-i-Amal was attended by a representative of Jama’at-i-Islami and that the decision to serve the ultimatum had his approval and, therefore, of the Jama’at, Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi was one of the eight members chosen at the Convention, and according to Sayyad Muzaffar Ali Shamsi, a witness called by the Ahrar, the resolution relating to direct action was dictated to him by Hafiz Kifayat Husain, Master Taj-ud-Din Ansari, Maulana Abdul Haamid Badayuni and Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi himself. Shamsi further alleges that it had also been announced in the Convention that a meeting of the eight nominated members of Majlis-i-Amal would be held at 8 o’clock in the evening in the office of khatm-i-nubuwwat movement. The witness proceeds to say that at a dinner party the same day Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi had expressed his inability to be present at the evening meeting of the Majlis-i-Amal because he was engaged on some important work and had intimated that Maulana Sultan Ahmad, Amir Jama’at-i-Islami, Karachi and Sind, would attend that meeting on behalf of the Jama’at. When the meeting took place at 8 o’clock the same evening in the office of khatm-i-nubuwwat movement, Maulana Sultan Ahmad attended on behalf of Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi and took part in the deliberations which resulted in the decision to draw up an ultimatum and to deliver it to Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din. Maulana Abul Hasanat Sayyad Muhammad Ahmad also states that when the meeting of members of Majlis-i-Amal was held in the evening Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi sent a message that because he himself was busy in some other work, he was directing Maulana Sultan Ahmad, the Amir of Jama’at-i-Islami in Karachi, to attend that meeting and that this Amir was present when the seven members were coopted and the persons who were to deliver the ultimatum to the Premier selected. The Maulana, further states that this representative of the Jama’at-i-Islam raised no objection either to the constitutionality of the meeting of the Majlis-i-Amal or to the decision taken by it. Maulana Sultan Ahmad has not been called, and Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi denies having sent him to the meeting of the Majlis-i-Amal. Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi has also contradicted the allegation that at a dinner party he had intimated his inability to attend the meeting of the eight and expressed his desire to depute Maulana Sultan Ahmad to attend the meeting on his behalf. With this conflict that is to be found in the evidence of Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi on the one hand and Maulana Abul Hasanat Sayyad Muhammad Ahmad and Sayyad Muzaffar Ali Shamsi on the other it is definitely unpleasant and somewhat difficult to decide which version to accept as true. And since the Jama’at-Islami’s responsibility does not depend upon this fact alone, we refrain from giving any finding on it.