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Munir Commission Report-Part 32: Attitude of pro-League papers.

Attitude of pro-League papers.

Action against sectarian meetings.

Unilateral action not possible


Ahmadis’ fanatical tendencies

Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din agreed that Mr. Daultana pressed the Centre for a decision, but that he did so in order that responsibility should shifted to the Centre. He told even the Constituent Assembly in March 1953, that the agitation appeared to have been prompted by power politics. He denied that in the August conference at Karachi there was any decision that direct clash with Ulama was to be avoided: the general trend of the discussion was that the best way to meet the situation was to adopt the principles enunciated in the communique of 14th August, which, if given effect to properly, would remove the root cause of the double which was the grievance that religious propaganda was carried on under official patronage. This communique, he maintained, defined the attitude of the Centre to the Demands. As regards the Ulama, since his approach to the Demands had always been that they were impracticable, it should have given to the Ulama an impression that they were unacceptable. It is true that he never rejected them finally, but he advised the Ulama not to press them and told them that human ingenuity surely ought to be able to devise a solution without accepting or rejecting the Demands. He further told them it was no part of the duties of the Government to declare a section of the population as a minority. That was the function of the Constituent Assembly. He adds that he himself was not prepared to have the Ahmadis declared a minority, but that he was not prepared to tell the Ulama so, as that would have resulted in a “head-on clash” with them which he wished to avoid. He did tell them, however, that it was not in the interest of the country to press the Demands and very difficult to accept them, that even in the Constitutional document it would not be easy to evolve a definition of the term “Muslim” which would debar the Ahmadis and at the same time not debar any other section.

His own belief was that if ninety per cent of the Ulama agree that a believer in Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was a kafir, or that he should be stoned to death, he would bow his head to the decision. But the fatwa of kufr does not necessarily turn a community into a non-Muslim minority. The basis of the Demands has, therefore, no connection with the demand for an Islamic state. Fatwas of kufr have been quite a feature of Islam since the Four Caliphs, but they have never resulted in the denial of civic rights to the individuals or classes against whom the decree was made. This is very comforting indeed, in a state where fatwas are likely to become as necessary as guns and butter. The last remark is our own.

Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din agreed that he had not advised Mr. Daultana to restrain the Ulama from publicly expressing their religious belief, for this would have meant interference with freedom of expression. But he added that liberty of expression did not mean licence, and when the speakers started going beyond the limits, if the Punjab Government had made judicious use of sections 153-A and 295-A of the Penal Code, the situation would not have deteriorated to the extent that even if the Ulama had wished to back out of “Direct Action,” they had not the courage of doing so for fear of public opinion.

Kh. Nazim-ud-Din’s defence.

Agitation directed to

Centre by the province.

Centre’s attitude was clear.

He wanted Ulama to have freedom of expression

Fatwa of kufr: its effect.

But not licence.

Since Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din agrees that he wished to avoid a clash with the Ulama, the question whether at the conference of August 1952, any decision to avoid a clash was taken loser importance. Two of Mr. Daultana’s own witnesses, Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar and Khan Sardar Bahadur Khan—the only witnesses who were questioned as to the conference of August—say nothing, however, in support of Mr. Daultana, The former said that when provincial representatives were questioned as to their views, Khan Abdul Qayyum showed reluctance over the use of force, as it would react on his province, while Mr. Daultana was of the opinion that if the Centre took a definite decision that the movement should be put down, then with some effort the Punjab Government would be able successfully to tackle the situation. Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar could not say whether the Prime Minister expressed any view or that any formal decision was taken, but that the consensus of opinion was that the movement should not be putdown by force. That was Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din’s attitude also, generally: he did not seem to be in favour of the Demands, but at the same time he did not wish to use force to suppress public opinion.

Khan Sardar Bahadur Khan said Mr. Daultana had urged the Central Government to take a clear and unequivocal decision, and thus place the administrative machinery in the Punjab on a “stronger wicket”.

The Government would, in that case, mobilise its political machinery—the Muslim League and the press—to educate the public. Mr. Chundrigar, another of Mr. Daultana’s witnesses, was not questioned in respect of this meeting.

This evidence does not negative Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din’s assertion that the conference regarded the communique of the 14th August to be the best solution of the matter. Sardar Abdur Rab, who, under the Prime Minister’s direction, prepared the draft of the communique, states that although it was not prepared at this conference, it possibly resulted from the deliberations of the conference. There must be some meaning in Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din’s unhesitant denial that the conference decided to avoid a head-on clash with the Ulama. If this was not what the conference decided, then Mr. Daultana’s plea that after the 8th of August 1952, it was not left open to him to take action, loses force. And if the Conference resulted in the communique of 14th August, the communique acquires fresh importance. It was an effort at “canalization”—an expression which will become familiar at a later stage—and should have given an insight into Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din’s mind. Maulana Akhtar Ali Khan, editor of the Zamindar, who had led a deputation to Karachi, made a triumphant announcement on or about the second of August 1952, that the Central Government would accept some of the Demands on the 14th August, and received a baffling answer Conference of August 1952.

Sardar Abdur Rab


Khan Sardar Bahadur


Khwaja Nazim-ud-

Din’s statement not negatived.

Communique of 14th August, 1952.

Should have made

Kh. Nazim-ud-Din’s attitude clear.

in the contents of the communique, Kh. Nazim-ud-Din denies that any promise was made by him beyond the statement that he would deal with the subject in his Pakistan Day speech. Here, again, Mr. Daultana has made a statement which his counsel has not tried to put to other witnesses; that the Central Ministers told Kh. Nazim-ud-Din that he should not have given an undertaking to M. Akhtar Ali Khan but that if he had done so he should make up his mind to fulfil it. “It was decided, however that a clear pronouncement of policy was not possible or politic and that we should avoid the issue by some sort of a sop to the people and that sop was the issue of the communique”. Mr. Daultana does not explain how the Ministers climbed down from their lofty insistence that Kh. Nazim-ud-Din should fulfil his promise, to an evasive communique making no reference to the Demands. We would, therefore, take the communique at its face value and hold that if, notwithstanding the expectations raised by the Zamindar, Kh. Nazim-ud-Din addressed himself, not to the Demands, but to what he regarded as the root cause, he could not have possessed any overflowing enthusiasm for the Demands, and if the Ulama had any hopes of him, then we all hope for Heaven.

We do not know what enduring good Mr. Daultana’s counsel obtained from Mr. Anwar Ali’s statement that the non-contradiction of the announcement in the ‘Zamindar’ had raised hopes in the public mind. If the communique had given birth to any widespread riots the raising of hopes for a short period of twelve days would have been an argument worth attending to. Nor do we understand the further, but more or less contradictory, statement of Mr. Anwar Ali that the communique itself created an impression among the Ahrar and their friends that their view-point had been partially accepted and that further concessions would be made. If that communique pleased the Ahrar, then, on the one hand, Kh. Nazim-ud-Din’s effort at “canalization” was successful, and on the other, the hopes raised earlier by the ‘Zamindar’ were not dashed to the ground. After all, it was not the intention of Kh. Nazim-ud-Din to see that in no circumstances were the Ahrar overjoyed with any act of Government. To the extent to which the Ahrar’s grievances appeared genuine, it was open to Kh. Nazim-ud-Din, and very necessary, in fact, to take preventive steps.

Kh. Nazim-ud-Din does not deny that Mr. Daultana pressed for a decision from time to time. The second occasion arose at Murree on the 26th of August 1952 and the third occasion, according to him, after the Dacca session of the Muslim League in October. Lastly, the matter was revived on the 16th or 17th February 1953, when Kh. Nazim-ud-Din visited Lahore, It was then that Kh. Nazim-ud-Din told him he was not prepared to take up a head-on fight with the Ulama.

Mr. Chundrigar, who was a witness of the talks at Murree and Lahore, states in respect of the former that both he and Mr. Daultana impressed upon the Prime Minister the necessity of defining the Centre’s attitude and announcing it, because the Muslim League and other sober sections of the people could not carry on any counter-publicity so long as the attitude of the Central Government was not known, and that the situation was Likely to Effect of communiqué not material

Mr. Daultana pressed for a decision

Mr. Chundrigar’s evidence deteriorate. He replied that he would discuss the matter with the Ulama, after Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar’s return from pilgrimage and then formulate a policy. He aimed at evolving a formula acceptable to all and getting it endorsed by the Pakistan Muslim League Council. In reply to a question by us, Mr. Chundrigar admitted that the Prime Minister had said, “without reference to these demands”, that if a question of law and order arose, it would be for the Provincial Government to tackle it, “but he did admit that enunciation of the Central Government’s policy one way or the other or the indecision of the Central Government would affect the law and order position”.

Then, says Mr. Chundrigar, on the 16th February 1953 there were further talks and the Prime Minister said he was hopeful of negotiations with the Ulama of various schools, and, relying on a difference of opinion between them, expected some of them to forbear from supporting “direct action”, which, therefore, might not materialise. In the event of failure, he intended to call a conference of the Ulama of the entire Muslim world.

Mr. Fazal Ilahi, counsel for the Punjab Government, suggested to the witness that on 26th August at Murree the Prime Minister was of the view that though the demands were not acceptable, if such a declaration were made, it would afford opportunity to the agitators to excite the masses. The reply was that “he did not express any such view on the 26th August. In my presence this view was expressed by him for the first time on 16th February 1953 in Lahore”.

The question put by us in respect of Kh. Nazim-ud-Din’s attitude to law and order and the question put by Mr. Fazal Ilahi in respect of his attitude to the demands bring out two very important features of Kh. Nazim-ud-Din’s defence, but if they are not read as supplementary to Mr. Chundrigar’s version of the meetings of the 26th August and the 16th February as given by him in answer to the questions of Mr. Daultana’s counsel, the impression one gets is that Kh. Nazim-ud-Din was thinking of the Ulama only and of nothing else.

If these questions had not been put, we were likely to form an incomplete view of his conduct. It is true that the Ulama, occupied his mind a great deal, but these answers show that he was also alive to the law and order situation and that he had communicated to the Provincial Government his views about the demands at least on the 16th of February. If that be true, what was it that the Provincial Government wanted to know when on the 21st of February 1953, under the Chief Secretary’s signature, a letter was sent to the Ministry of Interior requesting it to “enunciate the firm policy that they want to adopt with reference to these demands”, as such enunciation “will considerably strengthen their hands”?

At one stage of his statement, Mr. Daultana’s grievance was that Kh. Nazim-ud-Din followed a policy of concession to the Ulama, in order that he might utilise them on other fronts. “I think his policy was to concentrate attention entirely on the religious issues so that by this concentration, and by obtaining wide popularity, he might get through many other provisions (of constitution-making) such as parity and the language issue.

* * *

I have no reasons to doubt his religions sincerity”. (This Two important points in Mr. Chundrigar’s evidence.

Concession to Ulama for ulterior objects. was said in explanation to a Court question) “I think he was exploiting religious susceptibilities for his own political ends. It was a happy position that both his religious convictions and his politics ran in the same direction,” In. that case, it would be unfair to say that he was making any concession to the Ulama for ulterior motives. But Mr. Daultana’s counsel was on firmer ground when he questioned Kh. Nazim-ud-Din on his religious beliefs in relation to the conception of an Islamic State, the object apparently being to show how profoundly his politics were influenced by those beliefs. According to Kh. Nazim-ud-Din, the Qaid-i-Azam himself had an Islamic Constitution for his ideal: Pakistan, in fact, had been achieved on this assurance.

He did not accept the suggestion that it was the Qaid-i-Azam’s view to have in Pakistan a single nation consisting of Muslims and non-Muslims, with equal rights of citizenship, because, if that had been his view, he would not have advised the reorganisation of the Muslim League. When he was reminded that in his address to the Constituent Assembly on the 11th August, 1947, the Qaid-i-Azam had hoped that “in course of time, Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State”, he frankly said this was not his view of religion or of an Islamic State.

He also admitted that in the interim report of the Basic Principles Committee about the future constitutional set-up submitted during the life of Khan Liaqat Ali Khan, the picture presented was not that of a religious State. The present report, he added, had resulted from long discussions held with the Ulama in the company of three other Ministers, Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar being one of them. In short, the atmosphere in which the present report was born was one of austere religiosity. How was it possible for a

Government so thoroughly steeped in religion to reject the demands?

There is force in this argument, and in the absence of other circumstances it could well have been said that Kh. Nazim-ud-Din gave an impression that he might accept the demands in good time. But some of the Ulama who waited on him in deputations have made statements before us which convince us that his attitude ought to have been clear to an intelligent person. Maulana Murtaza Ahmad Khan Maikash saw him twice, on the 13th and 16th of August, 1952, with three or four other persons. “

He said that our demand relating to the declaration of Ahmadis as a minority was within the sphere of the Constituent Assembly. We asked him whether, as leader of the Assembly, he would or would not raise that question. He said that he would consider this matter”. In regard to Ch. Muhammad Zafrullah Khan, “he finally expressed his opinion that he would not take any action in the matter”. As regards the removal of Ahmadis from key-posts, he said that the case would have to be “presented” to him by the deputation—whatever that might mean—and that he would then consider it sympathetically. But at the same time he asked them whether they had seen the press communique of 14th August. In other words, that should have been enough.

Kh. Nazim-ud-Din’s concept of an Islamic State.

He was steeped in religion

What impression he gave to Ulama:

Maulana Maikash


In fact, if Maulana Abul Hasanat is to be believed, that is exactly what Kh. Nazim-ud-Din said. “We again asked him whether Government had taken any decision in respect of the three demands. He enquired from us if we had seen the press communique issued by the Central Government to the effect that Ministers and Government officers were not to indulge in sectarian and religious propaganda. We said that we had seen the aforesaid communique as well as Ch. Muhammad Zafrullah Khan’s observations in regard to it.

Kh. Nazim-ud-Din then said that the action taken by the Government, namely, the publication of the communique, should satisfy us. We said that the communique had nothing to do with the demands that we had presented to him”.

Four or five months later, Maulana Abul Hasanat again met him, this time with Maulana Akhtar Ali Khan and some others. This must have been in December 1952, because there was a subsequent meeting in January, Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din then told the deputation that “he had given a good deal of thought to the matter and had arrived at the result that it was difficult for him to concede the demands”. In January, he told them that “if he removed Chaudhri Muhammad Zafrullah Khan from the Cabinet, Pakistan would not get a grain of wheat from America”. After they had heard this, they said nothing about the other two demands.

Maulana Abdul Haamid Badayuni met him in with five other members of the Central Majlis-i-Amal on or after 18th January 1953, but his evidence is not very convincing, though clear enough for an inference. According to him, the Prime Minister had expressed himself as being unable to remove Ch. Muhammad Zafrullah Khan because of his importance in the water dispute between India and Pakistan and of the food situation, but as regards the main question, he was prepared to consider it. Asked why the Council bad started “direct action” if on the main question the Prime Minister was accommodating, the Maulana replied that the answer to the other two demands was not satisfactory. On six or seven previous occasions the Prime Minister had promised to concede the Demands, “but that we should wait”. The witness’s impression, however, was that “apart from any other obligation, he was not willing to concede them”.

Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din himself does not claim that he clearly told the Ulama at any time that he was not prepared to declare the Ahmadis a minority. This was because he wished to avoid a “head on” clash. No one asked him what a “head on” clash exactly means, but we suppose the idea conveyed by it is this. If you tell a man you are not going to accept his demand for something and that he can go to the more blazing of the two estates to which people are transferred hereafter, it fires him with infinitely more enthusiasm for what he regards as his mission than when you express sympathy with his point of view but regret that it is not possible for you to oblige him or that you have overwhelming difficulties. In such cases you are always willing to give further thought to the matter, but if that overflow of good-will which should characterise the utterances of a true public man leads any person to any sort of paradise, it cannot be the paradise of a wise man.

Maulana Abul Hasanat.

Maulana Abul Hasanat again.

Maulana Badayuni

Did not clearly tell them


At another stage of his statement, Mr. Daultana contended that the policy of the Centre was one of drift. That would not indicate any intention, but lack of the power of decision. But if the Centre is drifting in its own sphere, does it not stir provincial leadership to a stronger realization of its duty to save itself from the drift? We are not thinking of that exceptional type of leader-ship which rises to the surface in an hour of emergency. We are considering the common run of man, somewhat above the average, who can, by the exercise of commonsense and industry, help a lame donkey to its destination. Mr. Daultana replied that he could devise no better way of saving his own government from drift because it was clearly indicated in the Karachi conference of August 1952 and subsequently that the demands and the speeches, so long as they kept within law, could not be prohibited.

To the last minute he was not certain the that Prime Minister would not concede the Demands. The object of the negotiations with the Ulama appeared to be to persuade the leaders not to press the demands as an immediate objective. If this is the impression that Mr. Daultana received from the Prime Minister’s conduct, it is unfortunate; but the party concerned, the Ulama, had a very different impression. It was not a mere impression in their case they heard it straight from the man concerned. Consequently, there could be but one object in negotiating—to persuade the Ulama to yield, rather than to displease them by a blunt answer. Further, although it is true that the Prime Minister advocated liberty of expression, particularly of religious thought, his contention is that the speeches did not keep within the law; nevertheless they were not muzzled. It will be found in due course that this contention is not gratuitous.

The argument that the Prime Minister’s injunction to avoid clash with the Ulama resulted in failure to take action in the provincial sphere assumes that the Ulama were a set of rowdy and abusive fanatics who preached violence and revelled in the sight of blood. Perhaps they will not deny being called fanatics, but not one of them was prepared to admit before us that he did not condemn violence. Maulana Maikash, who argued the ease of the Ulama with remarkable vigour, condemned all abusive utterances made by petty leaders, notwithstanding his own fanatical zeal against the Ahmadis. These utterances, it will be found in the sequel, were made by Sayyed Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari, Maulvi Muhammad Ali Jullundhri, Sayyed Muzaffar Ali Shah Shamsi, Master Tajud-Din, and a few others—we should not forget Maulana Akhtar Ali Khan— but these gentlemen do not pretend to know anything profound about religion or to belong to the hierarchy of the Ulama. Sayyed Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari, upon being questioned as to the form of future government that he contemplated, replied that the question was for the Ulama to answer. He is thus the only Amir-i-Shari’at without a religious portfolio.

But, after everything has been said in reply to Mr. Daultana’s complaints against the Centre, it is difficult to appreciate the intensity of the fear which Kh. Nazim-ud-Din had of a head-on clash with the Ulama. “Any decision rejecting the demands would have led to the Policy of drift Ulama of negotiations

Object not ostensibly in favour of violence.

Preachers of violence are not Ulama.

Kh. Nazim-ud-Din’s fears about a head-on clash are unreal.

slaughter of a very large number of Muslims, who would honestly lay down their lives, thinking that they were courting martyrdom. If any bloodshed has been caused, I maintain that before God I shall not be held responsible, but if I had taken the offensive and plunged the country into a religious war, I am sure I would have been condemned both-here and hereafter. The situation would have been ten times worse if the fight had been on merits and not on the law-and-order question, and it is doubtful whether we would have ultimately succeeded”. With great respect, it seems to us that this view, notwithstanding its transparent sincerity, is affected by sentiment. The victims of the disturbances, apart from the Ahmadis and officials, belonged to two classes: those who courted martyrdom and those who exploited such occasions for prosecuting criminal designs, and neither of them could distinguish a law-and-order situation from a fight on merits. The fanatic believed in all circumstances that he was fighting for a noble cause: it required only a Bukhari to tell him so.

The knave and vagabond did not care whether it was the Prophet’s honour or a dozen bicycle tubes that he was risking his life for; it needed only a Bukhari to proclaim the Prophet’s honour. Very few people in Lahore knew on the morning of the 27th February that the Ulama had been arrested because they had decided to send pickets to the house of the Prime Minister. The arrests, they thought, had been occasioned by the non-acceptance of the Demands. It also appears that Kh. Nazim-ud-Din had been told by Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan something about the Frontier and the tribes, and Kh. Nazim-ud-Din expected a holy war if the demands had been rejected.

Well, now the demands have been rejected: they were rejected on the 27th February of last year. And the tribes do not know whether the little breeze in Lahore was occasioned by the rejection of the demands or by the surfeit of criminal talent incidental to big townships. It all depends on what you tell them. Therefore, it all depends on the man who tells them and the paper who tells them; whether it is a person who believes language to be primarily the vehicle of abuse and malice, and who thinks, when wielding the mighty pen, that he can stir any filthy pool with it. In short, it is a matter of “educating” the Public, as Maulana Maudoodi discovered about the end of February 1953, or of “canalising” a religious or political trend, as Mir Nur Ahmad knew long ago.

The Ulama are a very learned class and entitled, like all devotees of learning, to great respect. But like all learned persons whose energy has been directed to specialisation, they have developed a single-track mind, and a single-track mind has dangerous possibilities. You cannot do without specialists, but you need a “general practitioner”, a person well-grounded in all subjects which are the particular province of the specialist, to co-ordinate their activities. In respect of subjects other than his own, the specialists’s outlook is bound to be narrow. We have no admiration for cheap terms like mullaism or fanaticism. A common graduate, without anything but surface knowledge of any of his subjects, revels in these phrases as though he himself were a superior being. You might as well accuse a botanist of botanicism or a chiropodist of chiropodism. We therefore do not say that the Ulama’s outlook is narrow because they are Ulama; it is narrow because they are specialists in one branch of life. They look for rain that their own small crop should thrive; they do not know or care where it injures another small

Ulama, like all specialists, have a single-track mind.

crop five miles away. The Ulama have frankly told us, without the blinking of an eye,— to say nothing of tears— that they do not care what happens to Muslims in other countries, so long as their own particular brand of Islam gains currency here. To quote a single instance, the Amir-i-Shari’at said that the-remaining 64 crores—the figure is his own—

“should think out their own destiny”. Perhaps for those teeming millions, the solution suggested by Maulana Muhammad Ali Kandhalvi of Sialkot is the most practicable—to change their ideology and religious views according as they are in Lahore, Delhi or Timbuctoo.

Consequently, for those who have to look after the crop not only here, but also in China and Peru, it is imperative to consult all-embracing interests and deny irrigation here and there. If Kh. Nazim-ud-Din was convinced that the demands cannot be conceded, there should have been no hesitation in rejecting them. What he was reluctant to do was to “crush” the Ulama. How the rejection of the demands could result in crushing the Ulama, except in a metaphorical sense, is difficult to understand. Such, however, was his regard for the Ulama that on the 27th February

1953, just before direct action came to the door of his house, he threatened resignation in the hope that “if the Ulama did not listen to reason and realize that they were endangering the safety of Pakistan, they should be shocked into this realization by my offer of resignation”.

We were startled by the abundance of faith which this observation carried, and remarked that perhaps the Ulama would have welcomed his resignation as a feather in their caps (some of them wear caps now) and used it against future governments in similar situations. It seemed also to be his view that the Ulama represented the public. It has already been shown how a demand acquires the status of a public demand, and Kh. Nazim-ud-Din has himself stated that the reason why Maulana Maudoodi dissociated himself from “direct action” was that, according to him, the time was not ripe for it. In other words, the demands were not sufficiently public. Maulana Maudoodi stated in one place—not before this Court—that the movement was known only in the Punjab and Bahawalpur, where also it had not the support of the intelligent section, and that considerable propaganda was necessary to enlist public sympathy.

The demands, therefore, must be regarded to be those of the Ahrar in the first instance and of the Ulama later. If they had been rejected early enough, the Government might have been called an infidel government, but worse things have been said of the Government and Kh. Nazim-ud-Din, and nothing has happened to them. Perhaps Khan Sardar Bahadur Khan was right in forming three categories of people— those who believed genuinely in the demands, those who wanted to make political capital out of them and those who were given to understand that if they pressed, and pressed hard, the Central Government would accept them—and observing that the majority of people belonged to the third group, which would have withdrawn from the movement if a clear stand had been taken by the Centre. Opinions always differ and are apt to be categorical, but our idea of what people call a public demand is far from that of something sacrosanct. It may not be based on anything real, but if you can get the support Disregard of Muslims in other countries.