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Anti Ahmadiyya Movement in Pakistan

Statement of the problem

“The Ahmadiyya is the newest of Islamic sects, distinguished from the main body of Muslims by certain doctrinal peculiarities and by the social exclusiveness of its adherents,” writes Leonard Binder in his book Religion and Politics in Pakistan 1961. The Ahmadi Movement is an Islamic reformist movement founded in the British India in the late nineteenth century by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani (1835–1908), who claimed Prophethood, furthermore he claims to be the reformer, Messiah, Mahdi, (awaited by the Muslims) and what is predicted by many other religions of the world however, there are many controversies regarding the Community. The Ahmadis are the contemporary of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and they accept him as a Prophet because they believe that God revealed his eternal message through him.


The Ahmadiyya faith emerged from the Sunni tradition of Islam and its followers believe in all the five pillars required of Muslims however, their belief is in contradiction to the fundamental Islam that the Prophet Mohammad(PBUH) is the last of the Prophets and that after him there can be no other prophets. The Ahmadis claim to be Muslims and pretend that they follow Islam in its pristine form. However, many Muslim traditionalists consider them to be Non-Muslims due to their views about the return of Jesus, their concept of Jihad and their view about the seal of the prophethood. After the death of the first successor of the community it split into two factions, The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement, the later however is contended with the traditionalist Islamic belief that there can be no prophet after Mohammad (PBUH) and consider their movement as a reform movement. However the Ahmadiyya Muslim community believes that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad had received a revelation about the split in his community.


Since the movement’s inception, the Ahmadis have been subjected to various forms of persecution. In many Muslim countries they have been declared as heretics and Non-Muslims and are being subjected to systematic oppressions. After the independence of Pakistan a good portion of the community, considering themselves Muslims, opted for the Muslim nation. Following the independence of Pakistan Zafarullah Khan opted for the new Muslim state and Jinnah asked him to join the cabinet as Pakistan’s first Foreign Minister, but the fact he was also an Ahmadi made him a lightning rod for criticism from the orthodox religious organizations.


In Pakistan Ahmadis are opposed by various groups of Ulema and political parties (religious) due to their unorthodox beliefs however, some other political or non-political gains are also the reason of the wide agitation against Ahmadis. A number of Ahmadis had risen to high ranks in Pakistan Army, but in 1948 an Ahmadi Army officer was murdered when he approached a meeting where speeches were being delivered on the topic of the finality of the prophethood. Many riots took place in Punjab and Karachi regarding the Ahmadi question, a principle nemesis of the Ahmadis was the Majlis-Ahrar-i-Islam, founded in 1931, which after the creation of Pakistan became solely a religious organization. Along with it Jamiat-i-Islami, Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan and later the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam Pakistan, has always remained active in the demand of declaring Ahmadis as Non-Muslims. The main question has remained the making of the constitution of Pakistan, it was demanded that the Muslim should be defined as the one believed in the oneness of God and Mohammad to be the last Prophet. The Punjab riots targeting the Ahmadis began in February 1953, sparked by Ahraris and Jamat-i-Islami including journalists, Ulema and other politicians demanding the immediate removal of Zafarullah Khan from his post as Foreign Minister and to dismiss all Ahmadis on high ranking posts and to declare Ahmadis as Non-Muslim community. Due to disorder Martial law was imposed in Punjab, many perpetrators of the disorder were arrested and a number of religious-cum political groups were banned. Throughout the history of Pakistan there has been controversy regarding the question of Ahmadis and declaring the Ahmadis as Non-Muslims has always remained the demand of the religious parties. In 1974 Pakistan‘s parliament issued an ordinance according to which Ahmadis were declared as non-Muslims, the constitution was amended to define a Muslim “as a person who believes in the finality of the Prophet Muhammad”. In 1984 General Zia-Ul-Haq issued an ordinance according to which Ahmadis were forbidden to call themselves as Muslims. The present study is an attempt to analyze the anti-Ahmadiyya movement and the Ahmadi community emphasizing on the former.


Aims and Objectives of the Study

This study is aimed at exploring the history of Ahmadiyya community starting from its origin coming through the stages when it split and mainly during and after 1947. It is tried to see how and why anti-Ahmadiyya sentiments were aroused in people and later culminated in anti-Ahmadiyya Movement. Further it is investigated how the Ahmadi school of thought is in contradiction to the fundamental Islamic belief, and how Ahmadi Muslim community differs from Lahore Ahmadi Movement. Moreover, it explains the role of different religious and political groups in agitation against the Ahmadis and their role in Anti-Ahmadiyya Movement. It also addresses the problems faced by the Ahmadis during and after the creation of Pakistan. In addition the study analyzes how far the Anti-Ahmadiyya Movement was right in its demands.


Review of Literature

Many books are written on the Ahmadi community. Simon Ross in his book Islam and the Ahmadiyya Jamaat: History, Belief, Practice (2008) discusses the Ahmadiyya Community at length, Its History, belief and practice. Moreover the Mahzarnama: The Memorandum is a document submitted by the Ahmadi Community to the National Assembly of Pakistan in 1974, compiled as a book by Dr. Saleem-Ur- Rehman which takes into account the history, belief and nature of the Ahmadi community and also discusses various allegations and problems regarding the community. Furthermore, the history of the community and its long going struggle against the traditional Islamists is being analyzed very succinctly by Spencer Lavan in his book The Ahmadiyya Movement: Past and Present 1976.


However, there are only a few books written on the subject under study, which examine the anti Ahmadiyya Movement. These books include Lawrence Ziring’s well-known work Pakistan in the Twentieth Century: A Political History which highlights The Ahmadi controversy and its aftermath very briefly. Moreover, Leonard Binder’s famous book Religion and Politics in Pakistan sheds light on the Ahmadiyya controversy and the religious and constitutional issues regarding the Ahmadiyya controversy, it also examines role of different groups in the controversy religious or political and brings into account its consequences. However, as this literature review shows that very little work has been done on the subject under study. So there is a need to undertake systematic study on the anti-Ahmadiyya movement or the Ahmadiyya controversy, and the present study is an attempt to fill this gap in existing literature on the subject.


Research Questions to be addressed

The study raises and will try to address the following research questions:

  1. 1.                  How the anti Ahmadiyya Movement started and worked against the Ahmadis?
  2. 2.                  How different factors affected the social status of Ahmadis?
  3. 3.                  Why were the Ahmadis declared as Non-Muslims?
  4. 4.                  How far the anti Ahmadiyya Movement was non-political?
  5. 5.                  How does the Ahmadi Muslim Community differ from Lahore Ahmadi Movement?
  6. 6.                  What was the reaction of Ahmadi Muslim community to the anti-Ahmadiyya Movement?
  7. 7.                  What difficulties have the Ahmadiyya Muslim community faced in Pakistan?



The study on Anti-Ahmadiyya Movement is employed narrative-descriptive as well as exploratory and analytical approaches within the discipline of History. It is tried to describe how the Ahmadiyya community’s beliefs and doctrines emerged. Furthermore, it is tried to discuss how the anti-Ahmadiyya Movement initiated and how it affected the Ahmadi community. It also describes the Ahmadi community’s role regarding the anti-Ahmadiyya Movement. Furthermore, it analyzes the status of the Ahmadi community during the history of Pakistan.   


Organization of the Study

The study is divided into three sections. After the introduction, the first section discusses the History of the Ahmadiyya community and the different phases it passed through. The second section introduces the anti-Ahmadiyya Movement and also focus on the role of the Ahmadiyya community in different sections of society in Pakistan, and their response to anti Ahmadiyya Movement. The third section, which is the last section of the study, examines the consequences of the anti-Ahmadiyya movement and the phase in the History of Pakistan when Ahmadis were declared as non-Muslims this section also explores the difference between the Ahmadiyya Muslim community and the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement. It is followed by conclusion and bibliography.


Background of the Ahmadiyya Movement

The history of the Ahmadiyya movement is very important both for the Indian history and the Punjab history because it presents in a nut shell the issues of religious and communal conflict so prevalent during the past century. The controversy which still hangs over the Ahmadiyya movement is a controversy over the claim of its founder to` be the promised Messiah and Mahdi of Muslims.[i] It has been a controversy over whether he claimed to be a Nabi[ii], a claim which would be anathema to Muslims who believe Muhammad (S.A.W) to be the seal of the Prophets. Or was, as some would claim, that the founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement only use to call himself a Mujadid.


By observing the emergence of the Ahmadiyya community within Islam, one can easily understand the Ahmadiyya point of view and the controversial nature of the movement’s claims and aims. The concept of the coming of the Mahdi is very much a connotation present in Islam. It is believed that the Mahdi would come as representative of the God and would lead the Muslims in a bloody battle against the Kafirs. Moreover, In Quran the word Nabi and Rasul are been use for the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W), most of the Ulama interprets this to be the seal of the Prophethood, but the later revelation and Ilham has been left open. So, using these terms as excuse many Sufis, mostly during the Mughal times, has claimed to be receiving the revelation or Ilham from God through prophet, especially during the periods of Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi and Shah Wali Ullah.[iii]


However, during and after the war of 1857, the Muslims were in miserable conditions, they had lost any hope of restoring the Mughal rule. They were alienated from the British Government the only reformer at that time was a religious liberal minded Sir Sayed Ahmad Khan. Being loyal to British, he wanted the Muslims to take advantage of the education the British culture had to offer.[iv] However, he was not always in the favor of the British, in this regard he had made Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental defense Association. Its objects were to promote English among Muslims as it was necessary for modern education and for the promotion of relationship between the Muslims and the Britishers, to discourage the popular political agitation against the British. Many Ideas of Sayyid Ahmad were similar to the ideas of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad plus they were presented by him few decades earlier than Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, but with little opposition.


Many religious and political associations and reform movements were in progress during that period like Ahle Hadith movement which was descended from the so called “Wahabi” movement of Sayyid Ahmad Shahid, a movement which had fought against the Sikhs in 1820’s. This movement was more theological and fundamentalist in its approach. They came to strongly oppose the Ahmadis who indulged in taqlid[v]. The Hindu reform movements included the Brahmo Samaj which was brought to Lahore by Bengali Hindus serving their cause. Similarly, in 1877, numerous chapters of Arya Samaj movement were organized after the tour of Swami Deoanand. These movements had strong impacts on both Hindus and Muslims.[vi]

Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and his followers represented yet another response to this nineteenth century Islamic condition. Mirza’s movement was at first mainly of an educational type and later on turned to a religious one. However it was aimed against those urban movements which enunciated during that time. At the end of the 19th century, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian proclaimed himself to be the Reformer of the age, Mujaddid, Promised Messiah and the Mahdi awaited by the Muslims and obtained a considerable number of followers especially within the United Provinces, the Punjab and Sind. He and his followers claim that his advent was foretold by Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, and also by many other religious scriptures of the world. In 1889, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad laid down the foundation of his community, which was later given the name of “Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at”. Ahmadiyya emerged in India as a movement within Islam, also in response to the Christian and Arya Samaj missionary activity that was widespread in the 19th century.[vii]


Ahmadiyyah Movement, Doctrine and Foundation

The Ahmadiyyah was a heterodox sect founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908), a Punjabi, reacting against the efforts of Christian missionaries, he declared himself a Mujaddid, a renewer of the faith in 1882. thus he identified the Christian West, and particularly the economic, political, and religious colonialism, which was the dominant characteristic in the 19th century, as the manifestation of the Dajjal (the “imposter” i.e. apocalyptic Antichrist). Mirza Ghulam did not judge the Occident to be anti-traditional, but simply denounced it for its domination of Islamic countries. However, he ruled out holy war (jihad) as a course of action against the colonial powers, awaiting instead an “awakening” of the Islamic world.[viii]


Adding to that, He went on to enunciate a doctrine that Jesus had escaped death on the cross and had attained the age of 120 before dying and being buried in Srinagar. (In Islam, Jesus’ death on the cross was only apparent; according to the Islamic perspective regarding the crucifixion, Jesus did not  die and is still in a principal state, that is. in Being, from which he will return to this world to destroy the Dajjal and bring the world to its end.) Mirza Ghulam finally claimed that he was the Mahdi, as well as the Second Coming of Jesus, and moreover, the last avatara of Vishnu.

Interestingly, after Mirza Ghulam’s death, the Ahmadiyyah split into two subsects, the Qadianis and Lahorites.[ix] The Qadianis (after Qadian, birthplace of Mirza Ghulam) are called the Jama’at-I Ahmadiyyah, maintain his doctrines, more or less as they were propounded, and consider him a Nabi, or Prophet. By this, they establish a gulf between those who do not accept Mirza Ghulam as a Prophet, whom the Qadianis therefore consider to be Katirun, or nonbelievers[x]; the Sunnis in turn have been obliged to repudiate, by the pronouncements of religious courts, the Qadianis as non-Muslims.[xi] The Qadianis make the distinction that Mirza Ghulam was a Prophet, but not a law-prescribing Prophet. To this end they call him a zilli nahi (“shadow Prophet”) or buruzi nahi(“a manifesting Prophet”).The larger body of Ahmadi Muslims belonging in the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community however contend that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad himself received a revelation by God concerning a future split in his Community and that it would be concerning his Promised Son.[xii]


The Lahorites, less heterodox, hold Mirza Ghulam to be a Mujaddid or renewer only, and have not wished to lose solidarity with the rest of the Islamic world. They were led by Mawlana, Muhammad ‘Ali. He also translated the Koran into English, which was published along with Ahmadiyyah inspired interpretations and commentaries, and also wrote The Religion of Islam.

Both Ahmadiyyah sub sects were noted for energetic proselytizing through missionaries a technique adopted from Protestants the establishment of mosques abroad, and publication of propaganda materials, particularly in English, long before such activities were adopted by the Sunnis. As a result, the Ahmadiyyah gained footholds in Europe and America, and above all, in West Africa, where they organized schools and hospitals. But while accepting the methods of the Christian missionaries and the ideas of Western civilization, both groups are stridently anti-Christian.[xiii]


Their opposition to Christianity lies in their claim that it has deviated from its original beliefs and can no longer be considered a Religion of the Book (a revealed religion), and that It is, moreover, the great force for unbelief throughout the world. Among the first claims of Mirza Ghulam to eminence, was that “it was a sign of the Mahdi” to recognize the Dajjal[xiv], or Antichrist, as Ghulam recognized him, in Christianity.[xv]  After the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, the Qadiani branch moved to Rabwa in Pakistan and is headed by a leader entitled the Viceroy of the Messiah khalifatu-l-masih.


The Qadianis are evidently a departure from Islam, but the Lahorites are also considered with extreme reservation by the Sunni World for their sometimes novel and un-traditional interpretations of Islamic doctrine and practices, which include “conversion rituals” resembling Christian baptism. Nevertheless, there are approximately 500,000 Ahmadis, mostly in West Africa.[xvi] Current head, Mirza Tahir Ahmad, resides in London.[xvii]The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has established centers in 200 countries and states that its membership is in the tens of millions, while the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement states it is established in 17 countries of the world.[xviii] 

The Ahmadiyya movement was founded in 1889, but the name Ahmadiyya was not adopted until about a decade later. In a manifesto dated November 4, 1900, Ghulam Ahmad explained that the name did not refer to himself but to Ahmad, the alternative name of the prophet Muhammad. According to him, ‘Muhammad’, which means ‘the most praised one’, refers to the glorious destiny, majesty and power of the prophet, who adopted the name from about the time of the Hegira; but ‘Ahmad’, an Arabic elative form which means ‘highly praised’ and also ‘comforter’, stands for the beauty of his sermons, for the qualities of tenderness, gentleness, humility, love and mercy displayed by Muhammad, and for the peace that he was destined to establish in the world through his teachings. According to Ghulam Ahmad, these names thus refer to two aspects or phases of Islam, and in later times it was the latter aspect that commanded greater attention.[xix]

Accordingly, in Ghulam Ahmad’s view, this was the reason that the Old Testament prophesied a Messenger ‘like unto Moses,’ which referred to Mohammad, while according to the Qur’an, Jesus foretold a messenger named Ahmad.[xx]

In his 2003 The Oxford Dictionary of Islam, John Esposito explains Ahmadis’ belief, practice and history as follows:


“Ahmadis, controversial messianic movement founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in Qadian, Punjab (British-controlled India), in 1889. Founder claimed to be a non-legislating prophet, thus not in opposition to the mainstream belief in the finality of Muhammad’s legislative prophecy with a divine mandate for the revival and renewal of Islam. Dedicated to peaceful propagation of faith, production of literature, and establishment of mosques and missionary centers. Rejected by the majority of Muslims as heretical since it believes in ongoing prophethood after the death of Muhammad. Currently based in Pakistan, but forbidden to practice, preach, or propagate their faith as Islam or their places of worship as mosques. Consists of two factions: Qadiani and Lahori, who stress Ghulam Ahmad’s claim to be a renewer of the faith rather than a prophet.”[xxi]


Anti-Ahmadiyya Movement in Pakistan

With the decline of the Sufi movement in 18th century India, conversion to Islam had all but ceased. The advent of the Christian Missionaries was a great threat to Muslims than to Hindus. With the incursion of organizations in Punjab like Arya Samaj, Ahmadiyya was certainly one appealing to upper and middle class Muslims. As early as 1909 the Ahmadiyya community had encountered difficulties with the Sunni Muslims in Hong Kong over the question of burying an Ahmadi in Sunni graveyard. However, the jamat was continuously spreading to all the corners of the World.[xxii]


During the decade of the 1937-1947, the Ahmadiyyah controversy was relatively absent[xxiii], as the Britain was engaged in war with Germany and Japan. Being pro-British due to their stand on the jihad, the Ahmadis were ambivalent about their decision of whether to go with Pakistan where the schism might not be tolerated or to go with secular India. Once the partition took place almost all the Ahmadis migrated to Pakistan making their new center at Rabwah near Chiniot. But soon the controversy started on their teachings and practices and civil strife’s in Punjab started. Insultingly, they were alleged that Qadian had gone to Indian side due to the position of Zafarullah Khan in the Boundary commission; however, this argument was refuted by Justice Munir in the decision rendered in 1954, as the Chief Justice of the court of inquiry investigating disturbances in which many Ahmadis were killed and injured. One of the major elements in the persecution of the Ahmadis in 1953 was the Ahrars, their old enemy.[xxiv] The Ahrars were not liked or supported by the leaders as they had openly opposed the creation of Pakistan and had announced it as Palidistan and called Quaid-i-Azam as Kafir-i-Azam. After the creation of Pakistan they were also in puzzle which country to join. However the opted for Pakistan and made their Organization purely a religious one due the lack of leadership. In political terms they agreed to follow Muslim League. [xxv]


In Pakistan, they started to hold several Islamic seminars and conferences and in one of these conferences they declared Ahmadis as Non-Muslims. Particularly criticized Ghulam Ahmad and Zafarullah Khan, the later was even declared as threat to Islam as he did not join funeral prayers of Jinnah when they were lead by Non-Ahmadi Imam. The police did nothing to prevent the Ahraris from these sorts of speeches. Yet the brutal murder of a young Ahmadi officer in Quetta, were the early sign of hostility against the Ahmadis. Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari a renowned Ahrari leader, in order to recruit people in his organization started to vilify Ahmadis.[xxvi]


The Ahmadis were establishing international centers at Rabwah, these included schools, colleges, business centers and shops etc. this took hard work of various Ahmadis, but later they became victim to the hostilities of Ahraris spread riots. Although, the government was informed by various sources about the activities of Ahmadis, for instance, they had raised the issue of Seal of the ProphetHood which actually meant eradication of Ahmadis. Furthermore, they wanted Ahmadis to be declared as non-Muslim minority and thirdly the eradication of Zafarullah Khan from the post of Foreign Minister.[xxvii] Government was also not happy with some of the Ahmadi response as it had advised Zafarullah Khan not to address an Ahmadi Rally in Jahangir Park, Karachi in mid May, 1952.[xxviii] The Foreign Minister Zafarullah Khan was asked by the Prime Minister to refrain from speaking, but Zafarullah was committed to address the rally. When he spoke the agitation started in Karachi, the only thing he said was that Islam is a live religion, even that mild of a speech resulted in an agitation and the agitator groups which included Ahrars, Jamat Islami, Jamiat Ulama-e-Pakistan and the Ahle-Hadith, declared Zafarullah Khan to be the responsible for the agitation. They made their demands even stronger and demanded immediate declaration of Ahmadis as non-Muslims and removal of Ahmadis from all important Posts.[xxix]


From the point of Karachi meetings of 1952 up to the institution of Martial Law in Punjab in March, 1953, a Martial law which remained in effect till May of that year, the conflict between the Ahmadis and their opponents grew more intense. Disturbances reached their peak during the early months of 1953 following the delivery of an ultimatum by the Majlis-i-Amal deputed by the all Pakistan Muslim Parties Convention delivered to and rejected by the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Khawajah Nazim-ud-Din. The ultimatum threatened directions if Ahmadis were not declared as non-Muslim minority and if all Ahmadis, Zafarullah Khan included, were not removed from high positions of Government.[xxx]


The Governor of Punjab promulgated an ordinance on June 19, which set up a court to inquire into the circumstances leading up to the declaration of Martial law, the responsibility for the disturbances, and the adequacy of measures taken by the government authorities to prevent the civil disturbances. Justice Munir probed into the situation and found that different factors were responsible except Ahmadis. He asked different Ulama why they consider Ahamdis as non-Muslims and got the answer, because they are Dhimis and Dhimis cannot be regular citizens. He then asked the Ulamas how they will define a true Muslim and got a wide variety of answers from 9 Ulamas.[xxxi] Every ones answer would exclude the other one from Islam. So, keeping that in view he asked the Ulama how they could exclude Ahmadis if they themselves don’t have similar answers. Some Ulama gave 5 essentials for a true Muslim while some only two and many from 6 to 9, this disagreement between the Ulama however turned the case. In addition to recognizing the right of the Ahmadis to consider them Muslims, this noted court hearing went on to place the responsibility for the civil disorders squarely where it belonged, with the Ulama of the association represented in the All-Pakistan Muslim Parties Convention and particularly with the Ahrar.[xxxii]


Amazingly, after the Munir report the community was in relatively peace for some two decades the country was in war twice in 1965 and 1971, and no real attention was put towards Ahmadis. However, the summer of 1974 demonstrated that the controversy over Ahmadiyya community was not yet over. At Rabwah, some medical students waiting for the train started shouting anti-Ahmadiyya slogans. As a result the government agreed to discuss the status of Ahmadis and finally in 1974, through an amendment in the constitution of 1973 they were declared as non-Muslim minority of Pakistan. However the Ahmadiyya community had tried to defend themselves by presenting Mahzarnama in the National Assembly, but all their efforts went in vein.[xxxiii]                                      


In history of Pakistan, it has been the practice that whenever some government saw their boat bottom was hitting the rocks and needed rescue; to save their face and utter humiliation; they invariably have come up with a trump cards of Ahmadiyya issue by making them the scapegoat and diverted the attention of masses and obscured and covered up their follies. So much so that extremist seeing their popularity graph going down have exclusively tried to attack Ahmadiyya worship places; killing some 94 in Lahore; hoping that they may reap some sympathy in the public eye by killing Ahmadis since declared Infidels.[xxxiv]


Pakistan has roughly 4 million Ahmadis and is the only state to have officially declared the Ahmadis to be non-Muslims as they do not regard the Prophet Muhammad to be the final prophet here their freedom of religion has been curtailed by a series of ordinances, acts and constitutional amendments. In 1974 Pakistan‘s parliament adopted a law declaring Ahmadis to be non-Muslims the country’s constitution was amended to define a Muslim “as a person who believes in the finality of the Prophet Muhammad”. In 1984 General Zia-ul-Haq, the then military ruler of Pakistan issued Ordinance XX.[xxxv] The ordinance, which was supposed to prevent “anti-Islamic activities”, forbids Ahmadis to call themselves Muslim or to “pose as Muslims”. This means that they are not allowed to profess the Islamic creed publicly or call their places of worship mosques.[xxxvi]Ahmadis in Pakistan are also barred by law from worshipping in non-Ahmadi mosques or public prayer rooms, performing the Muslim call to prayer, using the traditional Islamic greeting in public, publicly quoting from the Quran, preaching in public, seeking converts, or producing, publishing, and disseminating their religious materials. These acts are punishable by imprisonment of up to three years. In applying for a passport or a national ID card, all Pakistanis are required to sign an oath declaring Mirza Ghulam Ahmad to be an impostor prophet and all Ahmadis to be non-Muslims.[xxxvii]


As a result of the cultural implications of the laws and constitutional amendments regarding Ahmadis in Pakistan, persecution and hate-related incidents are constantly reported from different parts of the country. Ahmadis have been the target of many attacks led by various religious groups. All religious seminaries and Madrassah in Pakistan belonging to different sects of Islam have prescribed essential reading materials specifically targeted at refuting Ahmadiyya beliefs.


In a 2005 survey in Pakistan, pupils in private schools of Pakistan expressed their opinions on religious tolerance in the country. The figures assembled in the study reflect that even in the educated classes of Pakistan, Ahmadis are considered to be the least deserving minority in terms of equal opportunities and civil rights. In the same study, the teachers in these elite schools showed an even lower amount of tolerance towards Ahmadis than their pupils. Ahmadis are harassed by certain schools, universities and teachers in Pakistan’s Punjab province. The harassment includes social boycott, expulsions, threats and violence against Ahmadi students by extremist students, teachers and principals of the majority sect.[xxxviii]


28 May 2010 saw the worst single incident of violence against Ahmadis to date when several members of an extremist religious group (allegedly Tehrik-e-Taliban Punjab) entered two Ahmadi mosques in Lahore and opened fire; three of them later detonated themselves. In total, the attacks claimed the lives of 95 people and injured well over 100. The members were gathered in the mosques attending Friday services. In response to the attacks, Pakistan minister for minorities Shahbaz Bhatti visited the Ahmadi community.[xxxix]



The Ahmadiyya movement from its inception has remained controversial. Its founder Mirza Ghulam Ahamd usually had to confront hostile Anti-Ahmadiyya Ulama and used to attend dialogues on different interval of times. The arguments the Ahmadis and non-Ahmadis use against each other are on both sides logical and somehow acceptable. But as far as Pakistan is concerned the Ahmadiyya controversy here has been of a political nature. In order to take high positions, to take advantage in business, to gain fame or to get popular support, the Ahmadis have always been targeted. In 1974 Z.A Bhutto wanted to become the Maha leader of Asia but country was still sizzling in the fire set by the humiliating Fall of Dacca in East Pakistan. It was a colossal failure of national strategic outlook and diplomacy at the hands of the rulers which eventually resulted in the shape of Dacca debacle. Pakistan had lost its half of the territory.

To put up some brave face and recover from the utter humiliation that this nation was made to suffer; a unique recovery plan was carved to stir the religious sensitivity among masses and to harness the blood thirsty opposition parties along with religious gangs, the Ahmadiyya card was called. This would certainly line up all the oppositions behind Z.A. Bhutto. Some 93000 Pakistani war prisoners were still held by India. . At this time, the nation was in need of hard works of its rehabilitation and giving them ample hope for their future but strangely Mr. Bhutto  took some of the leafs out of Niccol’o Machiavelli, ‘Manual for Tyrannical Rulers’. He gave peoples the  slogan of Roti,Kapra aur Makan (Food, clothing and shelter for all the poor) to enchant and  pulled a contentious Ahmadiyya religious card to divert the attention of nation that he got no other solution at hand to balm or heal the deep war scars, the sufferings and oppression. Z.A. Bhutto was able to make a substantial leap forward to make his place high to become a Maha Leader in Asia, a powerful man. He was now poised there in disguise to take on the job of ‘Renaissance of Lost Glory of Islam’. But sadly it did not take very long that man was sent down the gallows by the military dictator chief General Zia-Ul-Haq, the man on whose crutches Bhutto was standing. This was a tragic end of an ambitious man. But during his tenure Bhutto could set a pace for Pakistan as a potent country which could lead the Islamic world. But the irony is that not a single demonstration was held in his favor, the day he was set down in the grave.


After Bhutto’s demise, General Zia-Ul-Haq very conveniently moved forward to become the Ameer-Ul-Momineen and went head on to act as proxy of United States and  lodged a jihad war in Afghanistan (on US terms) to evict the US rival power; Soviet Union occupying Afghanistan. General Zia-Ul-Haq as Ameer-Ul-Momineen was looking forward to see a dawn of Pan Islamism in this entire exercise.


He brought lot many changes in the religious fields in the country and lots of work were done to inculcate a new religious doctrine in the military forces.. The National motto given by the founder of nation Qaid-i-Azam of; Unity, Faith and Discipline was also replaced with; Emman, Taqwah and jihad. Accordingly once again the religious anti Ahmadiyya psyche and sentiments were aroused among the masses as well as in military. It was planned to use Ahmadiyya as a scapegoat once again. This time, if this scapegoat was shown being dealt with more impunity, it would certainly pacify the opposition and unite the masses for a good long time.


Accordingly General Zia-Ul-Haq formulated a Presidential notification called as Ordinance XX of 1984 and announced a most draconian law  which will seize all the human rights of Ahmadis as their being a free Pakistani citizen. Hence severe punishments were announced if they were found practicing or preaching their religion and posing as Muslims.  Later a new criminal code of 1986 were also added to the ordinance with new section especially, 295c to punish any Ahmadi and he be killed by any person if in his personal capacity, he was satisfied that a particular Ahmadi was seen praying, reciting kalmia, the names of Allah or the name of Prophet Muhammad (saw), This would have incite his religious sentiments and thus he may kill him.  However, as mentioned earlier the present execution of the Ahmadis should be curbed the government authorities and the Ahmadis should be given their rights regardless of their beliefs as respected nation and the minority of Pakistan.

[i]Spencer Lavan, The Ahmadiyya Movement: Past and Present, (Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, 1976), 3.

[ii]The claim to be a Nabi is far more unacceptable for the Muslims, as the claim deputes the finality of the prophethood as mentioned by Hazrat Muhammad (SAW).

[iii]Ibid., 4.

[iv]Ibid., 6.

[v]Taqlid (accepting authority without question on religious matters, that is, authority from sources not found in Quran or Hadith)

[vi]Leonard Binder, Religion and Politics in Pakistan (Berkley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1961), 262.

[vii]Spencer, The Ahmadiyya Movement, 9,11,12.

[viii]Simon Ross Valentine, Islam and the Ahmadiyya Jama’at: History, Belief, Practice (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008), 68-70.

[ix]Ibid., 75.

[x]There is contradiction between the Lahore Ahmadis and The Ahmadiyya Muslim jamaat, the former believe that Mirza did not Claim to be a Nabi he only used to call himself a Mujadid renewer/ Reformer ( a claim far more acceptable in Islam). While the later are of the view that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad did Claim to be a Nabi and Consider the Lahore Ahmadis as Heretics. However, in Pakistan both the communities are declared as non-Muslims.

[xi]Leonar, Religion and Politics in Pakistan, 264-267.

[xii]Ibid., 268.

[xiii]Seyyed Vali Reza Nasr, Mawdudi and the Making of Islamic Revivalism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996) 187.

[xiv]Mirza Ghulam Ahmad had a belief that he had recognized Dajjal in Christianity, so this is a tool used as his justification of being Mahdi as the one who would recognize Dajjal.

[xv]Reza, Mawdudi and the Making of Islamic Revivalism, 190.

[xvi]Ibid., 192.

[xvii]Different internet sources are brought into effect while calculating the current statistics of the Ahmadi community, however, the sources by and large comprise of Ahmadis composed work.

[xviii]Reza, Mawdudi and the Making of Islamic Revivalism, 196.

[xix]William L. Richer, “The Political Meaning of Islamization in Pakistan: Prognosis, Implications, and Questions”. In Anita M. Weiss, ed., Islamic Reassertion in Pakistan the application of Islamic Law in a Modern State (Lahore: Vanguard, 1987)134.

[xx]Ibid., 53.

[xxi]John Esposito, The Oxford Dictionary of Islam (London, Oxford University Press, 2003) 23-78.

[xxii]Spencer, The Ahmadiyya Movement, 14-20.

[xxiii]During these phases the country was confronted with numerous problems and no real attention could be paid towards Ahmadis. However once the state got out of these issues Ahmadis were once again made the target by different organizations.

[xxiv]Leonard, Religion and Politics in Pakistan, 274.

[xxv]Ibid., 277.

[xxvi]Ibid., 280.

[xxvii]Spencer, The Ahmadiyya Movement, 25-35.

[xxviii]Ibid., 36.

[xxix]Lawrence Ziring, Pakistan in the Twentieth Century: A Political History (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 1997), 85.

[xxx]M. Rafique Afzal, Political Parties in Pakistan: 1947-1958: Vol. 1 (Islamabad: National Institute of Historical and Cultural Research, 1998), 50-76.

[xxxi]Muhammad Munir, The Munir Report (Lahore: The Government of Punjab, 1954), 102-150.

[xxxii]Rafique, Political Parties in Pakistan, 80.

[xxxiii]Spencer, The Ahmadiyya Movement, 40.

[xxxiv]Oleg Vasil’evich Pleshov, Islamism and Travails of democracy in Pakistan (Delhi: Greenwich Millennium Press, 2004), 77-87.

[xxxv]Ibid., 101.

[xxxvi]Ibid., 105.

[xxxvii]Ibid., 110.

[xxxviii]Dawn, 26 October 2005.

[xxxix]Dawn, 20 May 2010.

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