Global Legal Forum: By Yasser Latif Hamdani: LAHORE Jan 23, 2012: They are officially denounced by the state as heretics. Their places of worship are demolished. Hardly a week goes by without one of them being murdered in cold blood. Their children are expelled from schools. Even their dead are not spared. They are not allowed to bury their dead in a public cemetery and their special graveyards are desecrated by masked men. The precipice at which the Ahmadis of Pakistan stand and the horrors that are likely to follow, however, are not unknown to the readers in the west, especially to the survivors of the Holocaust in Germany.
Ahmadis say they are Muslims and believe that their founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad who died 1908, was a subordinate prophet of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the founder of Islam. This most other Muslims sects believe is heresy and militates against the principle of the finality of Muhammad (PBUH)’s prophethood. Ahmadis also interpret the Islamic concept of Jihad as a purely ethical and non-violent struggle to achieve goodness and distinguish it from harb (war) or qital (killing). Given that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad preached his message when the British were ruling India, many Sunni Muslims believe that Ahmad was working at the behest of the British. Despite this antagonism, Ahmadis were actively involved in the movement for the creation of a separate Muslim majority state which led to the partition of India and the creation of Pakistan. In the early years the community did quite well in the new state but in 1974, the government of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto passed a constitutional amendment declaring Ahmadis non-Muslims.