“Naya” Pakistan or “Na” Pakistan: Not Jinnah’s Pakistan without Ahmadiyya Votes

Written for Muslims Times by Abdul Alim 07 May 2013:

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community will boycott of Pakistan 2013 Elections. We look at the implications and impact of this on the future of Pakistan.

A recent press release by the Spokesperson of Ahmadiyya Muslims community in Pakistan states the following reasons for its boycott of the upcoming elections.

“No Ahmadi will vote on May 11 to register his or her protest on the discrimination against Ahmadis,”

According to election rules, the basic requirement to be a voter is Pakistani citizenship, and not the religious or ideological beliefs a citizen holds.

“The voter registration form that the Election Commission of Pakistan has issued has a special entry for religion. In order to register as a voter, Ahmadis have to disassociate from the Holy Prophet, which no Ahmadi could ever imagine,”

“It is important to note that for a joint electorate, there is supposed to be a single voters’ list for everyone but in the 2002 and 2008 general elections, special orders were issued to prepare separate voters’ lists for Ahmadis. This was not changed for the upcoming general election and the Election Commission had included the special entry for Ahmadis in its guide for preparing the voters’ list,”

The upright and honest Election Commissioner Fakhruddin G. Ibrahim, who, as a lawyer had fought a case defending the Ahmadiyya position on being discriminated against based on the notorious Ordinance XX of 1984, has been most unfortunate to preside over this farce of an election, perhaps the most unfair and unfree in the history of the country.

Given his impeccable track record, Mr. Ibrahim was approached about the absolute unfairness of the separate electoral lists maintained for Ahmadi Muslims by the community. Nothing came of it, resulting in the above press release.

This comes after a spate of fatwas exchanged between JUI-F and PTI in which the leaders of both parties tried to outdo each other in what seemed to be a competition on who can declare Ahmadiyya Muslims as the highest of the infidels or non-believers. On the surface it may appear to some as innocent jostling for political space and selfish acrobatics to win votes or deflecting a damaging information byte on the media, at the eve of the elections, in reality it is much more sinister than this and here is why.

The implications of the non-participation of Ahmadiyya community must be situated in a historical perspective before it can be fully understood. Here below for your comparison are two statements that will paint the picture of the abysmal regression that has happened in Pakistan. In 1944, Jinnah the secularist, jurist par excellence gave this statement:

““Ahmadis are Muslims, If They Say They are Muslims and No One, Not Even the Sovereign Legislature, has the Right to Say Otherwise.” – Muhammad Ali Jinnah, 05 May 1944.

“I have been asked a disturbing question, as to who among the Muslims can be a member of the Muslim Conference. It has been asked with particular reference to the Qadianis (Ahmadis). My reply is that, as far as the constitution of the All-India Muslim League is concerned, it stipulates that any Muslim, without distinction of creed or sect, can become a member, provided he accepts the views, policy and programme of the Muslim League, signs the form of membership and pays the subscription. I appeal to the Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir not to raise sectarian questions, but instead to unite on one platform under one banner. In this lies the welfare of the Muslims. In this way, not only can Muslims make political and social progress effectively, but so can other communities, and so also can the state of Kashmir as a whole. What right have I to declare a person non-Muslim, when he claims to be a Muslim.” – Muhammad Ali Jinnah, 23rd May, 1944, Srinagar

About seventy years later in 2013, those who were instrumental in the creation of Pakistan by convincing Jinnah to return to lead the Muslim of the sub-continent have been treated to the following:

In a widely accessed video message, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan said that he would neither revise nor repeal any current laws pertaining to the Ahmadi community, since these were in consonance with his personal beliefs.

Article 260-3 of the 1973 Constitution declares Ahmadis “non-Muslims”. Furthermore, Article 298-B, amongst other things, prevents an Ahmadi from referring to his/her place of worship as a ‘masjid’ or referring to his/her call for prayers as ‘azaan’.

The PTI chief said that those who do not believe that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) was the last prophet of Islam cannot be Muslims. (See Express Tribune)


So what happened? How did Ahmadiyya Movement, the only religiously secular movement that inspired Jinnah and provided him with the best advocate and the first Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Sir Zafarullah Khan, went from being the founders of a nation to the most hounded group in the country under a social and political apartheid?

The general disgust of Pakistanis with religious political parties is well known. Except for the elections of 2002, rigged in favour of MMA (a coalition of Islamist Religio-political parties) by General Musharraf’s administration, the right leaning, fatwa wielding parties, who had opposed the founding of Pakistan, have never commanded more than ten percent of the vote in most elections. They are a minority and have always been a minority. So how is it that the State of Pakistan has retrogressed into a fully dysfunctional theocracy – just due to this small minority group? The answer is quite simple but surprising. It is because of religious illiteracy of the political elite/establishment and almost complete maiming of the only secularly religious view in the country, propounded by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Finding no argument against powerful orthodox right leaning views of Islamist Political parties and an organized militant strategy, Pakistani establishment, including the politicians, has constantly given in to these views because they cannot afford to be seen as non-Muslims by others, but more importantly to themselves. Their ignorance of real knowledge of Islam and what it stands for has been used by mullahs to cast fear in their hearts about the state of their own belief. What is most tragic however is that they have also consistently refused to learn from mistakes, as the recent statement of Imran Khan shows.

The gradual apostasization of the Ahmadiyya Community has essentially meant the removal of the only other highly organized pole that could stand against the rising tide of theocratic Islamist parties. Until 1984, when Ahmadiyya Muslims, were able to vote in Pakistan along with other minorities for all candidates in a joint electorate system, the secular leaning of the community guaranteed that at least a semblance of balance is kept in how different voices could be heard and voted for during the election process in at least those constituencies where Ahmadiyya Muslims had votes. With a population estimated somewhere between one to four million, this totalled upto a substantive impact on several constituencies. A great example of this is the highly important role the community played in the electoral success of the secular PPP of Z. A. Bhutto in 1971, due to its highly organized and, grass root level, effective support.

Ahmadiyya Muslim highly effective support to Bhutto, perhaps for the first time, alerted the Islamists about the great danger it faced at the hands of the secular Islamic ideology. Had the Ahmadiyya Islam spread and taken roots mullahs would have lost a highly lucrative market of fatawas and rituals that enriches their coffers. It was most tragic that Bhutto’s ambition of international leadership of the Islamic world got the better of him and gave the Islamists the first chance to get back at Ahmadiyya Muslims. Having used Bhutto for this purpose, they conspired to finish him off and kept going in 1980’s with the patronage of Zia-ul-Haq and the Afghan Jihad to completely decimate any possibility of Ahmadiyya Community ever redefining the political landscape of Pakistan in favour of shaping a truly secularly Islamic, pluralistic and democratic State of Pakistan.

Ahmadiyya Muslims support to the founder of Pakistan is a matter of historical record. The Religious political parties that today are calling the shots and deciding who should or should not vote were known to have opposed the creation of Pakistan. The Founder of Jamaat-e-Islami, Maulana Maudoodi is on the record for saying that the new country being carved out by Jinnah and Muslim League is “Na Pakistan” (Filthy Pakistan,). The new party led by Imran Khan called PTI has clearly shown its pro Islamist agenda and militant leanings. Having deprived Ahmadiyya Muslim community from being able to exercise their fundamental right to vote as equal citizens, Pakistanis will get either “Naya” Pakistan of PTI or “Na” Pakistan of Moudoodi’s JI, both miles away from what Jinnah had visioned and had articulated in his 11th August 1947 speech to the first constituent Assembly of Pakistan.  You can choose which one you want. I want neither and would not settle on anything less than Jinnah’s Pakistan.

1 reply

  1. After 1974, Pakistan has been hijacked by those who during the struggle to create Pakistan were not in it’s favor.Extremely good analysis…Jazak’Allah I have shared.

Leave a Reply to Khalid Hussain Cancel reply