Justice Markandey Katju-
In my article ‘Chaos and hardship: Imran Khan is right to oppose lockdown’ published in nayadaur.tv I said that I have a love-hate relationship with the Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. He did many good things e.g. calmly advocating peace, restraint, and mutual dialogue with India at the time of the Pulwama attack and Balakot strike when in India there was frenzied jingoism, and his recent statement opposing prolonged lockdown. But he also did wrong things e.g. taking help of religious extremists during the elections for Parliament, giving PTI tickets to dubious ‘electables’, and sacking of Atif Miyan, the internationally renowned economist from the Pakistan Economic Advisory Council merely because he was an Ahmadi.
I regret I must criticize Imran Khan again for his government’s decision to exclude Ahmadis from Pakistan’s National Commission for Minorities ( see the article ‘ Federal Cabinet approves summary excluding Ahmadis from National Commission for Minorities ‘ published in nayadaur.tv ).
Ahmadis are a small community in Pakistan of about 4-5 million, which is about 2% of total Pakistan’s population of 220 million. They are a peaceful, hard-working community that have produced great figures like Zafarullah Khan, Foreign Minister of Pakistan and President of the UN General Assembly, Dr Abdul Salam, Nobel Prize winner in physics, etc.
Yet the Ahmadis have been barbarically persecuted in Pakistan like Jews in Nazi Germany, the only difference being that their ‘Final Solution’ has not yet been perpetrated ( see my article ‘Barbaric persecution of Ahmadis in Pakistan’ published in rabwah.net ).
And what was their ‘crime’ for which they were treated so savagely and humiliated? That they do not accept Muhammad as the last Prophet, and instead claim that there was another Prophet after him, Mirza Ghulam Ahmed, in the 19th century.
Although Ahmadis deny they call Mirza Ghulam Ahmed a Prophet, and say they only regard him as a Mehdi or Redeemer who wanted to restore Islam to its purity, yet even if we assume that Ahmadis regard Mirza Ghulam Ahmed as a Prophet, are they cutting off anyone’s head, are they chopping off anyone’s limbs?
If Ahmadis call themselves Muslims, say Azaan, and call their place of worship a mosque, are they cutting off anyone’s head, are they chopping off anyone’s limbs?
If mainstream Muslims don’t like Ahmadis they need not associate with them, but why persecute them for ‘posing to be Muslims’, calling their place of worship a mosque, etc ? Why humiliate them by compelling them to sign a declaration in passport forms that Mirza Ghulam Ahmed was an imposter? Why murder or attack them physically, as has repeatedly been done ever since Pakistan was created in 1947 ( see details in my article )?
By the Second Constitutional Amendment of 1974 Ahmadis were declared as non-Muslims. It logically follows that they are therefore a minority in Pakistan, which professes to be an Islamic state. How then can Ahmadis be debarred from Pakistan’s Minorities Commission?
The Religious Affairs Minister of Pakistan, Noorul Haq Qadri said that since Ahmadis claim to be Muslims they cannot be called a minority. But the Second Amendment makes them a minority. So the Religious Affairs Ministry of Pakistan overrides and supersedes the Constitution of Pakistan. How wonderful! It looks as if a Mad Hatter’s Party, as depicted in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, is going on in Pakistan!
Why not have a ‘Final Solution’ and put an end to all this ? Na rahe baans, na baje baansuri !
[Justice Markandey Katju is former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are their own].