I saw this facebook comment from Ammar Qureshi, referring to the days leading up to the 2nd amendment to the Pakistani constitution (which declared Ahmedis to be non-Muslims).
The question was, did Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the prime minister of Pakistan and a vaguely leftist politician, but also a Paknationalist who dreamed of leading the Ummah, put this issue to the National Assembly because he wanted/intended this amendment to be passed (for political gain? for foreign policy objectives? to make himself Salahuddin?)?
OR did he hope to defuse the issue but ended up having to get it passed against his own inclinations because of public pressure on this issue? (there was a nationwide agitation launched by Islamist parties on this issue, using Ahmedis as a wedge issue to regain their position in Pakistani politics).
I thought this comment should be preserved in a blog post, and other people can add their observations and opinions if they wish.
“My father as SSP Sargodha and later as DIG Quetta attended many law and order related meetings presided by Bhutto when anti-Ahmedi agitation was at its peak. He also accompanied Mirza Nasir to National Assembly as a security incharge for his presentation to the assembly. He attended meetings in which he remembered that Bhutto was not intially interested in declaring them non-Muslims and challenged Kausar Niazi and other members of PPP. However, Niazi told him that the foreign Muslims countries do not consider them Muslims so we have to take a decision as the agitation in streets had become a big issue for his government. ZAB was advised by his party members that he should take the matter to assembly in order to relieve the pressure on the streets. His party members in the meeting also flattered him that any decision he will take in this regard would be acceptable to the people. Bhutto since he enjoyed majority in the assembly thought that he would be able to get a grip on the issue to his liking if he takes the matter to National Assembly. However, his stength in the assembly became a big liability for him. Pressure on the streets subsided after the matter was taken to Assembly. However, now the pressure was on MNAs etc to declare them non-muslims. Initially it was assumed that PPP has majority in assembly so they can take any decision which ZAB likes. However, when MNAs came under pressure from their constituency on this subject, they told ZAB that they will become unpopular if they go against popular mood. Despite majority, Bhutto had to bow before the public pressure exerted on MNAs and declared Ahmedis non-Muslims as he realised that he will lose popularity due to this issue. “
.. my father attended the in-camera briefing in which Mirza Nasir explained his religion to the Assembly members. In fact there was no one sitting in the visitors gallery except my father and his team of police officials meant for security of Mirza Nasir. Mirza Nasir made presentation to the assembly and in his address explained the main tenets of his religion. However, the problem arose in the Q & A session. What proved to be the last question was asked by Kausar Niazi. He asked him as to what is the position of the Qadianis regarding those people who did not believe in the Qadiani’s belief regarding final prophet. Instead of being diplomatic to save his community, Mirza Nasir was very blunt and said that he considers them outside the pale of religion but consider them part of Millat ( community). All hell broke lose when he said this members of the assembly stood up and shouted Kafir Kafir in the Assembly. My father had to jump to the stage with his police escort to save Mirza Nasir- otherwise he would have been lynched by MNAs there in the assembly My father encircled Mirza Nasir and protected him for 20 minutes. He waited for 20 minutes but the uproar in the assembly did not die down so he sent a messenger to Kausar Niazi and asked him as to how long should he wait for the uproar to die down so that Mirza Nasir can resume his speech. Kausar Niazi said that there is no need to wait and he could take him. My father took him to a safe place and spent the whole day in that rest house with Mirza Nasir and at night took him in the car through unknown roads to Rabwah as there were reports coming on wireless that on all known routes to Rabwah there were security threats. On the way back, my father spoke with Mirza Nasir and told him that he should have been diplomatic and tried to save his community. However, Mirza Nasir was under the delusion that Ahmedis had voted for PPP and Bhutto had given him the assurance that he will go through the motions but not declare them non-Muslims. My father found Mirza Nasir’s reply quite strange if not delusional given what had happened few hours before and how could be sure that his community would not be declared non-Muslims. Even if ZAB had promised him something, he should have known that ZAB is a populist politician and will be guided, like any leader in a democracy, by the popular mood. When my father dropped Mirza Nasir safely at his Rabwah residence, he wrote in the log book that police gave him to sign- that SSP Police saved his life twice in one day- once in the National Assembly when he would have been lynched by the MNAs and second time when he took him through unknown route to Rabwah.