Extremism and sectarianism thrive on governmental support
Lahore; April 11, 2009: A Khatme Nabuwwat (End of Prophethood) conference was held at the central Badshahi Mosque on April 11, 2009 in Lahore. This mosque is managed by the government of the Punjab; its Khatib (the chief cleric) is appointed officially by the Auqaf Department. This historic mosque is maintained at a huge expense by the public exchequer. The central theme of the conference was Ahmadiyyat. Extremist demands like the imposition of Shariah, support of the Swat deal etc, were also made by the speakers. Maulana Hamid Saeed Kazmi, the Federal Minister of Religious Affairs addressed the conference, as did the provincial Minister of Auqaf. The main banner displayed unabashedly that the conference was the handiwork of Aalami Majlis Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat which is a sectarian anti-Ahmadiyya organization, led primarily by Deobandi and Wahabi ulama. A huge bill-board displayed that this conference was sponsored by the Government of the Punjab.
The daily Jang, Lahore, of April 12, 2009 reported the statements of the clerics in some detail. Excerpts:
- The 1973 Constitution of Pakistan should be restored along with the (Anti-Ahmadiyya) 1974 amendment regarding the End of Prophethood.
- The Shariah should be implemented in order to eradicate Qadianiat.
- We are ready for total destruction of Qadianis in the country.
- Every last drop of blood should be shed for the sake of ‘End of Prophethood’.
- Qadianism has neither come to an end nor has it been weakened. Qadianis want to destroy the Muslims of the world.
- At present Muslims are pitted against the Infidel; all Muslims should unite to fight the Kufr (The world of Disbelief).
- Israel, India and the U.S. are jointly committed to erase Pakistan from the world map.
- The government should happily implement the agreements made with the free tribes (of FATA) and should stop the massacre undertaken by American drones in these areas.
- A criminal case should be registered against all the perpetrators of the Red Mosque tragedy, including Pervez Musharraf, and they should be dispatched accordingly.
- Pakistan’s future lies in Nizam Adl (implemented in Swat for a few days). … The U.S. does not support a ‘solution’ to the issue of Khatme Nabuwwat. The Swat agreement should be implemented, and that system should be imposed all over the country.
The daily Nawa-i-Waqt, Lahore of April 12, 2009 and other Urdu newspapers reported the various ‘resolutions’ passed at the conference and demands made by the gathering. Excerpts:
- The massacre resulting from the American drone attacks should be put to stop.
- The anti-Qadiani law and the Blasphemy law should be vigorously implemented.
- A criminal case should be registered against all involved in the Lal Masjid tragedy including Pervez Musharraf, and they should be dispatched accordingly.
- All the ulama should devote at least one Friday sermon every month to the issue of Khatme Nabuwwat.
- Vote of thanks to the Government of the Punjab and its Auqaf Department for their patronage and support.
The following statements were also made at the conference:
- So long as even one Mirzai is alive, this (battle) flag will remain flying. Mulla Ajmal Khan
- We shall break their (Ahmadis’) necks. We shall break their legs… . Qazi Arshad Al-Hussaini.
- Qadianis rebel against the Constitutions of Pakistan. They should be tried for treason. Maulvi Fazlur Rahman of JUI
- Five hundred Qadianis are receiving training in the Israeli Army. They are being trained to kill the fidels of Khatme Nabuwwat. It is for you to decide whether they kill us or we kill them. Mulla Abdul Haq, the Central Amir
- I have come here to represent the Federal Government. The Federal Minister of Religious Affairs
- The slogan ‘Countless curses on Mirzaiat’ was raised many times.
- As long as even one ‘Khadim’ is alive, the US will be put to an end. (Janaza nikal kar rahain gai). The US will get dismembered. The Black thought that the Maulvi will get scared; no, we are not afraid of this ghost. Qari Zawwar Bahadur of JUP
- Hundred and eighty million people of this country are subjected to tyranny, but the people of Swat have suffered double the tyranny; they are being denied the Shariah. Maulvi Zahid ur Rashidi
- If Article 63 of the Constitution was sincerely implemented, the Parliament would comprise entirely of the Ulama. Maulvi Abdul Ghafoor Haidari of JUI
The following information is also material and relevant to the conference:
- Propaganda hoardings for the conference were set up by the Auqaf Department. One of these carried the exhortation: “Friendship with Mirzais is tantamount to rebellion against Huzur SAW (The Holy Prophet Muhammad).” The ruling Peoples Party also put up a huge bill-board with its tricolor and a statement of Ms Benazir Bhutto affirming religious discrimination against Ahmadis.
- An effigy of the holy founder of the Ahmadiyya community was burnt at the opening of the conference.
- A large number of madrassah students were transported to the conference site.
- The mullas urged a boycott of Ahmadi-owned businesses and companies, like Shezan drinks etc. However the clerics were treated with Shezan fruit juices by the management, and they consumed them with relish.
- A mulla proposed that the minarets of all Ahmadiyya mosques should be demolished, and a ban be imposed on all ‘Qadiani’ activities in Rabwah.
- A number of invited speakers were members of organizations banned for terrorism e.g. Muhammad Ahmad Ludhianwi, Alam Tariq, etc.
- There was a stall installed on the footpath outside the Atiq Stadium by workers of the notorious Sipah Sahabah (SSP), a banned organization.
- A cassettes and CD stall was set up in a Shehzor truck (Regd. No. LES 2407) in the name of Maulana Masud Azhar who had to be released by Indian authorities on demand of hijackers of an Indian passenger aircraft in Afghanistan. Books, stickers, badges, rings and Jihadi cassettes were available at this stall for sale/distribution.
- Red caps in memory of Maulvi Abdur Rashid Ghazi (of Lal Masjid, Islamabad) were also on sale.
- Approximately 200 policemen were employed to provide security at the conference.
- A mulla demanded that Ahmadis should be removed from all key posts; also, they should be eliminated from armed forces.
- 150 stalls were set up. Provocative stickers were pasted on them.
- A derogatory sketch of the holy founder of the Ahmadiyya community was displayed in the background of the central stage.
- The Badshahi Mosque was profusely illuminated for the occasion at public expense.
- A great deal of publicity was given to the conference in other cities and people were urged to travel to Lahore and participate in it.
- Special articles against Ahmadiyyat were written and published in the Urdu press for the occasion, e.g. in the dailies Jang, Khabrain, Pakistan, Jinnah, Ausaf, etc.
- One of the banners carried portraits of Mulla Ataulla Shah Bokhari (Ahrari), Mufti Mahmud (JUI) and Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto (PPP).
PML (Nawaz) is at the helm in the Punjab.
It is interesting to note that, though the conference was held in the name of religion, almost all the speakers at the occasion were clerics who are deeply involved in politics and grubby affairs. The following addressed the crowd: Allah Wasaya, Zawwar Bahadur (JUP), Ilyas Chinioti (PML-N), Muhammad Ahmad Ludhianwi (SSP), Alam Tariq (SSP), Abdul Karim Nadeem, Riaz Swati, Zulfiquar Khosa (PML-N), Fazlur Rahman (JUI), Munawwar Hasan (JI), Sajid Mir (Jamiat Ahle Hadith), Hamid Saeed Kazmi, Ehsanuddin Qureshi, Hafiz Hussain Ahmad (JUI), Samiul Haq (JUI-S), Ajmal Qadri, Zahid ur Rashdi, Sarfraz Naeemi, Ahmad Ali Siraj, Zubair Ahmad Zaheer, Saifullah Khalid (Ahrar), Abdur Razzaq Sikandar, Rafi Usmani, Taqi Usmani, Israr Ahmad (Tanzeem Islami), Khalil ullah Najmi, Aziz ur Rahman Jalandhry (Ahrar), Hanif Jalandhry (Wafaq-ul-Madaris), Abdur Rahman Ashrafi, Fazlur Rahim, Saleemullah Awaisi, Rauf Farooqui, Aziz Ahmad, Amjad Khan, Bilal Mir, Saifuddin Saif, Aziz ur Rahman Hazarvi, Arif Sialwi, Maqbul Ansari, Rashid Mian, Mahmud Mian, Muhammad Hasan, Mian Afzal, Naeem ur Rahman Tahir, Abdul Haq Bashir, Hafiz Abu Bakr, Salimullah Khan (Tanzeemat Madaris) etc.
It was announced that the next such conference would be held in Islamabad.
In short, the speakers at this officially sponsored conference, held in the name of a religious belief, urged the violation of human rights,spoke against freedom of religion, promoted sectarian strife, indulged in controversial national and international politics and propagated hatred and violence.
Is it not incredible that the government which is facing severe problems of internal security from extremist and sectarian clerics should itself sponsor, arrange and fund a conference where speakers promote the extremists’ agenda to tens of thousand of participants? And this happened at Lahore. The New York Times reported on the fragile situation in Punjab:
“I do not think a lot of people understand the gravity of the issue”, said a senior police official in Punjab. “If you want to destabilize Pakistan, you have to destabilize Punjab”.
NYT report from the daily Dawn of April 15, 2009
The Government of the Punjab appears to be making the same mistake that it made in 1953, and came to great harm at the hand of the mulla.