MG an air warrior, a political observer, and writer with wide experience.
Who are Ahmadis?
The Ahmadi Community owes its inception to a man named Mirza Ghulam Ahmed. He started by establishing his sect with its Headquarters at Qadian in the state of Punjab (Now in Pakistan). This was sometimes towards the end of the 19 century. Later a center was also set up in India at Gurdaspur.
There are about 4 million Ahmadi’s in Pakistan and about a million in India. They are spread in 209 countries and number between 15 to 20,000,000 worldwide.
The Ahmadi community is basically Muslim. The Kerala High Court in a judgment has characterized the Ahmadis as a sect of Islam.
Mirza Ahmad wanted to revitalize Islam in the face of the onslaught of Christian and Arya Samaj Missionaries. Ahmadi’s also believe in the Koran and face the Kaaba during prayers. But there is a subtle difference, which has brought about their ostracism. This concerns the claim by Mirza Ahmad that he was the Mahdi or messiah and consequently, he was the successor to Mohammed.
By making this claim Ahmed condemned his sect to a life of persecution, particularly in Pakistan where there are about 4 million followers of this sect. Over the past 7 decades of their existence in Pakistan, the Ahmadi’s have been at the receiving end of violence and discrimination. It started with agitation by the Jamaat-e- Islami during the seventies. The then Pakistan Prime Minister ZA Bhutto had no option but
to amend the constitution so as to define a Muslim ‘as a person who believes in the finality of Prophet Mohammed’.
Ahmadi sect and Pakistan
The amendment made by Zulfiqar Alberto had far-reaching effects. The result of this amendment was disastrous for the Ahmadi community as at one stroke they were
recognized as non- Muslims and put outside the pale of Islam. In addition in 1984, General Zia Ul Haq issued an ordinance, that prohibited Ahmadi from preaching or professing their beliefs as Muslims. They were also debarred from calling their places of worship mosques.
Islam is a unitary religion and the claim of Mirza Ahmed as the Mahdi was bound to rouse passions. This has resulted in attacks on the Ahmadi community by hardliners. Hundreds of deaths have taken place in this sectarian violence. The attacks have continued to grow and the Ahmadi community is literally under siege in Pakistan.
Their mosques and processions have been the target of terror groups
resulting in a large number of deaths. The effect is so bad that the Ahmadi community has not been able to hold a single procession after 1984 in Pakistan.
Pakistan was formed as a homeland for the Muslims of the subcontinent. But sectarian violence is the maximum in Pakistan and hundreds of Ahmadi’s have been killed. In fact right from 1953 when riots broke out against the Ahmadi and 2000 of them were killed, the cycle of violence has only escalated upwards.
There have been attacks on Ahmadi mosques and some religious groups in Pakistan endorse the killing of Ahmadis. I do feel the average Pakistani may not be interested in killing anybody but there is a fringe element that has hijacked the secular ideas of Muhamed Ali Jinnah. This fringe element has cowed down many who believe in the ideas of Jinnah and matters are compounded by the military holding power in Pakistan and they obviously are not interested in anything but the status quo.
It must be mentioned here that the Ahmadi community was at the forefront of the demand for the creation of Pakistan. After 1947 they made their headquarters in Pakistan and many top civil servants and scientists belong to the Ahmadi community. The ostracization and violence have been so great that the community has now shifted the headquarters from Pakistan to London. Most of the Ahmadi community in Pakistan is centered around a town some distance from Lahore. Ahmadis live mainly in Lahore, Karachi, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, and in smaller villages in Punjab and Sindh province. Persecution is now getting to them and just a few days back a doctor was shot dead by a 16-year-old youth. The community has appealed to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to give them a special preference under the citizenship act to settle in India.
It must be mentioned here that Pakistani is the only country in the world where there is violence against Ahmadis though many reside in Bangladesh and other Muslim countries also.
MG Singh (author) from UAE on January 19, 2021:
Thank you. Devika, for commenting.
Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on January 18, 2021:
Informative and well written.
MG Singh (author) from UAE on January 16, 2021:
Thank you, Bill, it's a great pleasure to read your comment.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on January 16, 2021:
Thank you for the education. I knew nothing of this, and I appreciate the clarity of your article.
MG Singh (author) from UAE on January 16, 2021:
Thank you Mohd Iqbal for your comment
mohd iqbal on January 16, 2021:
I am an Ahmadiyya and you have stated many truths. Thank you for highlighting them.