Ahmadis are reviled and persecuted in Pakistan, ironically, both for not being muslim enough or trying to be too muslim. The extent of their persecution is such that it is enshrined in the law. The state has forcefully stripped them of the right to call themselves muslim, and it has all its citizens participate in that exercise as well by requiring them to attest to the non-muslim status of Ahmadis in order to get necessary government documents, like a passport. But this very state owes its creation, in large part, to Ahmadis.
The Furqan Force, an entirely Ahmadi force made up of volunteers, fought for Pakistan in the first Indo-Pak war on Kashmir, in 1947-1948.
Sir Chaudhry Zafarullah Muhammad Khan, an Ahmadi, is known for being Pakistan’s first and most distinguished foreign minister. But few know that without him there would be no Pakistan. The 1940 Lahore resolution that the struggle for Pakistan was predicated upon was in fact drafted by Sir Zafarullah Khan. It was he that envisioned a great republic for muslims. But unfortunately, that republic now makes no mention of him among its founding fathers.
It is an incredibly sad state of affairs that this country can only abide Ahmadis if they have renounced their faith or if they are dead.
Not only does Pakistan owe a great debt to Sir Zafarullah Khan for the Lahore resolution, but it is also indebted to him for the UN resolutions on Kashmir. It was Sir Zafarullah Khan whose ceaseless struggle for Pakistan and the muslim cause legitimised Pakistan’s claim to Kashmir on the world stage. Without him Pakistan might still be struggling to gain any acknowledgement and support of its claim to Kashmir.
Bigots will be quick to dismiss Sir Zafarullah Khan as an exception, and still peddle their ridiculous narrative of Ahmadi’s being ‘kaffir’ foreign agents. But, they should glance at the real history of Pakistan for once and they will find it replete with examples of Ahmadi patriots who have served Pakistan just as faithfully as other Pakistani Citizens. Mirza Basheer-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad, the Caliph of the Ahmadis at the time of the partition, fully supported the creation of Pakistan. And, he told the Ahmadi community to vote for the All India Muslim League in the 1946 elections and support the demand for the creation of Pakistan on which the elections were fought. He also spearheaded the creation of the Furqan Force, an entirely Ahmadi force made up of volunteers, that fought for Pakistan in the first Indo-Pak war on Kashmir, in 1947-1948.
Allama Muhammad Iqbal used to be an Ahmadi. He is considered to be one of the greatest muslim thinkers of all time and nationally beloved yet his legacy has been wiped clean of any mention of the religious beliefs he held for the majority of his life.
And, what mention of patriotic Ahmadi’s is complete without mention of the great Muhammad Abdus Salam. Pakistan’s first nobel laureate whose contributions to science not only benefited Pakistan but the entire world. Pakistan takes great pride in its status as one of the few nuclear powers in the world and Abdus Salam was the architect of its nuclear program. The sense of security, in the face of hostile neighbours, that Pakistanis have due to the bomb is provided by Abdus Salam. And all Pakistan gave him in return was a broken heart. His spirit was crushed after being rejected by a nation he had loved so dearly and worked so tirelessly for. Whether Pakistan wants to acknowledge it or not it and the rest of the world owes a great debt to Abdus Salam. He changed the way the world understood itself and the universe through his work on electroweak theory.
This recounting of great Pakistani’s of the Ahmadi sect is not to valourise them over others or to state that they alone are true patriots. The reason for highlighting their stories is to prove that they are not the aberrations most Pakistanis believe them to be.
One of Pakistan’s best kept secrets is that its beloved poet and founding father, Allama Muhammad Iqbal, reportedly, used to be an Ahmadi. Allama Iqbal used to be an admirer of Mirza Ghulam Muhammad and is on record stating he was “probably the profoundest theologian among modern Indian Muslims”. He did, however, part ways with the sect in the later part of his life and was not an Ahmadi at the time of his death. He is considered to be one of the greatest muslim thinkers of all time and nationally beloved yet his legacy has been wiped clean of any mention of the religious beliefs he held for a large part of his life.
This recounting of great Pakistani’s of the Ahmadi sect is not to valourise them over others or to state that they alone are true patriots. The reason for highlighting their stories is to prove that they are not the aberrations most Pakistanis believe them to be. They, like everyone else, are capable of extraordinary things and many of those things they have done in service of Pakistan. Ahmadis have continued to faithfully serve this country and its people despite the horrible treatment meted out to them.
Just recently an Ahmadi doctor was shot and killed for the ‘crime’ of being an Ahmadi, a man whose only job in life was to heal and help. It is an incredibly sad state of affairs that this country can only abide Ahmadis if they have renounced their faith or if they are dead. Murdering our own and glossing over their services to the nation will only set us back, as we will be too busy tearing each other apart while the rest of the world moves onwards and upwards