Translated by Akber Choudhry from “Parliament mein Qadiani Shikast” by Allah Wasaya
Proceedings on 5 August 1974 – first session
In this case, written arguments had been presented. A special parliamentary committee consisting of the entire house went into special session on Monday 5 August 1974 at 10 a.m. The Speaker of the National Assembly, Sahibzada Farooq Ali Khan, was presiding:
(examination of the witness, Mirza Nasir starts)
Mirza Nasir: Thinking of Allah as Present and Watching, whatever I say shall be the sincere truth (an evidentiary oath in Urdu – translator)
Attorney-General: Can you please state the details of the background of your family.
Mirza Nasir: I would like to request some time for this. I will present it to you in written form tomorrow.
Attorney-General: That’s all right, but are you the paternal grandson of Mirza Qadiani?
Mirza Nasir: Yes, the son of his son.
Attorney-General: Please introduce yourself.
Mirza Nasir: I was told that I was born on 16 November 1909.
Mian Gul Aurangzeb: Sound is not carrying . . .
Chairman: Please set the microphone and volume.
Mirza Nasir: I was born on 16 November 1909. I believe there is a little bit of discrepancy in my high school records. I finished high school in 193, B.A. In 1934, and then I went abroad. I did my PhD. In 1938. From 1944 to 1965, I was the principal of Talimul Islam College in Qadian and Rabwah. In November 1965, the Ahmadiyya Jama’at (community – but will not be translated for clarity of proceedings) elected me to be their Imam.
Attorney-General: Are you the successor to Mirza Qadiani?
Mirza Nasir: Yes.
Attorney-General: Are you also the Amir-ul-Mu’mineen (commander of the faithful – an Islamic term for temporal and spiritual supremacy – used for whoever commanded or will command most of the Muslim nation)
Mirza Nasir: Yes, that term is also used about me.
Attorney-General: And also Imam, Khalifatul-Muslimeen (Caliph of the Muslims), Khalifatul Masih (Caliph or Successor to the Messiah), Amir-ul-Mu’mineen. Are these all offices of your highness?
Mirza Nasir: People come and address me as such. In reality I am Khalifatul Masih al-Thalith (third successor to the Promised Messiah).
Attorney-General: Can different individuals hold the three offices independently?
Mirza Nasir: No. One person occupies all three offices.
Attorney-General: What do you mean by Ahmadiyya Jama’at?
Mirza Nasir: Members of the Ahmadiyya Jama’at are those who have pledged allegiance to the third Caliphate. There may be other Ahmadis who do not pledge such allegiance but we do not consider them included in Ahmadiyya Jama’at.
Attorney-General: By the phrase “those who do not pledge allegiance”, do you mean the Lahori group?
Mirza Nasir: Yes, but they are not included in us.
Attorney-General: In other words, they are not members of the Ahmadiyya Jama’at.
Mirza Nasir: Yes, they are not members of the Ahmadiyya Jama’at which is also known as the Mubai’een (those who pledged allegiance).
Attorney-General: What is the total number of individuals from the body of your Jama’at who elect the Imam or Khalifa?
Mirza Nasir: I do not know of the exact number. It includes various groups: Office-bearers of the Jama’at organization; those who have pledged life-long service; district-level office-bearers; those who entered the Ahmadiyya Jama’at or Movement during the life of Mirza Sahib and are living. All of these are permanent members. There was an article on this in the Al-Fazl newspaper. I will send you a copy of it.
Attorney-General: Thank you. But, can only these individuals from the whole Jama’at vote in this election?
Mirza Nasir: No. For example, we have more than one hundred jama’ats in the Lyallpur district (present-day Faisalabad). They all have one Amir, who is the representative of that district.
Attorney-General: But what about those from the period of Mirza?
Mirza Nasir: It is due to the sacrifices of those who pledged allegiance during the time of the founder of the movement and out of respect for their status as elders – they are not elected – but are continuing from past times.
Attorney-General: Are members of the family of Mirza Qadiani members of this electoral committee without any due right, or is it their right because they are members of Mirza’s family?
Mirza Nasir: People do not understand the meaning of “family”. I am a weak person and I hope that I should be able to make you understand. What was meant by “family” were his three sons, and they have all died.
Attorney-General: Now the sons of his sons. This is a good principle – if not sons, then their sons can be present?
Mirza Nasir: No. No. No-one. If they participate, it is out of right. See, “family” means the three sons, and no fourth one.
Attorney-General: Was any other name proposed during your election?
Mirza Nasir: There is no such thing; no one can propose himself.
Attorney-General: Did someone else propose a name?
Mirza Nasir: Yes, two other names were proposed and they were both from my family. When I was elected, the other pledged allegiance to me.
Attorney-General: What is your concept of “Khalifa”?
Mirza Nasir: It is our belief that Khalifa is chosen by God – votes are casted by them (members of the election committee) but it is the will of God that is at work and God has influence over their minds and only he whom God wills will be the Khalifa. God’s hidden will is at work in this election. After election, he cannot be subjected to a “no-confidence” with votes. Whenever God wills, he can cause him (the Khalifa) to die.
Attorney-General: What is the position of a decision of the Khalifa?
Mirza Nasir: An order of the Khalifa is binding, but I do consult with others. I concur with any opinion of the majority.
Attorney-General: Can the Khalifa reject the majority opionion (of advisors)?
Mirza Nasir: Yes, of course.
Attorney-General: Can you be suspended?
Mirza Nasir: It is out of the question.
Attorney-General: When you are “Khalifatul Masih al-Thalith”, then why are you known as “Amir-ul-Mu’mineen”?
Mirza Nasir: Jama’ats outside (of Pakistan) are not used to (or cannot pronounce – translator) this term, so they say something like it; but officially it is “Khalifa”.
Attorney-General: And “Imam of the Jama’at”?
Mirza Nasir: The meaning of “Khalifatul Masih” is Imam of the Jama’at.
Attorney-General: If “Jama’at” refers to the Ahmadiyya, then are not others mu’mineen? (faithful, believers)?
Mirza Nasir: Now I understand. “Amir-ul-Mu’mineen” means the commander of those people who accept the claim of the one who claimed to be the Mahdi – those mu’mineen.
Attorney-General: That is, Amir of Ahmadiyya Jama’at?
Mirza Nasir: Yes, this is close (to the fact). There is no other meaning.
Attorney-General: He who is not in the Jama’at, is a mu’min? (believer, faithful)?
Mirza Nasir: This is a long discussion.
Attorney-General: How many of you are there?
Mirza Nasir: We do not keep records.
Attorney-General: Is your proselytizing activity only in Pakistan and India, or beyond that?
Mirza Nasir: We spread love and affection everywhere.
Attorney-General: How many are they who accepted your love and affection overseas?
Mirza Nasir: There is no record of how many.
Attorney-General: To someone who joins, do you give a form to fill out?
Mirza Nasir: Yes, the form of the pledge of allegiance.
Attorney-General: The number of such forms?
Mirza Nasir: There is no record kept.
Attorney-General: How many people became Ahmadis in the last 20 years?
Mirza Nasir: There is no record kept.
Attorney-General: There is no record of anyone who becomes a member?
Mirza Nasir: We do not keep such records.
Attorney-General: Any register?
Mirza Nasir: Not to my knowledge. Whether we count the forms to pledge allegiance, is also not in my knowledge.
Attorney-General: Have you ever been involved in politics?
Mirza Nasir: Never. We have never even thought about this.
Attorney-General: Has any of your members run for government office?
Mirza Nasir: Not at all; never even thought about it. As a jama’at (community), not in this country, nor in any country of the world, have we ever made anyone to run (for election).
Attorney-General: Is the “Khalifa” not the head-of-state in Islam?
Mirza Nasir: Huzur (Prophet Muhammad), peace be on him, and his “Khalifas” were indeed – in both the temporal and religious spheres. Worldly, religious and spiritual Imamat (leadership) was conjoined in their persons. After the advent of Mirza Sahib, his (Mirza Sahib’s) successors have spiritual Imamat (leadership) and this is our fundamental belief.
Attorney-General: That is, the Khalifa cannot even be the President or Prime Minister?
Mirza Nasir: No, nothing. We are not even interested in politics.
Attorney-General: OK, if there is a disagreement between the head-of-state and the Khalifa, then members of your Jama’at . . . . .
Mirza Nasir: This is a new question: if the law of the land and faith collide, what way should one choose? See, we are 10 million worldwide, and 3.5 to 4 million in Pakistan . .
Attorney-General: What was your membership at the time of the death of Mirza Qadiani?
Mirza Nasir: A few thousand maybe . . . (after consulting) … about 400,000 at that time. It is an estimate.
Attorney-General: What was the number in the 1901 census?
Mirza Nasir: Do not know.
Attorney-General: Something is wrong. In 1908, at the time of the death of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, your number was 19,000?
Mirza Nasir: In the census?
Attorney-General: This is a document published by the British foreign office in 1920 to serve as fact for the use of its offices . . . .
Mirza Nasir: That is their statement.
Attorney-General: It is a report of the British government. In any case, it is their certification that at the time, the number of this religious group is not more than 19,000 and then they were divided into two camps, and the number was decreasing.
Mirza Nasir: The information of the British government may have been wrong.
Attorney-General: Mirza Mahmud, in his book, “Ahmadiyyat and Islam”, published in 1959, wrote that : In 1908, the followers of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad could be counted in the hundreds of thousands.
Mirza Nasir: I said so, four hundred thousand.
Attorney-General: But according to the census report of 1908, you number 18,000
Mirza Nasir: OK, it is all right.
Attorney-General: Then in the 1921 census, the number is 30,000 and in 1930-31, the total number is 56,000. This last number has been admitted by your father, Mirza Bashir (sic) in Alfazl, 5 August 1934.
Mirza Nasir: He was exhorting the subscribers of the paper.
Attorney-General: And said, our number is 56,000 . . .
Mirza Nasir: Yes. I follow your reasoning. (understand)
Attorney-General: Now let us look at the Munir Report. In 1954, it shows your number as 200,000.
Mirza Nasir: In all of Pakistan?
Attorney-General: Yes, that is what he says. I think you completely ignored the census scheme and all of a sudden, jumped to 3.5 or 4 million.
Mirza Nasir: Census-takers are non-Muslims and show Muslims as being less in number.
Attorney-General: Not the census. I am talking about the Justice Munir Report – that your number in 1954 was 200,000. In a similar way, this number is also in the 1960 edition of the Encyclopedia of Islam.
Mirza Nasir: (published) from Lahore?
Attorney-General: No. From Holland.
Mirza Nasir: Which page has these statistics?
Attorney-General: Look at page 10. It says: according to the numbers provided by the Ahmadis (to the 1960 edition), their number at that time in the whole world, according to them, is 500,000. As such, there will be 200,000 in Pakistan, and this is what Justice Munir wrote.
Mirza Nasir: I do not know who gave these numbers.
Attorney-General: Munir wrote: “I have been told”.
Mirza Nasir: I do not know who told him.
Attorney-General: We can deduce that some interested party must have told him. Any way, the short story is that I can say that you do not number more than 200,000 in Pakistan, and you cannot contradict me with any document.
Mirza Nasir: But it is my estimate . . .
Attorney-General: But you cannot contradict me by documentary means. Or you can bring the register, but then it is feared that the secret will be out.
Mirza Nasir: No, but this will be when there is an accurate census.
Attorney-General: In other words, you too have your doubts after this discussion?
Mirza Nasir: A census will provide the right number.
Attorney-General: In other words, even you do not know the right number at this time and you admit your lack of knowledge. OK, you said in Friday Sermon on 21 June (1974) that “every person is free to pursue his or her faith. No power and no government can interfere in this exercise of this right, and it is the demand of Article 20 of the Constitution.” Have you said this?
Mirza Nasir: Yes, that was my speech. There is religious freedom and no one can interfere in it under Article 20.
Attorney-General: Not even the Assembly or the Government?
Mirza Nasir: No one.
Attorney-General: If a person lies to save his life, does Article 20 give him permission to continue lying? Is not right to lie to save one’s life?
Mirza Nasir: It is not right according to me.
Attorney-General: Very well, OK. Now, it is not right to lie; but when a man lies about which religion he belongs to, is it the meaning of Article 20 that he should continue to lie, because there is religious freedom?
Mirza Nasir: How do you know that he is lying?
Attorney-General: For example, let us say that I am the principal of a college. A Muslim, trying to take a seat reserved for minorities, shows himself as a non-Muslim. Now, according to you, everyone is entitled express his/her faith. So, if he lies, I should not do anything? OK, I ask you this: You have quoted parts of the Constitution related to religious freedom in your speech. I respectfully ask you: did you quote the whole article or did you forget to quote part of it?
Mirza Nasir: I left out the beginning of it which is already in every mind.
Attorney-General: Thank you. That part being?
Mirza Nasir: Conditional on legality and the principles of morality.
Attorney-General: Yes. Meaning that religious freedom is conditional on law, morality and public peace. Do you admit this?
Mirza Nasir: It is obvious. It is a given.
Attorney-General: Now, a man falsely states his religion to achieve wrong goals, can he be restricted or not?
Mirza Nasir: No one has the right to restrict religious freedom.
Chairman: Look, the answer should be according to the question, though the witness agrees with it or not. The answer and the question should be related. Please answer the attorney’s question.
Attorney-General: Sir, it is not about agreeing. There are thousands of people who mislead others in this world. Now, if they make false statements about their religion, will you restrict them or not?
Mirza Nasir: A swindler should be censured.
Chairman: An answer to the question is expected. The answer is not according to the question.
Attorney-General: The question is about what is shown (expression). A person deliberately lies for his own material gain, what is the opinion of the honourable witness in this matter? If you do not want to answer, it is your choice.
Mirza Nasir: I would not like such a person.
Attorney-General: But do you think that the government can restrict . . .
Mirza Nasir: I condemn the youth who falsifies documents.
Chairman: Leave it. The delegation is excused for 15 minutes. We will break. Please be back at 12:15.
Chairman: Respected members, you saw everything. I am satisfied with the approach of the attorney-general.
Various Members: Yes, we are too.
Chairman: We are thankful, this should be recorded. It is expected that most of what we discuss and the issues are important. There are other items that are peripheral, and they will also be dealt with. I am a lawyer myself and I am very satisfied and I take it that this is your opinion too.
Various Members: Yes.
Chairman: Then, we will meet again at 12:15