Anti-Ahmadi Hate Campaign in Pakistan


Since 1984, Ordinance XX promulgated by General Zia, has forbidden Ahmadis from defending themselves. This one-sided campaign of hate that has been waged throughout the country is now over a generation old. Although most Pakistanis would come across it in their daily lives, yet they may not know its full scope and impact. This brief seeks to briefly examine it.

Also read: Anti-Ahmadi Hate Campaign on Social Media

The Ahmadiyya interpretation of Islam seeks to promote spiritual reformation in a non-violent and apolitical context.  It is, therefore, anathema to the extremists because it undermines their agenda: every person persuaded by Ahmadis is in fact one less recruit in their wars of delusion.  The extremist leadership, otherwise known as the mullas, is quite aware that there is nothing really provocative in the Ahmadiyya religious position, so they have taken a free license to spread falsehood about the Ahmadiyya community.  To this end, they have taken the “defence” of the doctrine of Khatme-Nabuwwat (End of Prophethood) as their marquee cause.  Only a very narrow view of this doctrine is considered acceptable to the mullas in Pakistan, any deviation from which can render one legally a non-Muslim.  It is alleged that Khatme-Nabuwwat and thereby Islam itself is under grave threat by Ahmadis and needs to be defended at all costs.  Over the years, this message has been spread in a highly provocative fashion, arousing average Pakistani Muslims to doubt the Islamic and patriotic credentials of Ahmadis.  Since neither is true, the fire lit by this hate campaign needs constant fuel to keep it going, requiring new lies about the nature of Ahmadiyya community.  The mysterious hand of the community is alleged to be behind every misfortune that strikes the country, be it economic or political or, bizarrely, even a natural disaster.  Profanity about the community is common currency, used not just by the mullas from their pulpits, but also by talk show hosts on country’s private television networks and by state officials in their media pronouncements.  They make no secret of their ultimate designs: in a statement, Mr Zaeem Qadri, ex-provincial Minister of Religious Affairs, Punjab, said, “I will personally strangle any Ahmadi who is found distributing the Holy Quran with Ahmadiyya translation.”  (On Channel 24 on Jan 24, 2018) On Human Rights Day on December 10, 2019, in Attock an administration’s rep. a lady assistant commissioner Ms Jannat Hussain was routed, demeaned and debased by a group of bearded students speaking mulla’s language of bigotry, hate and extremism — even terrorism. The unequal fight was video-recorded and got viral on social media.


In the past the mullahs had to work to secure the support and commitment of the State in their anti-Ahmadiyya campaigns: once in 1974 and the second time in 1984, but after 1984, however, the state has also co-opted Islamic religious leadership – presumably to augment the state’s Islamic credentials and to gain an endorsement from religious authorities.  After the state gave them the green signal, the mullas were free to implement their hateful drive without any fear of consequences.  Almost all religious parties, most of which are deeply involved in politics, established their Khatme-Nabuwwat wings—another name for their anti-Ahmadiyya activities.  It is under this cover that the mullas enjoy the freedom to violate not only the law of the land but also accepted norms of societal behaviour. Concepts of religious tolerance, national unity and human fraternity mean nothing to them; ends justifying the means is their guiding principle. Maulvi Khadim Hussain Rizvi leader of Tehrik Labbaik said, “The day Islam comes to power, there will be one decision regarding Mirzais (Ahmadis): Either recite the Kalima (become Muslim) or accept Death. There won’t be anything else other than this.”



Mullas spread hatred against Ahmadis by all possible means.  They do that at the pulpit, at conferences, in newspapers, on radio and television, by distributing tracts, flyers and pamphlets; through bumper stickers, yard signs and sidewall posters. They inflame religious sensibilities by decrying imagined insults to the person of the holy founder of Islam by Ahmadis.  They issue edicts in the name of Islamic law, promising lustful bliss in the afterlife to those who would die for their cause – they do just about anything that will whip up their followers to a frenzy of uncontrollable religious madness. Armed with these human time bombs, mullas then hold the entire society hostage.  With every cycle of violence against minorities they emerge with more power while the civil society is left diminished and that much cowed.  Actually, it can be argued that they never let Pakistan’scivil society develop enough to recognize the rights of a minority as a priority.


A brochure titled ‘Love of the Seal of Prophets’ issued by Aalami Majlis Tahaffuz Khatme Nabuwwat (MTKN) urges the rulers of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan: “Qadianis [a derogatory term for Ahmadis] are apostates and heretics.  You must declare them Wajibul Qatl [must be killed].”  It also warns Ahmadis: “Listen, O you who have rebelled against the End of Prophethood, we will not leave anyone alive in this land who blasphemes against the Holy Prophet.”  In a poem circulated by Al Quran Universal, Lahore Tehrik urges Muslims to murder Ahmadis: “Defending the honour of the Prophet is a duty, a debt.  Wake up O Muslims and put an end to the Qadiani disease.”  The type of insults hurled at the founder of the Ahmadiyya community is of the street variety.  The mullas also urge social and economic boycott of Ahmadis.  In a calendar published World Tahaffuz Khatm-e-Nabuwwat Council for the year 2010 CE/1431 AH the page for March conveys: “Being in the company, eating or drinking, buying or selling and visiting Qadianis on happy or sad occasions is Haram (forbidden in Shariah law)”.  On top of its last page, it says: “The only cure of Qadianis: Al-jihad; Al-jihad”.


In this campaign, the mulla commandeers both nationalism and national prejudices.  One of the stickers commonly distributed conveys: “Qadianis are rebels to both Islam and the country.” (Dr. Iqbal)  In Iqbal’s days, the country was India.  Ahmadis are lumped together with the other objects of popular hatred, the Jews and the Hindus.  A sticker issued by Shabban-e-Khatme Nabuwwat quotes Dr Qadeer, ‘the Benefactor of Pakistan’, saying: “There is not the slightest doubt that Mirzais (Ahmadis)… in collaboration with the Jews, are working to sabotage Pakistan’s atomic program and the country’s technological development.”  A pamphlet issued with money donated by one Alhaj Muhammad Hussain Gohar makes an imploring and compelling plea to Muslims in these words: “O Muslim.  Enough have you slept… Wake up, now.  Enough have you been looted…  Now beware and fight against the enemies of the Prophet.  Revive the great tradition of your forefathers… Rise flying the standard of jihad… Rise with the passion of martyrdom… Move like a wind storm, proceed like a flood.  Sweep away the evil tree of Qadianiat with your torrent and keep declaring in your roar: ‘I write with heart’s blood these red words: after the Prophet the Hashemite, there is no prophet.’”  After being exposed to provocative rhetoric for over a generation, if Pakistani Muslims have spared the ‘Qadianis’, it does them credit.  The mulla surely has bent backward to precipitate an Asian holocaust.  This campaign of mahyem and murder is not waged anonymously, it is fully owned by its sponsors with their names and addresses printed right on the hate material itself.



Such rousing calls are displayed on banners, billboards and panaflexes, often in public squares of major towns and large villages.  For instance, Universal Traders, traders of Akbari Mandi, Lahore put up a big panaflex with the following threat: “Chenab Nagar will be coloured red with the blood of Qadianis and the world will forget even Tamerlane”. And “I accept Qadianis to be infidels, without any argument. Qadianis must be put to death.” The MTKN Youth Wing, Ferozwala, put up a huge hoarding with the following appeal: “We appeal to you to shun the worst branch of infidelity and the worst enemies of Islam (the Mirzais and Qadianis) and not allow your children to mix with them either.  Whoever interacts with them will find himself on the Day of Judgment deprived of Holy Prophet’s intercession.”  It was not removed till it had claimed at least one victim.  On the morning of January 5, 2010, Professor Yusuf, an Ahmadi, was murdered in the same area by a team of two killers.  It was only when a correspondent of a prestigious newspaper, the Daily Times, was seen taking pictures of the billboard that the police persuaded MTKN to remove their posters.


Mullas urge their followers to implement a full religious, social and economic boycott of Ahmadis. To facilitate the boycott, they publish lists of Ahmadi businesses and products.  One of their favourite targets of wrath is a nationally popular brand of juices, the Shezan group.  They urge everyone to boycott this company, yet amusingly; it is not uncommon for them to be seen enjoying some of these products themselves.  Ironically, many non-Ahmadis and Ahmadis who, for other reasons, are interested in doing business with Ahmadis find these lists quite useful.  Samples from the above-mentioned material are placed at the end of this document.   Here it is worth mentioning that most mullas while prone to work up a lather of righteous indignation on the slightest perceived insult to their own faith, happily employ the most shameless street language against those held sacred by others.   Blasphemy, it seems, can only be suffered by them.  It does not remotely occur to them that others are also humans and may have actual feelings.


A tract issued by the MTKN, carrying full address of the publisher, concludes with: “All Ahmadis should be given a grace period of three days and invited to become Muslims like the one billion Muslims of the world.  Those Ahmadi apostates who do not become Muslims in these three days should be made to stand in a line and be shot.  The killing of these apostates should not stop till the very last one of them has been done with.”  No action was taken by the authorities against the publishers.


In their campaign of hate, mullas have been helped by higher institutions of the state, for example, the Islamic Ideology Council.  The Council is on record to have opined: “In case a Muslim should join Ahmadiyya Community, such a person shall be an ‘apostate’ liable to suffer the mandatory sentence of death.”  (Letter dated 10 November 1981, to the Federal Government)


Mullas have found willing partners in print and electronic media.  In the print media, it is the vernacular press that, with an eye on sales, goes out of its way to give them space.  A survey at the beginning of 2018 showed that in 2017 Urdu papers published 3936 “news” items and 532 articles concerning Ahmadis—mostly incriminating, of course.  The daily Ausaf stood first by publishing 572 anti-Ahmadiyya news and 154 hateful articles while the daily Nawa-i-Waqt stood second by publishing 410 news items and 65 articles. Here are samples of headlines in 2017 (translated):


  • Qadianis are a great threat and a cancer in the country: Mian Abdul Kareem


The daily Pakistan; Lahore, October 9, 2017


  • Qadianiat means rebellion and hostility against Islam: Yusuf Ansari


The daily Nawa-i-Waqt; Lahore, October 27, 2017


  • Ahmadis are more dangerous to Islam than any other minority: Rana Sana


The daily Din; Lahore, October 15, 2017


      It is noteworthy that the Urdu newspapers tend to publish just about anything the mulla says about Ahmadis, irrespective of how preposterous, odd, crude or improper the utterance may be.  The traditional gurus of press ethics keep their peace.


       In this campaign, the politicians partner with the mullas, both directly and indirectly.  In fact, opinion varies as to who is the senior partner.  General Zia, the President of Pakistan, showed the way as early as 1985 when in his message to the Khatme Nabuwwat conference held in London on August 4, he conveyed, inter alia: “We will Insha Allah (God wiling) persevere in our efforts to ensure that the cancer of Qadianism is exterminated.”  His prime minister, Mr. Junejo, had no qualms about following the president’s lead, and stated: “Government of Pakistan has taken various measures to deal with this [Ahmadiyya] problem.  I hope the whole Muslim world will take similar steps to crush this curse with full force.”  (The daily Nawa-i-Waqt, 28 November 1985)  Many years later, even the well-known Ms Benazir Bhutto, according to a billboard put up in Lahore by her political party, the PPP, on April 11, 2009, stated: “Mirzais are non-Muslims in the Pakistani constitution.  There will be no change in this democratic constitution.”  Mian Shahbaz Sharif, the ex-chief minister of Punjab perhaps distinguished himself on this score.  On July 1, 2009, he presided over a meeting of religious leaders purportedly to give a united front against terrorism in the country.  Ironically, the joint declaration issued at the conclusion of the conference was counter-productive to its stated aims: “Faith and the Prophethood of Khatm-an-Nabiyeen Muhammad (PBUH) and love, obedience and association with him is the basis of our religious identity, collective life and national solidarity.  Unfailing certainty in his end of Prophethood (Khatme Nabuwwat) is an integral part of our faith.  It is our religious duty to safeguard the honour of Prophethood (PBUH).  Anyone who is guilty, directly or indirectly, openly or by implication, of even minor insolence to the Holy Prophet (PBUH) is an infidel (Kafir), apostate (Murtad) and must be killed (Wajib-ul-Qatl)” (Emphasis provided). reported: “Imran Khan vows to defend blasphemy law.” In November 2018 the PTI government held an international conference in Islamabad on the theme: “End of Prophethood (KN) and Muslims’ responsibilities.” There a mulla Ali Siraj from Saudi Arabia openly suggested to the Prime Minister to shed blood on this issue if he was sincere to establish a Riasat Madina in Pakistan. Hate material was included in the KPK textbook containing derogatory remarks against the holy founder of the Ahmadiyya community. It is noteworthy that according to mullas someone designated Wajib-ul-Qatl can be dispatched by any Muslim without the need to inconvenience the police, magistrate or the hangman.  


       The bar and the bench have also made their contribution to this unworthy cause.  The Supreme Court in its 1993 decision set a precedent that the show of commitment to the Kalima (Islamic creed) in any way by an Ahmadi “would amount to defiling the name of the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him.”  Earlier, a Deputy Attorney General (of Pakistan) urged before the Federal Shariat Court in 1986: “Death is the penalty for those who do not believe in the finality of Prophethood, and in Islamic countries, it is a heinous crime.  It is not necessary that the government should take action, but on the contrary, any Muslim can take the law in his own hands.” (UNDOC E/CN.4/1986/SR.30 at P.15) Justice Shaukat Siddiqui of Islamabad High Court 172-page Judgment Sheet was as if written by a mulla. He told the Parliament to “also take measures which will completely terminate those who scar this belief (in the end of prophethood).” During the hearings, he remarked that “if they (Ahmadis) wish to stay in Pakistan, they should do so as Non-Muslim citizens, and not commit thievery against Islam.” Human Rights observers called the verdict “very dangerous”, “would enable and incite violence”, etc. Justice Shujaat Ali Khan of Lahore High Court has issued on March 5, 2019, a 40-page Order Sheet on the issue of publication etc of the Holy Quran. This has affected Ahmadis, and the rulings further restrict their freedom to recite, refer to and understand their primary scripture. 





    It is not that Pakistani law permits religious hate-mongering.  It does not.  Pakistan Penal Code clause 295-A is explicit.  For “deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feeling of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs” calls for imprisonment up to ten years, or with fine, or with both.  However, the application of this law is very selective.  The state machinery, the police, the judiciary have almost never applied this law to the members of the majority religious groups.  The state promotes a culture of selective impunity by prosecuting the minorities according to the whims of the mulla.  Unpleasant, but true.


       This selectivity prevails not only in the realm of application of this law, its tentacles are widespread and extend to nearly every aspect of civil society.  Laws specific to Ahmadis forbid them to explain or defend their theological position.  So, how to convey the truth?  There is no way.  Alexander Solzhenitsyn was closer to the truth about Pakistan than his own country when he said, “In our country, the lie has become not just a moral category but a pillar of the state.”





 The result?  You reap what you sow.  It is a misconception that since the Ahmadiyya community is small, so the hate campaign must also be of little consequence.  The issue involves a major principle that is being violated.  <Is this the principle: When the state starts taking sides in religious matters it has dire consequences?>  The state continued to yield to the mulla in his violence and extremism against Ahmadis during the last 36 years, and the results are there for all to see.  The mulla now poses a threat not only to Pakistan but to the region, and by extension, to the world.  Some savants can peep deep into the future: in 1984 when General Zia promulgated the anti-Ahmadiyya Ordinance XX, Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, the fourth head of the Community, called it a “potential threat to world peace” and wrote a brochure with that title.


January 31, 2020


Annexe:  Excerpts from hate material