Fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell the blood of Ahmadis in Pakistan

Published: June 21, 2016

Members of the Ahmadi Muslim community hold the names of victims as they stand over their graves in Chenab Nagar, in Punjab's Chiniot District, on May 29, 2010. PHOTO: REUTERS

Chaudhry Abdul Khaliq, a 50-year-old Ahmadi homeopath was killed with a single gunshot to the head this Monday in the Abul Hasan Ispahani locality of Karachi. This is the second fatal shooting of an Ahmadi in this locality in a three week period and a continuation of the increase in violence against the community since the attack on Darul Zikr by the Punjab Taliban in 2012.

Unfortunately, many of us continue to remain in denial about the treatment of Ahmadis in Pakistan and refuse to accept that the level of discrimination and the slow trickle of violence against them is untenable and unacceptable.

In an attempt to put things in perspective and identify the origins of anti-Ahmadi sentiments, I have put together a chronology of seminal events that shaped the contemporary position of Ahmadis in Pakistani society:

Pakistan – 1953

Ahmadis are a salient facet of Pakistani society. They have the highest literacy rate of any community, are prominent in the civil service and excel as teachers, scientists and military officers.

The Foreign Minister of Pakistan is Sir Zafarullah Khan, an Ahmadi, who drafted the Pakistan Resolution – the famous 1940 declaration by the All India Muslim League calling for the creation of a Muslim State.

Not all, however, are pleased with the accomplishments of the Ahmadis.


The mullah strokes his beard thoughtfully.

The rise of the educated Ahmadi is problematic. The power of the mullah rests on getting people riled up, ready to give their lives for their faith. A version of faith adapted to require mullahs as sentinels of the “correct” form of Islam is preferable. For then, when people are ready to die for Islam, they are ready to die for the mullah.

The mullah writes a book, sort of a Pakistani Mein Kampf. The Ahmadis are a problem; they are perverting the faith and are more loyal to the British than to non-Ahmadis. They consider all non-Ahmadis heretics. They have social and political ambitions that will do no less than destroy the practice of true Islam in Pakistan. The only solution to all this is excommunicating them from Islam.

The mullah gathers a cabal of demagogues who demand the government declare Ahmadis non-Muslims and remove all Ahmadis including Sir Zafarullah Khan from important government posts. The government refuses and the mullah tells his followers to take to the streets.

Hundreds of Ahmadis are killed and shops, houses and places of worship burnt to the ground. The mullah is arrested and sentenced to death. Two months later this is changed to a life-sentence. Two years later the mullah is pardoned-despite his never requesting a pardon or accepting any wrongdoing. His adoring followers see this is a vindication and his popularity grows like never before.

The mullah bides his time.


Pakistan – 1974

On the pretext of an attack on members of the mullah’s political party in Rabwah (the headquarters of the Ahmadis) the mullah launches street protests again. The demand remains the same: declare Ahmadis non-Muslims. The government offers little resistance and the Houses of Parliament pass the bill that makes the Second Amendment part of the Constitution of Pakistan. The mullah has triumphed, Ahmadis have been declared non-Muslims.

Pakistan – 1979

A huge crowd gathers for the mullah’s funeral in Lahore. He is remembered as a true soldier of the faith and the ultimate authority on jihad. A nation weeps.

But neither mullahs nor the state is done with Ahmadis yet.

Pakistan – 1984

General Ziaul Haq promulgates Legal Ordinance 20. No longer can Ahmadis even refer to themselves as Muslims. They cannot say Muslim greetings, cannot cite the Quran or hadith and their places of worship will no longer be known as mosques. The ex-communication is complete.

Pakistan – 2010

Two Ahmadi places of worship are attacked. Ninety four people are killed and a 120 injured. The Pakistani Taliban claim responsibility.

Pakistan – 2012

Two years after it was attacked and its occupants butchered, the administration of Darul Zikr was ordered by a judge to remove the “Kalma” – the bearing of witness that there is one God and Muhammad (PBUH) is the prophet of God upon reciting which one becomes a Muslim. Here are seen the ugly strokes of black hiding the Kalma written on Darul Zikr.

Pakistan – 2014

Three Ahmadi women are killed including two minor girls when their house is set on fire. Four other houses were set on fire by a mob enraged by blasphemy allegations since disproven.

Pakistan – 2015

Riots erupt in an electronics market in Lahore after the arrest of a shopkeeper who put up a notice refusing entry to Ahmadis.

Pakistan – 2016

Two members of the Ahmadi community are killed in Karachi within the space of three weeks.

As if black paint could hide the faith of the Ahmadis from the light of God’s sun.

Here is the world of intolerance in a grain of sand. Not even cold-blooded mass murder can suffice for those who seek to affirm their faith by denying it to others. It is time to put an end to this callous persecution that finds no justification in the Holy Quran or in the example of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

The monopoly of the mullah must end and faith must not be used as a pretext to inflate one’s legend at the expense of the most helpless segments of our society.

Let us all strive to become the means by which Allah (swt) repels those who would tear down the abodes of God whilst claiming they are doing so in His name.

We keep coming up with excuses and rationalisations for the treatment of Ahmadis, yet in the same breath preach tolerance and condemn extremism. We must understand that we cannot have it both ways. The true test of tolerance is the ability to empathise with those we disagree with, to be able to acquire a degree of moral relativism that allows us to shed our sense of moral superiority and cease to look down on others.

The Pakistani State can lay no rightful claim to tolerance or justice till Ahmadis are treated as equal members of society and not stripped of their identity.

Khusro Tariq

Khusro Tariq

The author is a Pakistani-American Psychiatrist currently pursuing training in Jungian psychoanalysis. He blogs on Huffington Post on matters of psychology, faith, politics and poetry. He tweets as @KhwajaKhusro (twitter.com/KhwajaKhusro)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Bairooni Haath

    A favorite story line in books is of the scientist creating a monster which devours its maker. Ahmedis were among the most vocal supporters of Pakistan before its creation. They voted for Pakistan and got their wish. In the tradition of great fiction, their creation, Pakistan turned against them and devoured them.Recommend

  • Feroz

    I can see that rapid progress has been made starting from 1947. When you submit your destiny and fate to the clergy, what exactly was the expectation ? Having empowered the clergy, does anyone seriously believe the clock can be reset ? The shortest route almost always leads to hell, it is always an struggle and exhausting uphill trek to get to Heaven. Each one of us can exercise the free choice, there being no one to blame. Saying “I lost my way” after reaching the destination, will not help.Recommend

  • Acorn Guts

    Brilliant .. I often read blogs criticising the ill treatment of Ahmadis (much appreciated) but rarely do I read a piece that discusses the political motives behind the anti-ahmadiyya amendments.

    The biggest hurdle I face when discussing the Ahmadiyya persecution is the excuse – ‘but our constitution declares them as infidels, how can the reality be otherwise?’. It is then very difficult to convince that the constitutional changes were in fact highly politically motivated and have very little to do with religious or doctrinal differences.

    Also, the list of martyrs is incomplete. There are also many Ahmadis who are languishing in jails for merely uttering the kalima or carrying Islamic religious material with them.Recommend

  • Ahmed Hayat

    Hey whatever happened to the “Quaid Ka Pakistan” ? How did we stray off course so much? What happened to living and let live? What happened to protecting our minorities. Is our Patriotism and love for our country and fellow country men only confined to Sunni Muslims? Isn’t this the worst form of Hypocrisy?Recommend

  • ahmadtajwer

    Couldn’t agree more with columnist on this.Recommend

  • shiva the destroyer

    And they say Hinduism has Caste System

    If this isn’t caste system then what is it? Recommend

  • Lets look at logic

    Only wahhabis and deobandis are allowed to live in Pakistan, that is until they start calling each other kafir.Recommend

  • Jahan Ara

    The writer has left many gaps. For instance, Zafrullah khan abstained from joining nimaaz e janaza of Quad e Azam. He said his famous sentence on this occasion : ” you can consider me a Muslim mnister of a non-Muslim state or a Non Muslim minister of a Muslim state. ”

    In th National Assembly of Pakistan, the discussion went on for days. The head of Ahmadis was provided full opportunity to participate in the debate. The final decisive point was his confession that Ahmdis considered non-Ahmdi Muslims as Kaafir. Recommend

  • Studebaker

    Islamic caste system consists of different grades of believers and unbelievers. It is simply much more violent than Indian caste system and cannot be reformed.Recommend

  • siesmann

    There are many religions out there that will welcome you with open arms,and will safeguard your life and property. Mullah won’t let you live,and he has zombie hordes that will keep coming after you,until you are exterminated.The blood-lust of Mullahs is inextinguishable.Come out before it is too late.Let the mullah find a newer prey.Recommend

  • Salma

    This is a consequence of what one may call selective hatred. It starts with, say, hatred of Hindus at which point of time, Shias and Ahmedis will feel safe, or even feel a part of mainstream. Once accomplished, the next target will be Ahmedis, followed by Shias, to be followed by a dominant sect of Sunnis, so on and so forth. The net result is that the society becomes dysfunctional with lumpen elements at the helm, fighting with other lumpen elements also at the helm.Recommend

  • vinsin

    Lets see whether Ahmedi get success in creating a new country out of Pakistan.Recommend

  • JP

    Still, hindus have a Caste System. With many layers upon layers.
    Don’t whitewash YOUR problems by alluding to the inhumane treatment,
    meted out to Ahmadis. That does not EXCUSES your Caste System.
    Worry about YOUR failings first. Not your neighbors.Recommend

  • Desi

    Under in no circumstances Islam has given the right to kill someone, degrade their place of worship or even worst destroy it, regardless of any religion, sect and school of thought. Unfortunatley their is a lack of education and civil sense in our society and this then becomes the favourite playground for the mullahs to maniuplate the minds of people. I have littrealy seen these same people who object ahmadis here, are working with them in western society, talking with them, eating with them even embracing them. This is plain hypocricyRecommend

  • shiva the destroyer

    Isn’t it amazing that despite low caste hindus making 75% of India population, they’re granted reservation rights? is there any nation more generous in this matter? Not even USA
    Now regarding Pakistan….what my point was…..you are no different than any Hindu fundamentalistRecommend

  • Acorn Guts

    Never, Ahmadis are staunchly patriotic despite all the hardship they face. We’ve given our blood, sweat and tears to this country and we’ll defend her independence and sanctity till the last lung full of air.Recommend

  • Milind A

    This is a standard practice… Blame all the ills on the mullah. Agreed the mullah incites, provokes, but where is rationality or humanity in the common man? Well-studied and literate Muslims have a history of bigotry against Ahmadis. Your own scientist A.Q.Khan proudly claimed that no ‘Qadiani’ was born in Bhopal (as reported by this newspaper few years back). Bigotry against Ahmadis exists amongst Indian Muslims as well .. a couple of years back a mob in Hyderabad tried to burn down an Ahmadi mosque (with people inside). However the police intervened and saved the situation. Point is the Indian state doesn’t encourage this, secondly its not just the mullah to blame – ordinary Muslims carry their bigotry against Ahmadis (Hindus/Christians) in them as well.Recommend

  • Hameed Alam

    Leave Mulla aside. Its not Mulla’s problem. Will somebody tell us : what business Ahmdis had got to declare Muslims as kafir?

    Iqbal was not a Mulla. He had correspondence with Nehru on this issue. Accordibg to Iqbal, Ahmdis were traitors of Islam.

    I will ask these gentlemen who are cursing Mulla : Have you read Mirza sahib’s books? Recommend

  • zarar

    I just hope and pray that the nonsensical and innocent lost of lives can be stopped. Call them nonmuslims even though that is fundamentally against the teachings of Quran and Sunnah of Holy Prophet of Islam but they are still the citizens and should have there rights as patriotic Pakistanis.
    Ignorance is difficult to answer but I assure you the comments about Ahmadis considering other Sects non Muslims are base less and unless he claims to have the ability to see inside the hearts, he should retract those, as a matter of fact most of the Muslims give Fatwas of Non Muslim to other sects so some one put it right, we in Pakistan are a factory to make non muslims but not Ahmadis, they belive every one who calls him self a Muslim should be called a Muslim, there actions can be totally UnIslamic like Alqaeeda and ISIS, but let God be the judge.Recommend

  • Juan

    I had read that Zafrullah Khan abstained from the public Janaza (there was already a private Shia Janaza ceremony held earlier) due to not wanting to pray behind a certain Deoband cleric who was leading the prayers and regarded Ahmedis as non-Muslims.

    Don’t know much about those debates, but also read the Ahmedi leadership did try to throw Shia Muslims under the bus by making a defensive argument to the majority Sunni Muslim clerics that they’re more likely Kaafir than they were.

    Regardless, still don’t believe the state has the right to interfere in the matter of faith or declare anyone non-Muslim whatever that faith’s beliefs about other faiths is, which maybe hypocritical, as long as they’re not indulging in hate speech.Recommend

  • siesmann

    As if mullahs and bigots are always joining the nimaz-e-janaza of Ahmadis. And day is not far when Muslims will be banned from Western countries due to the attitudes of people. And then they will cry themselves hoarse accusing West for discrimination.You people can’t tolerate your own,they are more than justified in not tolerating violent,foreign hordes. that bring their bigotry along.Recommend

  • Bibloo

    Great observation. Good thinking.
    You are free, until they come for you.
    They say there are 20% Shias in Pakland.
    So, no, they will not be able to eliminate
    them,…however, there IS an ongoing Shia
    Genocide in progress.Recommend

  • Adnan Ul Haq

    shiv sena is doing the same violence in India and they are accountable to no one even Indian courts ruled out in there favor by converting death sentence to life imprisonmentRecommend

  • siesmann

    Tell that to mullahs and their zombie followers who do these things daily.Islam this and not this-such cliches work no more.Nobody believes them.Recommend

  • siesmann

    The trouble is you,and your mullahs haven’t read them.Recommend

  • siesmann

    Mullah doesn’t care about sweat and tears.He just needs blood for his daily meal.Recommend

  • siesmann

    So Mullah doesn’t know his Quran and Sunnah?Recommend

  • Ram

    We have caste system and we accept the fact and learning to deal with it, we can still make progress, however Ahamdis are Indian creation has nothing to do with Arab and that’s what bothers Mulla’sRecommend

  • Ram

    Ahamdis,Christians,Hindus,Shias,Qwali singers,polio workers and list goes on who are not safe in Pakistan, However Dawood Ibrahim, Hafeez Syed,Osama Bin Laden(until he was found) and many Talibans are pretty safe in PakistanRecommend

  • siesmann

    One can oust a Government;It is nearly impossible to oust the Mullah.His tentacles are deep into every facet of Pakistani society,and his appetite for more power is inextinguishable.Recommend

  • siesmann

    Mullah can concoct stories easily to be taken up by their brain-washed followers.Recommend

  • Jahan Ara

    Facts still remain facts whether some people agree or deny. The record of the National Assembly debate clearly indicates that , when asked, the ” Caliph” told in clear terms that Ahmdis consider non-Ahmdis as Kafir.Recommend

  • Ex Tribune Reader

    Yes, only ahmadis are dying in Pakistan, they are dying in drone attacks in fata, killing in targeted attacks in karachi, right? there are no human rights for non-ahmadis, right? only ahmadis are human being, right? dear media, please don’t further divide pakistanisRecommend

  • Ex Tribune reader

    People on dying on eating cow in india, goto your home and try to fix it first. What happend in gujrat? christian and sikh are also not save, but only shiv sehna gundas are fine.Recommend

  • darf

    Give me the links of those news and names of people that shiv sena kiiled!
    Just making up stories doesn’t make them real!
    Shiv sena is xenophobic but doesn’t kill people!Recommend

  • siesmann

    Right!!!! What about millenia of abuse those 75% suffered under the heels of other 25%??Recommend

  • Fahim

    In 1953 riots about 13000 muslims killed when Qadianis had power having influence in army & foreign ministriesRecommend

  • Pakistan News HD

    Brilliant .. I often read blogs criticising the ill treatment of Ahmadis (much appreciated) but rarely do I read a piece that discusses the political motives behind the anti-ahmadiyya amendments.

    The biggest hurdle I face when discussing the Ahmadiyya persecution is the excuse – ‘but our constitution declares them as infidels, how can the reality be otherwise?’. It is then very difficult to convince that the constitutional changes were in fact highly politically motivated and have very little to do with religious or doctrinal differences.

    Also, the list of martyrs is incomplete. There are also many Ahmadis who are languishing in jails for merely uttering the kalma or carrying religious material with them.