Mahzarnama (the Memorandum) is an important historical document which was presented by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat in 1974, to the Special Committee of the National Assembly of Pakistan, comprising the entire house.
The purpose of this document was to establish that the members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat are Muslims and to explain its basic tenets, as well as to refute the baseless allegations levelled against it.
It was declared at the outset that, according to Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, no Assembly or court in this world had any right to determine, or specify, the religion of any individual or a community; because this can be done only by God who knows the innermost thoughts of our hearts. Similarly, an impassioned warning was also put on record to the effect that this Assembly might become instrumental in creating dissension among the ranks of the followers of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa by declaring Ahmadis to be non-Muslim, because this act would set such a wrong and horrible precedent which might engulf other sects in the future.
The backdrop of this sad episode was a preconceived scheme (for the details of which there is no room here) of the then government. Due to the dictates of political expediency, it declared Ahmadis to be outside the pail of Islam, in order to win support of the extremist Muslim clerics. Since a large number of these hardline clerics had already penetrated the ranks of the official Government Opposition, which, also fully supported the government in this matter.
When this preconceived political plan reached its logical conclusion, an internecine tussle broke out between the Government and the Opposition for the credit to have resolved this so-called “ninety-year old problem”. As a matter of fact this marked a great tragedy in the history of Pakistan, enabling politics to impinge on religion and allowing religion, in turn, to interfere with politics. This indeed was the most serious blunder the outcome of which mars the contemporary Pakistani political scene that seems to find no way out of the mess.
After this tragic mistake, the influence of extremist divines continued to plague national politics, culminating in the imposition of a sinister eleven-year stint of martial law which proved much more macabre than the earlier martial law episodes, and whose gruesomeness continues to eclipse the future of our nation. The country continues to be deprived of discipline, unity, tolerance, and national purpose. The seeds of dissension sowed by selfishly motivated politics have resulted in a crop of multifarious hatreds, and have fragmented Pakistan into factions, sects, clans, and provincialism.
It is plainly obvious to the intelligentsia that the foundations of Pakistan’s present misery were in fact laid in 1974. We pray that Allah may enlighten the nation and help adopt the noble charter which the Quaid-e-Azam prescribed for the nation, and which reflected his vision for this country. He said:
“You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed— that has nothing to do with the business of the State. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State.
“Now I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State.”
[Quaid-e-Azam’s Address of 11 August 1947, to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan]
The exposition of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat’s position, in the form of Mahzarnama – the Memorandum, which was submitted as a historical document, has been reproduced as a book. After the submission of the document, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat was subjected to a grilling inquisition, for eleven days, in the National Assembly of Pakistan, by the Attorney General of Pakistan and clerics. The then Supreme Head of the worldwide Muslim Jama‘at Ahmadiyya, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIIrt, personally answered all the allegations that were made, and provided their solid, well-reasoned and conclusive rebuttal . . .
The government of Pakistan required the Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, Hazrat Mirza Nasir Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IIIrt, to present himself personally before the aforesaid Committee of the National Assembly to enunciate his standpoint and to answer all the questions that may be asked of him on that occasion. He was allowed to have four self-selected representatives to assist him.
The five-member delegation of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat consisted of the following four who assisted him:
1. Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad sahibrt
2. Maulana Abul Ata Jalandhari sahib
3. Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad Mazhar sahib
4. Maulana Dost Muhammad Shahid sahib
Prior to the commencement of its aforesaid session, the Special Committee of the National Assembly sifted through thousands of objections and allegations against the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat and selected a few hundred of them to pointedly direct those at the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat.
This Committee, as pointed out before, consisted of the entire House, and was fully aided by the Ministry of Religious Affairs, and the Attorney General who represented the Ministry of Law, in preparation of the questionnaire which was then put forth by the Attorney General. In addition to this, selected religious scholars were also allowed by the government to subsequently direct their questions to the Supreme Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat.
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