Pakistan’s ex-envoy to London Wajid Shamsul Hasan spoke last week at the annual Ahmadi Convention. It was a frank talk which hit home certain important points, the gist of which was that declaring Ahmadis Non-Muslims was a huge mistake on part of Pakistan’s National Assembly -which has destroyed the social fabric of the state. Wajid Shamsul Hasan comes from a family which has been committed to Pakistan. His father Syed Shamsul Hasan was a close confidante of Mr. Jinnah, famously compiling his personal correspondence under the title “Plain Mr. Jinnah”. Coming from a generation and a family that believed in the idealism of Quaid-e-Azam Mahomed Ali Jinnah and his mission, Wajid Shamsul Hasan is obviously dismayed at the wrong turns Pakistan has taken. Every true Pakistani who feels for the country feels similarly.
What is the price for speaking out for Jinnah’s Pakistan in Pakistan? The Punjab Assembly passed a resolution against Wajid Shamsul Hasan and condemned him. Half educated and illiterate MPAs sitting in the Punjab Assembly declared that Wajid Shamsul Hasan was an enemy of Islam and an agent of the Qadianis. The leader of Pakistan People’s Party – that bastion of liberalism- even called for an FIR to be registered against the ex-envoy for blasphemy. All because the man said that it was wrong for the state to interfere in the personal faith of an individual or a community.
One can only remind the members of the Punjab Assembly – that Punjab Assembly which has always been a fortress of reaction and bigotry – that long before Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Mr. Jinnah, the founder of this country, had said something very similar:
“I have been asked a disturbing question, as to who among the Muslims can be a member of the Muslim Conference. It has been asked with particular reference to the Qadianis. My reply is that, as far as the constitution of the All-India Muslim League is concerned, it stipulates that any Muslim, without distinction of creed or sect, can become a member, provided he accepts the views, policy and programme of the Muslim League, signs the form of membership and pays the subscription. I appeal to the Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir not to raise sectarian questions, but instead to unite on one platform under one banner. In this lies the welfare of the Muslims. In this way, not only can Muslims make political and social progress effectively, but so can other communities, and so also can the state of Kashmir as a whole.”
“Mr. M. A. Sabir tried as hard as he could to persuade the Quaid-i-Azam to declare Qadianis as being out of the fold of Islam. But the Quaid-i-Azam stuck resolutely to his principle and kept on replying: `What right have I to declare a person non-Muslim, when he claims to be a Muslim’.
(23rd May, 1944, Srinagar)