Mr N. A. Faruqui’s letter to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan during the Bhutto case appeal
I translate below an article by Mr N.A. Faruqui (d. 1991), published in Paigham Sulh, dated 9 August 1978, at the time when the Supreme Court of Pakistan was hearing the appeal of former Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto against his death sentence which had been awarded to him in the Lahore High Court.
(In this Urdu article Mr Faruqui noted that he wrote his letter to the Chief Justice in English, which was translated into Urdu in the article. As I do not have access to the original English letter, I have translated the Urdu translation of the letter back into English.)
Correction of a Misunderstanding
In one of the proceedings during the hearing of the appeal in the Supreme Court of Pakistan in the case of the murder of Nawab Muhammad Ahmad Khan, published in the daily Nawa-i Waqt of Lahore, the impression has been given that I am a Qadiani. Consequently I considered it appropriate to have this misunderstanding cleared by writing a letter to the Chief Justice of Pakistan. The Chief Justice has given me satisfaction by reading out my letter in open court, for which I am grateful to him. However, the manner of its reporting in Nawa-i Waqt of 30th July created again the possibility of a misunderstanding. Therefore I believe it essential to publish, in the newspaper of our Jama‘at, the correspondence which I carried out in this connection, so that no misimpression may remain in the minds of our members. Some have also asked me what I have done about this.
My letter to the Chief Justice of Pakistan
Lahore, 20th July 1978.
My dear Chief Justice,
I am daring to address you directly because I do not wish this matter to become public before you have considered my application. After that, I leave it up to you to take whatever action you may consider fit.
In the daily Nawa-i Waqt of Lahore, dated 19th July 1978, there is a column headed ‘In the Supreme Court’. This is a column which carries news of interest to the public arising in court during the hearings of the appeal in the case of the murder of Nawab Muhammad Ahmad Khan. I am enclosing a cutting.
The news which was printed stated that the senior counsel for the appellant, Mr Yahya Bakhtiar, had said about me, in passing, that I am a Qadiani. Upon this, the senior counsel for the Government of Pakistan, Mr Ijaz Batalvi, corrected this by saying that (during the hearings in the High Court) Mr Masud Ahmad was asked if he, I, and Chaudhry Abdullah are members of the Jama‘at Ahmadiyya Lahore, upon which Mr Masud Ahmad denied it about himself but said regarding the others that he did not know. Upon this, an honourable judge of the Supreme Court said: “But everyone knows that N.A. Faruqui is a Qadiani”.
With due respect I state that I am not a Qadiani, but I am certainly a member of the Jama‘at Ahmadiyya Lahore.
Our Jama‘at had long ago, that is, in 1914, under the leadership of Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ali, whose English translation and commentary of the Holy Quran and book The Religion of Islam are of world-wide fame, and Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, who is well known in the world because of the Woking Muslim Mission, separated from the Qadiani Jama‘at on those two very points due to which there was agitation in the minds of Muslims in 1974, namely:
- The Qadiani members attribute a claim of prophethood to Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad sahib.
- The Qadiani members regard those who do not believe in Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad sahib to be kafirs.
We have spent the past sixty years debating with and countering Qadiani members, and have proved that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad sahib did not make a claim to prophethood, and that he himself stated more than once that no Muslim becomes a kafir by denying him. By our separation and our combating them, we have brought upon ourselves the disapproval of the Qadiani members.
Due to the above facts, for me to be called a Qadiani in the highest court of Pakistan, and for this to be confirmed by the words that “everyone knows this”, is an injustice against me which has caused me great pain and has created a misimpression about me among my friends and the general public.
I know that ordinary people by mistake consider both the Qadiani Jama‘at and the Lahore Jama‘at to be the same. But most of the educated and well-informed people are aware of the difference between these two Jama‘ats which is fundamental and of principle. Considering in particular that Mr Ijaz Husain Batalvi had corrected the misunderstanding about me, for an honourable judge to say that “everyone knows that N.A. Faruqui is a Qadiani” is a serious misrepresentation of my position. I am aware that the honourable judge did not know the real position. Nonetheless, the fact remains that a wrong impression about me has not only entered the Supreme Court record but has also been published in the press.
I therefore respectfully submit that you take the action which you consider appropriate so that the stain upon my name of being a Qadiani in the Supreme Court record and the press is removed. I would be grateful.
Yours sincerely, N.A. Faruqui
It was very kind of the Chief Justice of Pakistan that he read out my letter in open court, which clears me. May Allah reward him. However, the report of this event as printed in Nawa-i Waqt of 30th July contained some words which could again give rise to a misunderstanding. Accordingly, I wrote a letter to the Editor of Nawa-i Waqt on the same day, which is given below:
Lahore, 30 July 1978.
Respected Editor of Nawa-i Waqt,
Assalamu alaikum. In your paper of today, 30th July, under the heading ‘In the Supreme Court’, you have again published a news about me which can create a misunderstanding. Your correspondent writes that in my letter to the Chief Justice of Pakistan, clarifying my position, I have written that I “do not believe Mirza Ghulam Ahmad to be the last prophet”. This could be taken to mean that I believe him to be a prophet, but not the last prophet. I did not write any such words in my letter to the Chief Justice.
I belong to the Jama‘at Ahmadiyya Lahore, whose members believe Muhammad mustafa, Ahmad mujtaba, may peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him, to be the last prophet from the bottom of their hearts, and do not accept that a prophet can at all come after him. And we consider everyone who recites the Kalima to be a Muslim.
Please publish this letter of mine in a prominent place to remove the misimpression that has been created about me. I would be grateful.
Your servant, N.A. Faruqui
This letter was published in Nawa-i Waqt but not in a prominent place.
Translator’s Note: Mr Naseer Ahmad Faruqui was a prominent member of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Jama‘at. He had a long career in the Civil Service, first the Indian Civil Service in British India, and then in the Civil Service of Pakistan. Under President Ayub Khan, Mr Faruqui was Cabinet Secretary and later Principal Secretary to the President. After retirement in 1966, he was appointed the first chairman of the Capital Development Authority, the public body for the development of Islamabad as the new capital of Pakistan. Mr Faruqui also wrote and spoke extensively on the meanings of the Holy Quran, the teachings of Islam, and the work of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement, and was a regular contributor to the Movement’s organs, Paigham Sulh (Urdu) and The Light (English).