Former Pakistani Diplomat accused of Blasphemy for speaking at Ahmadiyya convention

Wajid Shamsul Hassan’s speech at Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s annual convention in UK.

Legislators from both ruling and opposition benches in Pakistan’s Punjab Assembly on Thursday severely criticised the statement of former Pakistani diplomat to UK Wajid Shamsul Hasan in which he said that the decision to declare Ahmadiyya Muslims a minority in Pakistan was wrong.

Ahmadiyya are a minority sect of Islam who are considered heretical by many mainstream Muslims.In 1974, Pakistan’s parliament, under then Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, adopted a law declaring Ahmadis to be non-Muslims. Rights organisations describe Ahmadiyya Muslims as one of the most relentlessly persecuted communities in Pakistan.

Assembly Members also submitted a joint resolution on the issue to the assembly secretariat which is likely to be taken up on Friday. The members said that through his statement he had not only hurt the feelings of Pakistanis but also of Muslims all over the world. They also urged the government to take action against him immediately.

Though both sides – the ruling as well as opposition – agreed to bring a resolution in the house against Wajid on the same day but could  prepare and table it and the proceedings of the session were adjourned till Friday (today). The issue of the former diplomat’s statement was raised at the start of the session.

Waheed Gull (PML-N)On a point of order, treasury member Waheed Gull (PML-N) showing a local Urdu newspaper in the house strongly condemned an interview of former Pakistani high commissioner to the UK Wajid Shamsul Hasan in which he said that to declare Ahmadiyya a minority in Pakistan was a wrong decision.

Gull while strongly condemning the statement demanded the speaker that government should take action under the National Action Plan (NAP) against Wajid as he had hurt all the Muslims across the world. He also said that they (parliamentarians) as firm believers in Islam could sacrifice their seats in assemblies for a religious cause.

Maulana Ilyas Chinioti (PML-N)Another treasury member Maulana Ilyas Chinioti (PML-N) said that Wajid was an agent of Ahmadis and after giving such a statement, he had insulted all the parliamentarians who have passed the constitution of Pakistan in which Ahmadis were declared a non-Muslim minority. He also urged to bring a resolution against him in the house.

Mian Aslam Iqbal (PTI)
Showing the same feelings and demand to bring a resolution in the house, PTI’s Mian Aslam Iqbal said the resolution should be brought jointly as all the opposition was also having bad feelings over the statement. Furthermore, he also demanded the Government of Pakistan take back all the ‘medals of honour’ and any other awards given to Wajid.

Qazi Ahmad Saeed (PPP)
On this occasion, Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) parliamentary leader Qazi Ahmad Saeed also stood on his bench and opposed the statement of Wajid terming him an accursed person urged the government to take serious action against him as he was involved in hurting the feelings of Muslims.

Dr Farzana Nazeer of PML also took to the floor to condemn the former diplomat’s statement.

Deputy speaker Sardar Sher Ali Khan, who was chairing the session, asked the members to introduce a resolution on the issue so that it could be adopted unanimously by the house.

The resolution, submitted jointly by MPAs of various political parties in the afternoon, condemns the statement and recommends federal government to withdraw all the honors conferred on Wajid Shamsul Hassan for stating that former Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s decision of declaring Ahmadis as non-Muslims was under pressure of the religious parties was wrong.

The resolution also sought that the party (PPP) he belongs to should disown him and the statement be taken as blasphemous and treason and he should be tried under the charges.

The resolution also pays homage to former Prime Minister Bhutto and leaders of all political parties (that had supported the constitutional amendment of declaring the Ahmadis as non-Muslims) of that time.

Contacted by phone, Mr Hassan told a local newspaper that he believed that Prophet Muhammad SAW is the last Prophet and a benefactor of all of humanity and that he never stated that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani was a Prophet.

Explaining the context his statement, he said that PPP-led National Assembly had taken the decision of declaring Ahmadis as non-Muslims “in-haste” and “under-pressure”

He said he could not say Bhutto committed any wrong for he considered the late Prime Minister as his great leader.

Recalling that the Khatme Nabuwat commission headed by Justice Munir could not have finalized a unanimous definition of a “Muslim”, he said the Muslim Ummah seemed divided everywhere and he had spoken against this divide.