Pakistan’s appointment of new Military Chief sparks religious controversy

Appointment of a new military chief in the largely Muslim country of Pakistan has sparked a religious controversy. The new chief, Lieutenant General Qamar Javed Bajwa who is replacing General Raheel Sharif, has been labeled an ‘Ahmadi’ by the country’s right-wing religious nationalists.

The controversy began on November 22nd, when Pakistani Senator, Sajid Meer, published a video on facebook in which he suggested that one of the four Generals being considered for the position of Army Chief had Ahmadi family members.

Ahmadis are followers of the Ahmadiyya sect of Islam, which is considered heretic by mainstream Muslims. In 1974 Pakistan passed a constitutional amendment declaring Ahmadis a ‘non-Muslim’ minority. In 1984 Pakistan passed another law which made it a criminal act for Ahmadis to identify as Muslims.

Pakistan’s conservative religious and political circles were sent abuzz over the claims and many demanded that the General’s name be taken off the list. Tahir Ashrafi of Pakistan’s Ulema Council repeated the demand made by Senator Meer.

Reacting to the claims, Oscar-winning filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, criticized people for dragging religion into a system that is based on merit.

Many of Pakistan’s prominent rights activists also took to social media to express their dismay over misuse of religion as a tool of discrimination.

While, several others relayed the fact that in the past countless Ahmadi officers have served in Pakistan’s top military positions.

On November 23rd, within 24 hours of the first video, Senator Meer published another video in which he claimed that he had been assured by civil and military sources that the concerned General, his family and his wife’s family had no Ahmadi relatives.

Since then, Meer’s second claim has been questioned by several Journalists and independent researchers, who maintain that even though General Bajwa himself is not an Ahmadi, his father-in-law is:

On Saturday Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced the appointment of General Qamar Bajwa as new Army Chief despite the controversy surrounding his faith.

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  1. Ahmadies are good Muslims & good humans.They follow the teachings of Islam in letter &spirit. Believe in peace & justice.Shun all kinds of violence in their practical life. Embrace tolerance & mutual respect as way of life.Mullahs believe in the contrary.

  2. One thing Is Clear there Are Muslim and they Are Ahmadis we Are Mulims and what Happend with US this Is Not with US the mullahs WHO hate Pakistan and quaideazam hey Are Not mulims us jo hmare sath horaha he asal Main mulavi Hamre piyare khuda SE larrahehen aur Hamre piyare Nabi Mohmmad saw ko Har bat ka Walt istimal karahehen wo bhi sun lesen Ur baqi log bhi ke h, in harkatoon SE na to Allah ko choregeen aur Nahi Kalima Islam laillahhaillah mohmmaddar rashooluuha kehne Nahi Choreen ge

  3. I know that Gen Bajwa is not Ahmedi ,But at 1st step Ask Sajid Mir and Ashrefi ,are they muslim,s and if they claim then ,askthem to prove , as I know for sure that Ahmedi,s are better Muslim,s and Kulma gou, 2nd,ly every one knows the character of both and finally they and their leaders use to call Pakistan as Pleedistan whereas Sir Zaferullah ,Gen Akhter Malik ,Gen Ali Malik ,Gen Iftikhar Janjua, and Air Marshal Zafer Choudhray ,Mirza Muzzafer Ahmed (were all Ahmedies) and serve the nation with houner. Shame for sajjid mir and ashrefi for such a act.

  4. It looks a big game by PM Nawaz Sharief. Outgoing COAS always dominated him specially in security and foreign affairs. He wishes these two important areas back to civil authority. Intentional le-belling Ahmadi to new COAS will be like ever hanging sword forcing him to remain cautious and always to play at aback foot. Power lusty people can go to any extent so Nawaz has gone. Now one has to see how Gen Bajwa behaves.

  5. Ahmadi or Jatt should not be criteria. Such divisions are scary. Baradri/ Clans were promoted by dictator ZiaulHaq for his vested interests. It is time to strengthen the democracy. Professional and Patriot Pakistani: That is enough to be our COAS. Hope he could help to uproot terrorism from entire of Pakistan so that we can have back Jinnah’s Pakistan.

    1. Professional and true patriotic, that is enough, goodddddd sir, and religiin desnt matter in a state which came into being for ISLAM….
      Are u a Muslim?
      You may say, ” ysss I am”. N according to ur dogmas, religion must be a prvt matter just like christianity, isnt it?
      Please sir be a muslim in real terms, ur president, PM n COAS matter a lot, so they must b Muslims….

  6. I am an Indian and I sincerely hope that new Pak General will work towards normalizing Indo-Pak relations. God bless both faces of the same coin.

  7. Ahmadi Muslims are proven to be most patriotic citizens of Pakistan and also wherever they reside they follow the principle of Islam to love your country of abode.
    The Mullahs who are shouting the loudest against the peaceful Ahmadis must look in their past behaviour towards the creation of Pakistan, most of then called Qaid e Azam as Kafir e Azam and to Pakistan as Paleedistan. While Ahmadis were the one who supported the Qaid and the Idea of Pakistan. Mullahs should be ashamed of themselves for stirring up hatred by using the good name of Ahmadis to further their aim of harming Pakistan.

  8. Pakistan has a professional army like other countries. It does not interfere if COAS is Muslim or non Muslim. His commitment to serve the counts. Let there be no confusion and controversy about this appointment.

  9. شکر ہے پاکستان کا اگلا آرمی چیف احمدی مُسلمان نہیں !
    شکر اب پاکستان کی سائنس ڈاکٹر قدیر کے ہاتھ میں ہے ، عبدالسلام کے ہاتھ میں نہیں ، جس کے علم کا عالم یہ تھا کہ اسے نوبیل انعام مل گیا
    شکر ہے اب پاکستان کا وزیر خارجہ سر ظفراللہ خان نہیں ، جس کے انصاف اور علم کا یہ عالم تھا کہ عالمی عدالت برائے انصاف نے اپنا سربراہ تک بنا لیا ،
    شکر ہے پاکستان کوئی بھی وزیر خزانہ احمدی نہیں ، کیونکہ جب تھا تب ہم نے جرمنی کو قرضہ تک دے دیا تھا
    شکر ہے پاکستان میں اب کوئی جنرل کے رینک کا احمدی نہیں ، وگرنہ وہ اگلے محاظ پر جاکے تاریخ رقم کردیتا ، کیونکہ پاکستان کی تاریخ میں صرف ایک جنرل ہی محاظ پر شہید ہوا ، وہ احمدی تھا.

    جو قومیں اپنی تقدیر ہی نہیں بدلنا چاہتیں، خدا بھی ان کو چھوڑ دیتا ہے.

  10. A good proportion of Ahmadis are Jatts. And most Ahmadi and Non-Ahmadi Jatts have family ties with each other. It is a rare to prominent Non-Ahmadi Jatt who does not have some Ahmadi Family (including distant family). The site of Rabwah itself was indentified by a Bajwa(Ch. Aziz Bajwa sb), Sir Zafarullah Khan’s mother was a Bajwa, Maulvi Muhammad Abdullah, Raees of Kheeewa Bajwa was a Bajwa.

    Although Gen. Bajwa I cannot tell you he is connected to Ahmadis, it is nearly impossible that he is not.

    Bajwas fall in the large Jatt clans category by population along with Warriach, Cheema,Virk, Sandhu,Gill, Tarar, and Gondal. Out of these clans Bajwas are blessed to have the largest proportion of Ahmadis. And are one of the few Jat clans who lost only a few members to Lahori Jamaat.

    There are 100s of smaller Jatt clans invluding my own (Malhi).