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Home Monthly Newsreports Manzoor Chinioti
Manzoor Chinioti

The Friday Times

August 13-19, 2004
Vol XVI No.25

Maulana Chinioti the great apostatiser (1931-2004)

Pakistan must cleanse itself constantly if it is to become completely Islamic. Maulana Manzur Chinioti will be eternally blessed for performing a function fundamental to the survival of the state. He was indeed the great purifier of the nation

Khaled Ahmed’s  A n a l y s i s
“At Maulana Chinioti’s death all newspapers published tributes but no one mentioned the great campaign he had led in 1988 after the disappearance of Maulana Aslam Qureshi, ‘the bridegroom of all apostatisers’. Many Qadianis were rightly done to death for killing him, but he reappeared after five years, confessing that he had fled to Iran for personal reasons. Maulana Chinioti had sworn that he would hang himself if he was found alive, but he did not hang himself, for which the nation should be grateful”
“Maulana Chinioti focused on another not so well known fact: that Punjab chief minister Mian Manzur Wattoo’s father was a Qadiani. Wattoo denied it. It should be recorded here that Wattoo was in fact right, because when his father died he did not say his janaza prayer. While his early years were spent in his father’s house his later years were spent with his grandfather who was not an Ahmedi. Mian Wattoo proved his real worth as a Muslim by not saying the janaza prayer of his Qadiani father”

Published in daily Jang (1 July 2004) a note on late Maulana Manzur Ahmad Chinioti said that he was born in Chiniot in 1931 but got his religious training at Darul Ulum, Tando Alahyar, Sindh. He later entered the Multan-based anti-Ahmedi seminary of Ataullah Shah Bukhari in 1951. The following year he shifted to another seminary in Sargodha. He founded his own seminary Jamia Arabiya in Chiniot in 1954. He was invited by the founder of the Banuri Mosque in Karachi, Maulana Yusuf Banuri, to come and instruct the youth there in his speciality of condemning the Ahmedi community as apostates. Maulana Chinioti was counted among the great leaders of the JUI and was closely associated with Mufti Mahmood and Maulana Darkhwasti.

In 1985 he was invited by King Fahd of Saudi Arabia to instruct the youth at Madina University. He performed hajj 25 times and umrah 50 times and was a beloved of Imam Kaaba, Abdullah Al Sabeel. He thought the Ahmedis were both zindiq (who interpret Islam wrong) and murtad (who abandon Islam) and thought that their rightful punishment was death. On 30 June 1974 the opposition in the National Assembly presented a resolution for the apostatisation of the Ahmedis in Pakistan, which was passed as a constitutional amendment. Bhutto declared them a non-Muslim minority. Later Maulana Chinioti was successful in getting General Zia to place additional disabilities on the Ahmedis. He died of kidney failure in the Sharif Hospital in Lahore where he was admitted on the special recommendation of Mian Nawaz Sharif who held him in high esteem like the rest of the nation.

Scourge of the Qadianis: Maulana Chinioti won the hearts of the Pakistanis after he became the scourge of the Qadiani/Ahmedi sect in Pakistan. Today, if a Qadiani is buried in a Muslim graveyard by mistake his corpse is dug up and banished by the neighbourhood community. Annually a booklet is published by the Jama’at Ahmadiyya recounting the stories of persecution by the believing Muslims with the help of the Islamic state. The chief of the sect, late Mirza Tahir Ahmed, once made the mistake of challenging the apostatisers to mubahala, a kind of debate-before-God in which the worsted party is killed by God Almighty. Maulana Chinioti appeared as the champion of all Pakistanis by accepting the challenge in Pakistan and in London although the encounter never took place; according to Maulana Chinioti, the Qadiani chief ‘ran away’ from the mubahala.

The clergy of Pakistan has always battled against the heretics and the apostates. One community they have persistently targeted are the Qadianis because of their denial, according to Pakistani law, of Prophet Muhammad PBUH as the last prophet. Rabwah, where the sect founded its headquarters after 1947, was a part of Chiniot which in turn is a tehsil of Jhang district. Puritanical Deobandi clerics arose in Jhang to challenge heresy in Islam. Maulana Haq Nawaz Jhangvi, the founder of the (later terrorist) organisation Sipah Sahaba, arose from a being baiter of the Ahmedi and Barelvi communities to become the great apostatiser of the Shiite community. Demanding that the Shiites be declared non-Muslims in the Constitution, Sipah Sahaba became the great mother organisation of jihad which was used by the Pakistani state for its own purposes. Maulana Chinioti was the gr! eat Deobandi (Darkhwasti Group) leader of the district after Maulana Jhangvi. By reason of his electoral success (three times elected to Punjab Assembly) he was perhaps the greater of the two.

Aslam Qureshi ‘the bridegroom of all apostatisers’: The credit for changing the name of Rabwah, which in Quranic Arabic means a place of prominence, went to Maulana Chinioti after the Nawaz Sharif government decided to rename it Chenab Nagar. He also lived to see General Musharraf return the country to joint electorates minus the Ahmedis, reducing them to the level of untouchables lower than the untouchables of Sindh. He was also responsible for driving away the leadership of the Ahmedi sect from Pakistan after his power grew with the dependence of the state on the Deobandi jihadis. A golden opportunity of finishing the apostates off came in 1984 when another great baiter of the sect, Maulana Muhammad Aslam Qureshi, suddenly disappeared from a locality near Sialkot. A fervent member of Majlis Khatm-e-Nubuwwat, he was ‘the bridegroom of all apostatisers’, and Muslims from far and near thronged to his meetings to hear him castigating the Qadianis. As Nawa-e-Waqt reported on 18 February 1984, a meeting held in Sialkot demanded that the Ahmedi leadership (caliph) be named in the case of the disappearance of the great cleric.

The meeting was addressed by JUP’s Maulana Abdus Sattar Khan Niazi, Ahle Hadith leader late Allama Ehsan Elahi Zaheer and others from Jamaat Islami, etc, accusing the sect of murdering Maulana Qureshi for his defence of Prophet Muhammad PBUH. The disappearance of Maulana Qureshi was a most fortunate incident in the history of Pakistan. It gave Maulana Chinioti the opportunity to start a new campaign against his pet hatred — the Qadianis. For five years the sect remained under attack. Many Qadianis were killed in incidents of arson and violence throughout the country. The Muslims were sure that Mirza Tahir Ahmad had got the cleric murdered because Maulana Chinioti had said in public ( Nawa-e-Waqt, 18 February 1984) that if the Ahmedi leader was not brought back from London and prosecuted and not found guilty he was ready to die. He also asserted that! if Maulana Aslam Qureshi was ever found alive he was ready to hang himself.

Aslam Qureshi reappears: As luck would have it, Maulana Aslam Qureshi reappeared in Pakistan after five years. According to his own story narrated in Jang (13 July 1988) he had escaped from Sialkot because of difficult financial circumstances and gone down to Sindh from where he had gone to Gwadar and then crossed over into Iran where he joined the Iranian troops fighting the war against Iraq. Unfortunately his quest for money came to nothing while he found that the war was too much for his tender feet. He made his way back and on his arrival declared that Iran was on the right path in the war while Iraq had transgressed. He confessed that he had written a letter to his son informing him about his whereabouts. Had the son announced that he was alive, persecution of the Ahmedis in Pakistan under the tutelage of the great apostatiser Maulana Chinioti ! would have abated. The son however admitted that he had received the letter but when his uncle got it examined from a script expert it was found to be false. Qureshi also admitted that he had written the letter by distorting his handwriting.

No one really minded that Aslam Qureshi was proved to be a bit of a fraud. It was even less important that Maulana Manzur Chinioti had allowed his word of honour to be falsified. In fact only one nondescript newspaper in Pakistan editorialised on the matter asking who was finally responsible for the unfair treatment of those who were dragged to the police stations for years and accused of killing the honourable cleric. The truth is that it was a God-sent opportunity for Pakistan to purge the Qadianis. It was morally not incumbent on the Muslims to question the honourable mission of Maulana Chinioti. That is why when the newspapers published tributes to him on his death in July 2004, no reference was made in them to the incident of Maulana Aslam Qureshi’s famous disappearance. According to Jang (1 March 1989) however MPA Khwaja Yusuf of the PPP did ask the ! maulana in the Assembly in 1989 as to why he had not taken phansi (hanging), as he had pledged, after Qureshi had been found alive.

The Mian Manzur Wattoo affair: During the years of Qureshi’s disappearance, Maulana Chinioti rode high in the esteem of the nation. As member of the Punjab Assembly he bent all his energies to spotting the Qadianis and exposing them. He focused on the Muslim League speaker of the house Mian Manzur Ahmad Wattoo and accused him of being a Qadiani and Qadiani-nawaz(partisan). According to Nawa-e-Waqt (29 May 1986) the ruling party said in the house that Mian Manzur Wattoo was Ashiq-e-Rasool who had faith in the concept of Khatm-e-Nabuwwat and definitely not a Qadiani. But Maulana Chinioti was focusing on another not so well known fact: that Wattoo’s father was a Qadiani. It should be recorded here that Wattoo was in fact right because when his father died he did not say his janaza prayer. While his early years were spent in ! his father’s house his later years were spent with his grandfather who was not an Ahmedi. Mian Wattoo proved his real worth as a Muslim by not saying the janaza prayer of his Qadiani father.

In 1988 Maulana Chinioti became the bell-wether of the Muslim League in Punjab. PPP was ruling at the centre and Nawaz Sharif was leading the opposition from the largest province. Maulana Chinioti expressed the view of the clergy in Pakistan in general when he said on the floor of the Punjab Assembly ( Nawa-e-Waqt 21 December 1988) that he did not accept a woman prime minister in the person of Ms Benazir Bhutto. He also said something unprintable about her and her mother Mrs Nusrat Bhutto, as a result of which there was an opposition walkout. The speaker Mian Manzur Wattoo was forced to expunge the unprintable words, but the Muslim League under Mian Nawaz Sharif must have been greatly pleased with his performance. This was reflected in the show of gratitude by Mian Nawaz Sharif at the time of maulana’s final illness in Lahore. Maulana Chinioti performed his duty as an Islamic reformer by constantly rebuking the lady MPAs in the Assembly for not covering their heads properly. He caused a lot of disruption in the activity of the house by raising points of apostatisation but averted total suspension of the house by using the device of a carefully worded apology.

Chinioti in our hearts and minds: Maulana Sahib was also elected as head of the Chiniot local government. This clearly showed the popularity he had gained for his laudable activity of apostatisation. But people at times complained of his eccentricities. For instance in 1992 he absented himself from the celebration of Pakistan Day at Chiniot and then mysteriously disappeared for a few days to avoid being accused of disloyalty to Pakistan. People have unfairly accused him of baiting the Shiites too as raafizi and blamed him for taking money out of the Dawat-o-Irshad organisation set up by him in his son’s name. The greatness of the man is proven in the eyes of the Pakistani nation despite all these allegations. It is his blessed example that has led the state to its true Islamic destiny. He has died only in the physical sense but his spirit will remain as a beacon to the Pakistani nation. As he died his last message was to the community he relentlessly hunted: embrace Islam and return to the true path.

It is thanks to him that finance minister Mr Shaukat Aziz has had to swear in public that he is not an Ahmedi and that he was instructed in his childhood by a certified orthodox Sunni cleric, thus also clearing him of the possible (dangerous) allegation of being a Shiite. The state has to constantly explain why it is giving out kaleedi (key) jobs to people reputed to be Ahmedi. The Council for Islamic Ideology (CII) can be de-legitimised by merely saying that one member in it is a Qadiani. (Qazi Hussain Ahmad has accused one member of the CII of being linked to Qadianis; others have suggested that the chairman CII is Qadiani.) It is because of Maulana Chinioti’s blessed career in Pakistan that the state can incur global trade-related restrictions but stand firmly by the Blasphemy Law which was imposed by the state to punish the Ahmedis but under which today a majority of the death-deserving offenders are Sunni by confession.

© The Friday Times, Lahore - Vol. XVI, No. 25 - August 13 - 19, 2004
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