Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, across the world, have great love and make endless sacrifices for their respective countries. In the same vein, Ahmadis of Pakistan have been at the forefront of contributing towards the establishment, stability, integrity and development of their homeland – a history that is often veiled by anti-Ahmadi proponents.
Despite their immense sacrifices and services for Pakistan, Ahmadis are labelled as “traitors” and “enemies of the country”, a narrative perpetuated by Muslim clerics. Additionally, opponents of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya demand to remove Ahmadis from important positions, such as in the army, judiciary, civil service etc.
Lieutenant-General Akhtar Hussain Malik – an Ahmadi – planned “Operation Gibraltar” and “Operation Grand Slam” under the auspices of President of Pakistan, Field Marshal Ayub Khan. As GOC for the 12th Infantry Division, Lieutenant-General Akhtar Hussain Malik was the overall commander for Operation Grand Slam in the Second Kashmir War.
While this operation was still in progress and was achieving great success, the reins of command were handed over to General Yahya Khan, resulting in extensive delays and eventual failure of the operation.
The weekly Al-Fath of Karachi, on 13-20 February 1976, wrote:
“In Chamb Sector, Yahya Khan’s division was deployed. As soon the war began, the command of this division was given to General Akhtar Hussain Malik, who defeated the enemy with immense wisdom, highly specialised capabilities and bravery, and moved towards the [Indian] Occupied Kashmir.
“Upon this, Yahya Khan said to Ayub Khan, ‘I will command my division myself, Akhtar Malik should be removed from there.’ Ayub Khan accepted Yahya Khan’s demand and Yahya Khan was given the command. After that, the Pakistani Army’s progress in that sector stopped. Army specialists say that if the command had remained with Akhtar Malik, Kashmir would have been conquered.”
For his successful handling of the initial phase of the operation at the Chamb-Jaurian area in [Indian] Occupied Kashmir, General Akhtar Hussain Malik was awarded the Hilal-e-Ju'rat (Crescent of Courage), the second-highest gallantry award of Pakistan’s Army.
Ahmad Nadim Qasmi, a prominent journalist, poet and literary critic, said:
“Lieutenant General Akhtar Hussain Malik was such a hero of the country and nation, whose name is even known to the Pakistani children.” (Daily Jang of Karachi, 4 September 1969)
Another Ahmadi, Lieutenant General Abdul Ali Malik served Pakistan’s Army. He joined the Pakistani Army as a cadet officer and was later inducted in the Army Corps of Engineers. Brigadier Abdul Ali Malik Sahib earned distinction for leading the combat engineering formations to mechanised warfare in Chawinda during the second war with India in 1965. He was commander of the 24th infantry brigade in the Sialkot-Phillurah-Chamb sector. It was here where one of the largest tank battles in history was fought since the Battle of Kursk in World War II.
Air Marshall Zafar Ahmad Chaudhry Sahib was another Ahmadi who served as the first Chief of Air Staff of Pakistan’s Air Force, appointed in 1972 until 1974.
Brian Cloughley puts it in his 2016 book, A History of the Pakistan Army: Wars and Insurrections (p. 212):
“He resigned, ‘In fairness to him’, says The Story of the Pakistan Air Force, ‘it must also be stated that his abrupt departure may have been precipitated by the anti-Qadiani sentiment sweeping the country at the time’. (Chaudhry was an Ahmadi). Things are not always what they seem.”
Another Ahmadi, Major General Iftikhar Khan Janjua was one of the most senior Pakistani Army officers to have been martyred while in combat. He is known in Pakistan as the hero of Rann of Kutch, as he was a brigadier in command of the 6 Brigade, during the fighting in April 1965 prior to the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965. He was awarded with Hilal-e-Jur'at (Star of Crescent) for his bravery.
Another Ahmadi, Major Afzal Mahmood Sahib was martyred while fighting insurgents in Bajaur Agency, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, on 19 June 2009, when he went on patrol with his men on the Pak-Afghan border. Near Bajur, their convoy was ambushed and he was shot in the head. On 20 June 2009, his body was brought to Rabwah and was buried with full army protocol.
Major General (retired) Nasir Chaudhry Sahib, was another Ahmadi who served in the Pakistani Army. He was martyred during the Lahore attacks of 28 May 2010.