The judgement authored by Islamabad High Court (IHC) Justice, Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui that aims at knowing the religious beliefs of civil servants verifies the words of James Baldwin that “ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.” The judgement is ridiculous on many a level and violates the basic tenets of justice. The judgment is yet another example of how Pakistani state helps in constructing a narrative that not only marginalises religious minorities but also makes them vulnerable to become victims of religious fundamentalists’ hate.

The order of IHC, if implemented, will turn the country into Spain of the late fifteenth century, where inquisitors would decide one’s life by one’s religious beliefs. Justice Siddiqui with his remarks on an individual’s faith informs us that he neither understands the concept of justice nor he possesses any knowledge of statecraft and how states function. Furthermore, he stands shoulder to shoulder with Khadim Rizvi and his organisation, which is an extremist party. It is not an allegation; Mr Siddiqui, in the past, had made comments against the Ahmadi community that show his hate for the group. How can one expect fairness and impartiality from such a person?

Justice Sidiqqui while insisting that civil servants need to submit a faith affidavit to declare their religious beliefs forgets that states, to prosper, do not need to know one’s religious beliefs. Instead, countries flourish and progress if the people appointed to the offices meet the merit. The order reveals Justice Siddiqui’s bias against one minority that is already vulnerable and systematically persecuted. While demanding submission of a faith affidavit for government and semi-government posts –which will give room to anyone to victimise anyone on the basis of what beliefs a person holds– Justice Siddiqui conveniently ignores the brutal history of minorities’ persecution in this country.

So far, the state has miserably failed in protecting the lives, properties and liberties of the minorities. Though Justice Siddiqui fears that not declaring faith violates the spirit of the Constitution, he does not even consider, even momentarily, the fact that it is the abuse of human rights that violates the spirit of the sacred document. The state inability to protect its minorities poses the real threat to the unity of the country, not Mr Siddiqui’s concern about people’s faith.