Since, on one hand, social media has found niche role to serve as a platform through which the very transactions in regard to governmental proceedings are made public to assure the functional transparency to the body politic; meanwhile the citizens, too, have found it at hand to criticize any of its measures, which may not comply in accordance with their healthy-conscience, and moreover on the same plank.
It is to keep in mind that the state of Islamic Republic of Pakistan had been established solely on the basic ideology to create a sovereign piece of land where we could be able to devise for ourselves a constitution, which must be based on the “basic tenets of Islam” and the provisions that it would conceive must confirm a practice, which its common Muslim citizenry could, at ease, indulge in their living, and the state’s legislature-resolutions, which could possibly become “An Act” of the constitution, must adhere to its provisions and avoid acculturation, as such.
Whereas, The 1973 Constitution provides fundamental rights to all citizens and provides important protections to religious minorities. An Article 2 of the constitution that makes the “Objectives resolution of March 1949” a substantive part of the constitution; the resolution which reads as providing the safeguards to the legitimate interests of the minorities, and down to the Articles 20:21:22:28 and 36 of the constitution that ensures all citizens are equal before law. No person should be deprived of life and liberty. There should be no discrimination on the ground of religion, caste, creed, sex or place of birth. The freedom of speech, expression, association, and cultural activities are guaranteed. The freedom of religious teaching of minorities within their institutions is granted. The state shall safeguard against discrimination in government services and provide protection to the maintenance and development of the religious institutions of all communities. The state shall also safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of minorities, including their due representation in the Federal and Provincial services, respectively.
There have been two competing views about how to treat religious and cultural diversity in Pakistan. One is the liberal, democratic and progressive vision that the creator of the country, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah held, and on the question of character of the new state the Quaid had no ambiguity about it, resting on the idea of citizenship rights, irrespective of the religious affiliations of groups and individuals; who understood the logic of the modern nation-state and its fundamental constitutional principle that the state will be inclusive and will not discriminate against any religion or community of faith; meanwhile, on the other hand are the conservative and orthodox Muslim groups that experienced an anguish over the appointment of an Ahmadi, based on his faith.
Henceforth, the honourable Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah made a categorical promise of freedom of religion and equality of all citizens before the law in his first address to Pakistan’s Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947. He said that in Pakistan “Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims not in the religious sense because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in political sense as citizen of state…you are free to go to your mosque or to any place of worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed…that has nothing to do with the business of the state”.
Long since, on the first of September, the Federal Minister (Finance, Revenue, and Economic Affairs) Asad Umar had made public on the part that he has fulfilled his election pledge, the notification of Economic Advisory Council constituted, under the Government of Pakistan Finance division, to serve as “the implementation and economic reforms unit”: As yet, the set EAC could have started its corresponding deliberations, the appointment of an ‘Ahmadi’ member ‘Atif Mian’ in the council rose a countrywide clamour amongst the far-right nationals and which, through insistent public expression consecutively resulted in withdrawal of respective member from such position of responsibility: For, having known the susceptibility of the issue, to avoid the expected consequences, the responsible Finance minister should have abstained himself from sharing the detailed notification and thereafter, a brief announcement could have sufficed the cause to ensure public-outreach.
A patriotic Cris-de-Coeur was obvious if one believes in the principle of causation— the post-Cartesian attempt to see everything as governed by simple laws of cause and effect—that the recent paradigm of an elevated degree of dislike towards the specific section of minorities, namely Ahmadis, that extends throughout the nation is actually obvious of the events which occurred in an era of the latter ruling regime of relating to an ordinance being promulgated in the then legislative assembly with an adulterated intentions to annul the provisions that duly served in binding the premier of the state to ensure whether He holds faith in the finality of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)? But such an ordinance has been actively struck down by the possible resistance put up by the then strong opposition sitting in the national assembly of Pakistan, on the grounds that it severely contradicted the principal Islamic belief and made the state liable to face the subsequent dire consequences later; even, it followed the turmoil that at that time impugned the civil-peace and the law and order situation in the certain cities including the Capital Islamabad: Amidst protests, the birth of Tehreek-e-Labaik party, too, become evident.
On the other hand, the nascent ruling regimen have been freshly earned the credits on account of taking up and addressing the issue on all of the available forums, either it be the provincial assemblies, the national parliament or the calling in of the corresponding personnel of Dutch Embassy; the cancellation of a planned contest that was arranged by a Dutch Lawmaker was thus achieved and actively celebrated.
The upshot of events that occurred in due course have seared Muslim faith but with the scars and played a major role in cultivating the public opinion that they could either consent to any of the other section among minorities to hold a public office, but they shall never acknowledge the presence of an Ahmadi who would have the privilege of standing amongst in the highly credited council and could have the opportunity to contribute to address either the financial issues, or to have a chance to contribute share of its personal efforts in bringing the state out of economic or otherwise crises; or any of the growth and development endeavours that would result in the ultimate gain of the foreseen “Naya Pakistan”.
In analysing the issue from all possible aspects, the freemen of the state have never resorted to protest in a way which could cause wreckage to the worthy governmental premises and the new ruling regimen has remained successful in bringing amongst the masses the potential awareness that they have a due share of power and that their voices could be heard even if they together raise them in such a peaceful way; which actually depicts recognition of the truly democratic national state in which there exist a-government-by-the-people and a-government-of-the-people; but on the part of the common citizenry the government require cooperation-of-the -people to achieve the desired end of its policies designed to build “Naya Pakistan”.
The writer is a freelance columnist.