Islamabad High Court Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui has given a monumental judgment about declaration of faith before joining service. Lest his judgment should e misconstrued, he, at the outset emphasised minorities’ Constitutional rights to religious freedom and protection of life and property. It is unfortunate that somr unscrupulous elements exploit religion to persecute minorities. Some of these elements have been exposed in ‘The 1954 Justice Muneer[-Kiani]Commission Report on the Anti-Ahmedi Riots of Punjab in 1953’. This report, inter alia, elucidates Jinnah#s vision of an Islamic State. 

In his address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on August 11, 1947, the Quaid stated that the state shall make no distinction between the citizens on the grounds of faith.The Quaid said, ‘You may belong to any religion or caste or creed_that has nothing to do with the business of the state’.In 1925, while discussing the Indian Finance Bill (1925), he declared on the Legislative Assembly floor: “Whether you are a Muslim or a Hindu, for God’s sake do not import the discussion of communal matters into this House, and degrade this Assembly, which we desire should become a real national parliament. Set an example to the outside world and our people.” The Quaid visualised the creation of an Islamic republic, but not theocracy. A K Brohi in his book The Fundamental Law of Pakistan discussed at length what a theocracy is. 

The Muneer-Kiani Report makes some poignant observations. It says, ‘Most important of the parties who are clamouring for enforcement of the three[anti-Ahmedi] demands on religious groujnds were all against the idea of an Islamic state. Even Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi of Jama’at-i-Islamic was of the view that the formf of government in the new Muslim state, if it ever came into existence, could only be secular. Everybody was agreed that Ahrar was a subversive force’. The Report concludes ‘if Ahrar had been treated as a law and order question without any political considerations, one District Magistrate and one Superintendent of Police could have dealth with them’. 

We mix religion with politics at variouus levels and foruma. Our Constitution has my hypocrisies. It has a long list of Islamic rights. But, they are circumscribed with the proviso that they are not enforceable through courts. Our law of evidence lays down conditions to qualify as a competent witness. But, a proviso makes any witness acceptable if a competent one is not available. Islam protects rights of people from all walks of life, weak and strong, including parents, children, relatives of the poor, spouses, minorities, and prisoners. For instance, Islam gives: right to protect life (Quran 17:33), to protect own and others’ properties (2:188), to protect female modesty (4:24), privacy, own and others’ (24:27), one’s faith, even if it be other than Islam (2:256, 6:109), right of expression (29:46, 4:148), of holding function (3:104), to oppose corruption (5:33), receive education (2:129), justice (2:129), and equality (49:13). 

Likewise Islam outlines duties of its followers like the duty to follow the instruction (4:59), abide by the law (7:85, 2:229), maintain peace (25:63), protect life (15:32), to follow persons (2:83), obey parents (17:23-24 31:14), duty to be fair in dealings (55:9, 4:10), duty to the fair sex (30:21, 17:32, 4:3, 4:16) and duty to do good to all (5:17, 4:36). 

Unfortunaely Ahmedis themselves segregated themselves from the mainstream. Lawabiding citizens have the right to equal rights and protection of law. As per, Muneer Report, minorities, including the Ahmedis, should be protected. 

AMJED JAAVED,  

Rawalpindi, March 12.