KARACHI: Around 78 per cent Pakistanis “strictly support” that teachings of the holy Quran should influence the country’s laws, a survey report has revealed.

The report issued by the Pew Research Centre on Wednesday and titled “Whether Quran should influence laws in countries” was based on a survey carried out in 10 countries with significant Muslim populations.

Under the survey, the respondents were asked: “Which of the following three statements comes closer to your view: Laws in your country should strictly follow the teachings of the (holy) Quran; laws in your country should follow the values and principles of Islam but not strictly follow the teachings of Quran; laws in your country should not be influenced by the teachings of the Quran.”

The report noted a striking variation in the extent to which people thought whether or not the holy book should influence their nation’s laws.

In Pakistan, the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Malaysia and Senegal, roughly half or more of the populations said that laws in their countries should strictly follow the teachings of the holy Quran, said the report.

By contrast, in Burkina Faso, Turkey, Lebanon and Indonesia, less than a quarter agreed with this view.

While only 13pc of Turkish respondents “strictly supported” Islamic influence on legislation, Saudi Arabia and Iran were conspicuously absent from the survey despite their considerable Muslim populations.

The second category of respondents — those who felt that legislation should follow the principles of Islam but “not strictly” so — amassed at 16pc.

Only 2 per cent of Pakistani respondents were of the view that their country’s laws should not be influenced by the Quran.

When contacted for a comment, a minority lawmaker of PML-N, Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, said that religion should preferably not be linked to legislation.

“If there is a consensus on following religious practices in legislation then the true essence of the Quran should be implemented — which talks of peace and harmony,” he said.

The report is based on a survey of 10,194 respondents, with results reflecting a full country sample including Muslims and non-Muslims.

Published in Dawn, April 28th, 2016

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