ISLAMABAD: An amicus curie on Friday told the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that the Constitution gives protection of life and property to minority groups but they are not allowed to pretend to be Muslims to avail certain benefits.

Advocate Mohammad Akram Sheikh was responding to questions outlined by Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the IHC.

He was asked whether any citizen belonging to minorities can be allowed to take cover of the majority religion and after taking certain benefits declare his real status of non-Muslim and still remain entitled to financial benefits.

Advocate Sheikh replied that a citizen belonging to a minority religion was already entitled to adequate protection under the law and the Constitution.

The minorities are represented by a white colour on one-fourth of the national flag. Hence, neither a member of a majority group nor a member of a minority group can change sides to avail benefits; and if this is done it will be tantamount to plain fraud on the law.

He said to obtain a passport or/and a computerised national identity card, every Muslim individual has to sign a declaration that he believes in the absolute finality of the prophethood of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

The court on Thursday had directed a deputy attorney general to provide details of the 2017 census with the break-up of Muslim, non-Muslim and Qadianis.

The bench was hearing a petition filed by Maulana Allah Wasaya challenging amendments to the oath of Khatm-i-Nabuwwat in the Election Act 2017.

Meanwhile, Mufti Mohammad Hussain Khalilkhel from Karachi rendered his assistance to the court regarding Khatm-i-Nabuwwat.

Previously, three amicus curiae (friends of the court/assistance) – Prof Dr Hafiz Hassan Madni, Dr Mohsin Naqvi and Prof Dr Sahibzada Sajidur Rehman – appeared before the court.

Mufti Khalilkhel argued that during the time of Hazrat Umar Farooq, he prescribed a code for Muslims and non-Muslims living in Madina so that they may be identified. If a non-Muslim pretends to be or poses as a Muslim it is unethical and unacceptable.

During the last hearing, Dr Mohsin Naqvi had submitted that such an action amounted to treason.

When the bench asked Mufti Khalilkhel what filter the state could install, he replied that there should be a declaration and oath in clear terms, and for appointment on sensitive positions there should be a board of ulema to testify the faith of the person on Khatm-i-Nabuwwat.

The court observed that between the age of 18 and 30, many people changed their religious status for travelling to western countries which was a crime.

Previously, the bench had directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to provide traveling details of 6,001 people who had changed their religious status from Muslim to Qadiani.

Nadra in response to an order had told the court that 10,205 people changed their religious status from Muslim to Qadiani and 6,001 such people applied and got passports. Dr Babar Awan will assist the court as the amicus curie on Monday.

Published in Dawn, March 3rd, 2018