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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday reserved judgement on a petition filed against the alteration in the declaration of the finality of prophethood. IHC Justice Siddiqui will announce the verdict on Friday.

The court has been hearing the petition on a day-to-day basis since Feb 20. Petitioner Maulana Allah Wasaya contended before the court that the act relating to the declaration was against articles 8 and 227 of the Constitution.

The petitioner is also seeking the court’s declaration against those non-Muslims, especially Ahmadis, who have concealed their religious identity to get jobs in the government sector.

On Wednesday, Deputy Attorney General Arshad Mehmood Kayani submitted the census data of 1981, 1998 and the tentative data of the 2017 census. He submitted the travel history of almost 6,000 people who obtained fresh passports after changing their religion from Muslim to Ahmadi.

IHC given travel details of 6,000 people who obtained fresh passports after changing religion to Ahmadi

Almost all the amici curiae told the court that concealing one’s real faith is a crime and is an act of cheating and fraud against the state.

The amici curiae included senior lawyer Mohammad Akram Sheikh, Professor Dr Hafiz Hassan Madni from the Institute of Islamic Studies at the University of Punjab in Lahore, former member of the Council of Islamic Ideology Dr Mohsin Naqvi, member CII Professor Dr Sahibzada Sajidur Rehman, and Mufti Muhammad Hussain Khalil Khel from Karachi.

Dr Aslam Khaki and Dr Babar Awan provided assistance to the court in connection with the amendment to the Election Act, 2017, which led to a sit-in in the capital.

Most of the amici curiae were of the view that if someone converts their religion from Islam, they are an apostate.

Dr Khaki was of the opinion that the changing of religion should not entail capital punishment.

He explained that there are two kinds of apostates, those who work against the state and those who change their religion.

He suggested those who are involved in anti-state activities should be dealt with strictly according to the law but those who change their religion should not be sentenced to death as religion has no compulsion.

A change in the declaration of the finality of prophethood caused the PML-N to face strong opposition from religious parties. The protesting clerics lay siege to the twin cities as they sealed the busy Faizabad Interchange.

They dispersed after the military facilitated an agreement between the government and protestors which also led to the resignation of law minister Zahid Hamid.

In a subsequent hearing, Justice Siddiqui criticised the military’s rule in facilitating the agreement. However, MNA Jamshed Dasti recently filed a complaint in the Supreme Judicial Council against the judge for passing “unwarranted” against the army.

The council has issued a show cause notice to Justice Siddiqui for passing remarks against a vital constitutional institution and proceedings against the judge are currently pending in the council.

Published in Dawn, March 8th, 2018