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‘A question of faith’

March 13, 2018


APROPOS the editorial ‘A question of faith’ (March 11). Your clarion call “let Jinnah’s Pakistan prevail” is the need of the hour. You have quoted the 1954 Justice Munir Kayani Commission ‘Report on the Anti-Ahmedi Riots of Punjab in 1953’. This report, inter alia, elucidates Jinnah’s vision of an Islamic State, and attitude of the elements spearheading Anti-Ahmediya agitation.

In his address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on August 11, 1947, the Quaid had stated that the state shall make no distinction between the citizens on the grounds of faith. He had visualised the creation of an Islamic republic, but not a theocracy.

The Munir 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 grounds, 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 form of government in the new Muslim state, if it ever came into existence, could only be secular. Everybody … 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 dealt with them.”

We mix religion with politics at various levels and forums. Our Constitution has a long list of Islamic rights. But they are circumscribed 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 the 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).

Unfortunaely, the Ahmedis have segregated themselves from the mainstream. Law-abiding citizens have the right to equal rights and protection of law.

Amjed Jaaved

Published in Dawn, March 13th, 2018