The National Assembly’s committee for constitutional reforms has ‘unanimously’ and ‘outright’ rejected the proposal to delete article 62(f) from the constitution of Pakistan, we were told recently.

The explanation given by a member of the committee was that the basic structure of the constitution, which includes fundamental rights, independence of the judiciary, parliamentary form of government, Islamic provisions and the federal system, could not be changed by the legislative body.

I am assuming it did not strike the political giants sitting on the constitutional reforms committee, that the use of Islamic injunctions for the purposes of carrying out injustice, victimisation, manipulation, unfairness, etc., is anti-Islam in itself. Other than to subjectively disqualify anyone whose countenance one doesn’t quite approve of, there can be no logical purpose in inserting the requirement for a member of the national legislature to be “sagacious, righteous and non-profligate and honest and amen.”

Perhaps it also did not occur to these keenly perceptive (sagacious) gentlemen and ladies of the committee that to apply such injunctions selectively – for example, in this case only to members of the legislative assembly, not to any other public office holders or any office holder for that matter, be that of the sweeper, peon, teacher, doctor, soldier, lawyer, or judge – is discriminatory in itself. Arguably, the standards set by 62(f) should apply to any profession or office.

Now 62(f) purportedly has ‘Islamic’ concepts, words or standards in it, but the application of these standards to only a few is against the concept of equality as envisioned in Islam, and therefore un-Islamic.  And if by the same logic (discriminatory in nature) it violates fundamental rights, then it is a singular achievement on part of the judicious and discerning (sagacious) members of the committee to recommend leaving intact a discriminatory and un-Islamic provision in the constitution, citing unwillingness/inability to delete ‘Islamic’ or fundamental rights provisions from the constitution!

I am also genuinely seeking any information on how mental discernment, shrewdness, practical sense, farsightedness, or in other words sagacity, are by definition Islamic standards.

Apparently, it also escaped notice of these farsighted (sagacious) ladies and gentlemen that they and their class, the torch-bearers of democracy, are the only ones that may become victim of this discrimination. Or perhaps once again in their infinite wisdom (sagacity) they have deemed it right to let sleeping dogs lie, dogs that may one day come to bite them, yet again. Have the honourable and virtuous (righteous) committee members decided once again not to lead, but to follow the crowd all the way to Buner and Shangla?

One must understand the desire on the part of these honest (ameen) gentlemen of the committee, to not take the bull by the horns – there’s always the shamelessly immoral and recklessly wasteful (profligate) lawyer community, the media and the civil society, who can be trusted with the job. Fortunately, these sections of the society rely on politics and politicians’ survival for a democratic dispensation to live within.

Perhaps this is a bit unfair and harsh. Perhaps the ethical and righteous committee members just want to lead by example and are therefore voluntarily holding themselves, and only themselves, accountable to ‘Islamic’ injunctions.

In this case, this committee of wise men has further work to do. They might want to consider some Islamic additions to Article 62 (since deletions are not possible), which pertain to qualifications for members of the National Assembly:

62 (i): he is not a hypocrite;

62(j): he is not ignorant;

62(k): he eats with his right hand;62(l): he washes with his left hand;

62(m): he does not back-bite;

62(n): he can demonstrate his belief in jinns;

62(o): he is afraid only of Allah, and plugs his ears at the sound of music;

62(p): he has always knocked before entering another’s home;

62(q): he holds current certification on regular alms giving;

62(r): he has never hidden the truth;

62 (s): he does not indulge in pleasure and enjoyment of life to forget his duty to Allah;

62 (t): he does not believe or repeat rumours against chaste believing women;

62(u): he is neither extravagant nor parsimonious;

62(v): he eats of the good things, but not inordinately (over-eating); and

62 (w): he is moderate in his volume of voice (the most hateful of voices is the braying of asses).

Constitutional reform must be thorough in this regard, and should be inclusive of, but not limited to, the sub-articles mentioned if the committee is to demonstrate any seriousness of purpose. The committee is asked to further research and recommend inclusion of sub-articles of Article 62 of the Constitution of Pakistan, running well into triple digits.

And whilst recommendations are still under deliberation, another aspect must not be forgotten. The committee must also recommend certain additions to the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) to reflect Islamic punishments, applicable separately to members of the National Assembly only, in keeping with the spirit of higher holiness of said members. Further, in the interests of visible sincerity, the committee must also discharge their duty to recommend said changes in the PPC with dispatch, in readiness for re-opening of the NRO cases.

gul80
Gul Bukhari is a freelance writer and a reformed corporate banker.

The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

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