ISLAMABAD - A deputy attorney-general informed the Islamabad High Court that the data of recently concluded census was being compiled and likely to be finalised by the end of April 2018. However, data of census 1998 on Ahmadis has been provided.

The IHC on Friday continued its hearing in a petition challenging the amendment in the oath of Khatm-e-Nabuwwat in Elections Act, 2017.

A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui conducted hearing of the petition, while Advocate Akram Sheikh assisted the court as amicus curiae and Hafiz Arfat Ahmad represented the petitioner, Maulana Allah Wasaya.

Justice Siddiqui noted that as per column No 6 of the census 1998, population of Ahmadis was recorded as 286,212, which shows huge difference from the data provided by the Nadra. During the hearing, Akram Sheikh expressed his concern over revelations made by the reports submitted by various government institutions regarding Ahmadis.

He was of the view that Ahmadis could not be permitted to adopt Islamic ways and teachings. Akram Sheikh adopted that the minorities were given rights in religion as well as Constitution.

He said that identity of Ahmadis as separate minority was essential for protection of their rights.Sheikh submitted before the court, “In our Constitutional scheme, no law can be enacted to frustrate any provision of the Constitution or amendments made therein, and any Law, which is repugnant to the Constitution, has no validity or force from inception.”

In reply to a question whether, to install filters and checks, acquiring knowledge about personal faith of citizens can be termed as infringement to any fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, he replied that as installation of filters and checks requires knowledge about the personal faith of individuals, which may become a tool in the hands of the administration and is capable of being misused; with this note of caution, and with the intent to protect minorities, such data could be collected by making “declarations” necessary.

Sheikh added that the aforementioned measures were rooted in inter alia Article 36, which mandated protection of minorities, in the following terms, “The State shall safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of minorities, including their due representation in the federal and provincial services.”

He continued that whereas the preamble to the Constitution states, “Wherein adequate provisions shall be made for minorities to freely profess and practice their religion develop their cultures.”

In response to another question whether any citizen of Islamic Republic of Pakistan belonging to minorities can be allowed to take cover of majority religion and after taking all the benefits declare his real status of non-Muslim, remains entitle to financial benefits, Sheikh answered that a citizen belonging to a minority in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan was already entitled to adequate protection under the law and the Constitution, which were represented with white colour on 1/4th 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 accorded to sects other than its own; and if this is done, it tantamount to a plain fraud on the law, liable to be visited with penalties provided under the law. It should be clearly understood that Qadianis, Ahmedis and Lahori group are admittedly a distinct and separate religious (minority) sect, having been declared as such by the Second Constitutional Amendment, followed by corresponding changes brought about in the law. They themselves consider and declare members of other sects of Islam as non-believers/non-Muslims,” the lawyer added.

He maintained that therefore, the constraint for respecting each other’s feelings was mutual and reciprocal. The majority community that is the Muslims have to accord maximum respect to the minorities and give them their due rights, whereas, the State has an obligation to accord them their privileges as mandated by the Supreme Court in its celebratory judgment in suo motu case of 2014 wherein Article 20, 33 and 36 are discussed in detail. Later, the court adjourned hearing in the matter till Monday for further proceedings.

In this matter, the petitioner Maulana Allah Wasaya has been arguing before the court that an amendment was made in Elections Act, 2017 regarding oath of Khatm-e-Nabuwwat that was nullified through another amendment whereas all other laws repealed through Act of October 2, 2017 still remained repealed.

He maintained that an amendment was made in the elections act and on hue and cry of the entire nation another amendment to the act was brought on October 19, 2017 through which sections 7B and 7C of the conduct of General Elections Order, 2002 have been revived, whereas all other laws repealed through Act of October 2, 2017 still remained repealed and through an illusion, effort has been made to satisfy the citizens of Pakistan.

The petitioner had prayed to the court to direct Ministry of Law and Justice to immediately take all necessary measures for revival of all provisions, which were in existence prior to the promulgation of the Elections Act, 2017, relating to Qadiani group/Lahori group in their entirety with a further direction to the said respondent to ensure that all such provisions had been made part of the primary legislation that is the Elections Act, 2017.



Shahid Rao