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Instituionalized Discrimination in Pakistan

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    Instituionalized Discrimination in Pakistan

    Some parts of the Pak Constitution are posted here, mainly the second amendment:

    >>>>>(1) This Act may be called the CONSTITUTION ( SECOND AMENDMENT) ACT, 1974
    …….
    In the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, hereinafter referred to as the Constitution in Article 106, in clause (3) after the words “communities” the words and brackets “ and persons of Quadiani group or the Lahori group (who call themselves `Ahmadis` ) shall be inserted.
    3- Amendment of Article 260 of the Constitution.
    In the Constitution, in Article 260, after clause (2) the following new clause shall be added, namely —
    (3) A person who does not believe in the absolute and unqualified finality of The Prophethood of MUHAMMAD (Peace be upon him), the last of the Prophets or claims to be a Prophet, in any sense of the word or of any description whatsoever , after MUHAMMAD ( Peace be upon him), or recognizes such a claimant as a Prophet or religious reformer, is not a Muslim for the purposes of the Constitution or law’’ <<<<<<
    ---------------------------------------

    This amendment in Pakistan’s constitution is a clear case of “institutionalized” discrimination. Making amendments to state credentials, such as a Constitutions, should not address any single group based on color, race, creed, religion, etc. In the original Constitution of 1973, the references to groups were more generic, i.e., communities, groups, etc. But the 2nd amendment took away the sanctity of the Constitution by singling out a certain group of people.

    What would stop from the state machinery to amend it yet one more time to say that “those who do not believe in oneness of God” are not to be treated as human beings for the purposes of the Constitution and law?

    The question is do the states have a right to Challenge someone’s faith? Aren’t there other venues to address reverent adherence?


    #2
    You are right NYA.

    There are plenty of religious groups in Pakistan already who can debate these issues without the Government sticking their noses in. It's not as if the Government doesn't have enough on it's plate without worrying about legal credentials of whether Ahmadis are muslims or not.

    And I don't say that out of deference to yourself. There is just no need for institutionalised discrimination...in fact it's counter-productive.

    Comment


      #3
      Xtreme, I think exactly on the same lines. It is totally counterproductive. It discourages people of that faith to be a productive citizens of their nation. As for as my own family is concerned, they have been through the same sacrifices as anyone else who sacrificed their lives, fought for Pakistan at times of war, and long for home when they are abroad. Their faith is between them and the God they worship. A bunch of bureaucrats have no business deciding who is Muslim and who is not.

      To me personally also, religious affiliations are not as dear as one’s identity as a Pakistani. I have Pakistani written all over my face, and I would like that never to be erased from there. I don’t need my constitution telling me what faith I belong to.

      Comment


        #4
        You are both absolutely right.
        By the way, can one be an Ahmadi and still be a Pakistani as far as the constitution is concerned?

        Comment


          #5
          I have read that Ahmadis are not allowed to call themselves Muslims, or pray in front of others, etc. They can be charged with blasphemy, I think.

          Comment


            #6
            Interesting topic

            As I read this Act, doesn’t it ’just’ point out that Qadiyanis/Ahmadis or anyone who doesn’t believe in the prophet they way Muslims should, are not Muslims? I do agree that it shouldn’t say Ahmadis or name any specific group, the idea is ok, but formulation is not.

            >> The question is do the states have a right to challenge someone’s faith? <<
            I think that depends on the country’s ideology – if religion is the base, in this case for Pak, then ’some’ faiths have to be challenged. I don’t think it’s acceptable for Muslims in Pak, that anyone can claim to be prophet in Islam – I read about a new prophet in Taqbeer (I think it was taqbeer). The man was a fraud, so by questioning fakos like him, you not only protect your religion, you also save you ppl from another fraud personality. We already have too any fake pir’s, can you imagine the mess a few more fake prophets can create in Pak?

            By this I don’t mean that ppl shouldn’t have a right to believe in whatever they like, what I’m trying to say here is, one should not be allowed to provoke other’s faiths or insult them. Also Muslims should learn to handle challenges in more peaceful manner. If one group is pointed out in the constitution then there should also be a dedicated column about protection for that group - government should make sure that ppl don’t read the act as permission to kill ppl of that group.

            Pak has wasted too much time in ’protecting Islam’, but we still are afraid of sharia law and most fake prophets are born in pak (that’s along shot, but this is how I see it). So some basics are not correct – none really dares to touch anything that even has a little to do with Islam, not even CE – which is a shame.

            >> By the way, can one be an Ahmadi and still be a Pakistani as far as the constitution is concerned? <<
            Yes, just like hindus, Sikhs Chirtians etc are Pakistanis.

            Comment


              #7
              Ahmadi bhai although I certainly abhor the beliefs of Ahmadi's/Qadiani's/Lahori's, I also abhor instituionalized discrimination of any kind in Pakistan - there is no excuse for it at all.

              It was Zulfi Bhutto - the so-called secular socialist who first declared these people non-Muslims , to curry favour with the Mullahs, and then General Zia made further moves in this regard. It was General Zia who introduced the separate electoral system giving non-Muslims separate 'reserved' seats.

              This instituonalized separation or discrimination is contrary the the ideals of our founder Quaid-e-Azam, but since the 1970's there has been a tussle between the seclarlists and theocrats, and non-Muslims have been the main victims of this.

              We are left with a bizzare constitutional set-up which is neither secular nor theocratic but both running parallel to each other. We must decide which one we want to be - I personally favour Secular in the short to medium term (say 20 years) and then when the Pakistani literacy rate is high enough the people of Pakistan should be given the chance to vote for a thecratic Islamic state.

              But, it must be remembered that the present rulers are moving to end this instituonalized discrimination - the CE has announced plans to end the separate electoral system, and none of his ministers have made anti-Qadiani statements like ALL previous governments - small steps but in the right direction?

              Comment


                #8
                smash, i think citizenship is no problem. but highest positions in pak like president, primeminister (even higher position army chief), i wonder if legally non muslim can have it.
                sabah, u are wondering about ideology of pakistan. i do not think ideology of pakistan is doing any better today than it was before declaring ahmadies non-muslim. it was definitely not one of positive decisions of bhutto, nor it made pakistan stronger.
                about mirza being fake or whatever, we dont know. religions are difficult to prove or disprove.

                Comment


                  #9
                  ZZ - All Pakistani regardless of their religous profession are Pakistani's and the Pakistan constitution makes this clear. As for non-Muslims assuming top positions - the constitution does state that they must be Muslims, and that is perfectly fair - 97% of Pakistan's population is Muslim.

                  You would be surprised to know how many 'democratic' countries actually have the same 'restrictions' for top positions e.g. Greece, Israel, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Russia and many many others. And even those countries that don't have such restrictions there have hardly ever been minority Prime Ministers or Chiefs of staff etc.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    israel is likely. but many japanese i know have no religion. so what is exactly required? russia was commusist till now. does its new constitution put religion as requirement for the top job?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      ZZ,
                      I was not wondering about Pak’s ideology that was general statement – Pak being an Islamic republic does have a religious responsibility. Like other nations have made it to their responsibility to distribute wrong information, and even wrong interpretations of Quran, it is our duty to protect Islam and our religious ideology. Now if this means that we have to question ppl, I guess that’s that sad thing that we have to take along.

                      >> about mirza being fake or whatever, we dont know. religions are difficult to prove or disprove.<<

                      Firstly I did not say anything about Mirza, I would’ve been very direct if I wanted to call him fake – and I’ll do that when I’m ready to swallow insults against Muslim religious personalities. I don’t agree with the ahmadiyat belief, but then again no one is expecting that from me, nor does anyone need my acceptance. We do have some very obvious fakos, I believe that person I was talking about is now in jail, for fraud etc.

                      Sure that decision of Bhutto’s didn’t make Pak stronger, mainly because many innocent ppl had to die, and many more patriotic Pakistanis had to leave Pak. He played his political card and since religion is very sensitive subject in Pak, ppl reacted negatively. We can’t undo what has happened but we can do our best to help our ppl understand each other.

                      >> but highest positions in pak like president, primeminister (even higher position army chief), i wonder if legally non muslim can have it.<<
                      We have Qadiyani, and others in our armed forces – and we have non-Muslims in our ministries. We did have problem with a Hindu judge for Shaira court recently, but the reason for problems re. appointing him is self-explanatory. I’m not sure whether ppl would accept a non-muslim PM or president though.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        no my question is not if people will accept. if people do not accept he will not become primeminister or president. assuming people accept, does constitution allow a non-muslim to contest for president, primeminister, chief ministers. and what is situation about supreme court judge and chief of forces. just a curiosity.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          As I said before ZZ the constitution of Pakistan does NOT allow non-muslims to hold the position of President and Prime Minister - as is the case in MANY other DEMOCRATIC countries. (e.g. Israel, Italy, Greece, Japn etc)

                          I am not sure of any constitutional bar for miltary positions but there is NOT a constitutional bar for non-Muslims becoming Justices or even Chief Justices in the superior courts - in fact there has been a Christian Chief Justice, and today a Hindu (Rana Bhagwadas) is a justice of the Supreme court.

                          Instituional discrimnation in Pakistan is LIMITED to barring people holding the position of President/PM and separate electoral rolls - which is in fact the same case in Greece (an EU country).

                          A more important and relevant argument is how many minorities have held top positions in countries which do not have a constitutinal bar?

                          Comment


                            #14
                            We don’t have Democracy, and constitution is the only document that sets the tone of the public adaptation and conduct. When the most sacred document of a nation singles out a group of people, it sends a very negative message.

                            The question is not how one views beliefs of a certain group. It is understandable that Muslims will certainly find views of some groups in violations of their own religious beliefs. But does that give State a right to manipulate those sentiments in the direction of the wind? What if tomorrow a group of troublemaker, for example, religious fundamentalists demand that Pakistani Constitution should outlaw dealing with non-Muslims on economic, diplomatic, and commercial levels? Would the authorities amend it yet again?

                            The basic tenement of any State document is that it should view all citizens the same. Constitution is not Quran, and as it stands today, Quran is not our Constitution.

                            The discussion is not about what opportunities might be open to non-Muslims in Pakistan, but what can be done to right the wrong. Surely there are non-Muslims (as defined by the Constitution) that hold some mid and high level public sector jobs, but they are way too few and far in between.

                            Jinnah never envisioned giving a secondary class treatment to any Pakistani, regardless of his or her religious beliefs. His first Secretary of State was an Ahmadi, and his Personal Assistant a Jew. Too bad that Jinnah died without giving the nation a Constitution representative of the ideology of the entire populace and not reflective of the sentiments of only a few.

                            I am glad that most of you here agree that discrimination based upon one’s beliefs is wrong.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              NY Ahmadi,

                              I agree with you 100% that discrimination on the basis of belief, cultural background, ethnicity, sect, cast or creed is absolutely wrong. But it is fortunate or unfortunate fact that the division of India was based on Muslims and non-Muslims majority areas. It means that the country was founded on the basis of religion alone and there were no other criteria. I always ask myself a question that why Quaid-e-Azam who was not even Muslim by any standard and was in congress, suddenly became the spokesperson and sympathizer of Muslims and joined Muslim league? I was born many years after creation of Pakistan but I saw the breakup of the biggest Muslim country in 1971, proving absolutely wrong the very basis of foundation of the country. It means that leaders who were proponent of separation and played active part were either dumb stupid or not sincere. I think they were not sincere and they have their own hidden agenda. The country, which is, based on false premise, why do you expect so much from it? . The country, which has been mostly ruled by jungle law, you people (Quadianies) have more than enough to share of booty enjoyed by the rulers. What else do you want? Look at what happened to Bengalis who voted 100% in favor of Pakistan; they suffered a lot at the hands of rulers supported by Quadinies in their ranks. Ayub Khan even tried to hang Maulana Maoudidi in 1958 when he first time gave fatwa that your community was non-Muslim.

                              Look at the conditions of Sindhis and Baloachis. Though they believe in Prophet Mohammad as the last Prophet but their condition is far worse than Quadianis in Pakistan when it comes to discrimination. You are lucky enough to propagate your views on the Internet, where as people of those two provinces fighting for their basic rights to live as human beings struggling for basic amenities? They are continuously suffering since creation of Pakistan.

                              It has become fashion to blame ZA Bhutto for every disaster in Pakistan even after his death of 21 years. He was the most stupid person when he un-necessarily involved in supporting the military government in 1970 for not handing over power to Bengalis. He again made a blunder when he declared Quadianis as minorities in 1977 on the pressure of Jamait-e-Islami to save his power. Both of his actions backfired and he will be condemned for which he was not the 'change agent' for both the crucial decisions.


                              Since you are talking about human rights violations and discrimination, It is time for you to think about unfortunate people of the country who are being discriminated solely because they do not belong to your creed.

                              Sincerely,

                              FARID M

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