What havoc has been and is being wrought by forces of retrogression, vested interest, fundamentalists, obscurants and religious extremists in the name of Islam in the recent past has perhaps not been much known to those who are not victim of such oppression. The much-trumpeted 'war on terror' in the western world media is politically designed because at one hand they are the ones who promoted and funded this religious lobby to launch jihad and fight against Soviet Union and on the other they have hegemonic designs in the name of globalization. The forces one time used as agent provocateurs and for proxy war have now over grown and developed vested interest to sustain themselves. Post cold war era has so far proved more treacherous for the civil society of the regions that have been used as garrisons by the bulwarks of capitalism. Because the religious extremists in order to impose their writ of authority even resort to use of lethal force at the places of worship of 'others.' They are reckless and cruel. These forces have even embarrassed the majority of their Muslim brethren especially who are engaged in the revivalist movement for not only a progressive, humane, tolerant and peace loving Islam but are trying to redefine the role of the Muslim world in the comity of nations.
There is no denying the fact that whenever and wherever religion was used for purposes opposed to its inherent spirit of peace, brotherhood, and justice, it not only lost its relevance in the process of social development but its image was also tarnished in the minds and hearts of those who were subjected to it. History is replete with events in which the name of religion was used to glorify the deeds and persons of the tyrant rulers. There was a time when State decrees were accompanied by religious decrees (fatwa) to silence the subjects and justify obedience.
The Holy Quran
It would not be fair to comment on Islamic Shariah without mentioning the two main current schools of thought in the Muslim world and high lighting the Quranic message in its historical perspective. Islam addresses the people of the world through the revealed Book Quran. (Sura Naas 114 /1to 6). Quran says that the God of Islam is the God of the Universe and not God of Muslims only. (Rub-ul-al'meen) Muhammad the Prophet of Islam is the Blessing for the Universe. (Rehmatul'almin) It forbids compulsion in religion. (Chapter2 / 256) It lays stress on personal accountability as it says no one will be burden on other. (Chapter 2 / 139) It extends invitation to non-Muslims for a dialogue. (Chapter 3 / 64) It says that if God wanted that there be all 'Momins' (Muslims) He could do so. (Chapter 10 / 99) Therefore the concept of diversity is found in the teachings of Quran. It further says, " Your Deen (faith) is for you and my Deen (faith) is for me." (Chapter 109 / 6) It says, " Do not abuse the idols of the idolaters." (Chapter 6 / 109) Muhammad the Prophet is the Messenger to convey the message and is not appointed as the Keeper over others and certainly not an arbiter. (Chapter 6 / 108) The Book says that after conveying message, " leave them alone and turn away from them. (Chapter 32 / 30) The Quran instructs protection of all places of worship. (Chapter 22 / 40)
Therefore, the movement of revivalism amongst Muslims that has been gaining ground in the past has developed two distinct factions having two different approaches and interpretation of Islam. One stands for medieval and fixated position on issues of fiqh or Islamic jurisprudence whereas the faction representing progressive Islam say that the medieval approach is tantamount to robbing Islam of its eternal spirit and of its continual relevance for all times. Syed Afzal Haider, a jurist and Islamic scholar of Pakistan and who is also senior member of the Council of Islamic Ideology, in his book "Islamic Revolution" writes, " Quran has laid sufficient stress on the need to organize human society on a balanced pattern for the betterment of human race. The desire to lead the people to the path of salvation, freedom from fear, sublimation, economic and political independence, human dignity, international peace, exemption from exploitation of every type and above all tolerance and equal opportunities to develop the latent potential of each individual and a people collectively, is destined to get Divine Approval." Another known Islamic scholar from India, Dr Asghar Ali Engineer, writes, " The most stressed values of Quran are ('adl) justice, (ihsan) benevolence, (rahmah) compassion, (hikmah) wisdom and human dignity. These values cannot be compromised in any law and if any law violates these values that would be unacceptable in Islam." He further writes, ' What is to be borne in mind that though the Quranic principles and values are universal, but their application is situation specific. Therefore we have to apply them according to our own situation which calls upon change in interpretation in changed socio-economic conditions.'
Sources of Islamic Law
The two basic sources of Islamic Law are the divine revelation of the Quran, and the Sunnah which relate to what the Prophet said and did or did not express disapproval of things done in his presence during his lifetime that is technically called Sunnah. S unnah is generally expressed through 'Ahadith' i.e., traditions. The Islamic jurisprudence is based on the Quran, Sunnah, Ijma, (consensus amongst Ulama) Qiyas, (analogy- analogical reasoning based on Quran and Sunnah) Ijtihad, (consensus amongst Muslim Umma) Customs and Conventions. The Shariah has two major legal traditions, Sunni and Shi'a. Whereas the Sunni legal tradition has different schools of thought like, Hanafi, Shafai, Malaki and Hanbali. There are now two broad distinctions in Islam the Sunni Muslims and the Shia Muslims. The major difference the two Schools have is in the political interpretation of the text of Quran.
Iranian Revolution of 1979
The process of Islamisation at state level started in 1979 when Immam Khameni took over in Iran and enforced the Shi'ite version of Islam. This revolution had a monumental effect on the Muslim world. The mass killings of the opponents without proper trial however, created a fear syndrome amongst Sunnis and other minorities. The Bahais' were expelled as community. The oxodus of Bahais from Iran has woeful tales. The revolution led by Immam Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeni had an anti-American and anti-imperialist stance due to which the American administration took keen interest in neighboring Afghanistan and initiated its plans to checkmate the influence of the revolution in the region. The post Khomeni revolution period is the one in which neighboring Sunni States felt threatened by the emerging Shi'ite religio-political force in the region. A sectarian strife supported by many interested parties emerged amongst different schools of thought. The Shia revolution provided space to the militant forces of Sunni's spearheaded by Deoband and Wahabi sects to demand out of reaction that Pakistan be declared a Sunni State. The countries in which Shari'ah was imposed in that period were Pakistan, Nigeria, Sudan, Indonesia, and to some extent Malaysia, where minorities suffered discrimination, harassment and inhuman treatment.
Islamic Shari'ah - A Pakistan Perspective
While examining the effects of Shari'ah on minorities one presupposes that one is considering such religious minorities who are citizens or are residing in a State that is predominantly Muslim and has enforced Islamic Shariah. A nation state such as Pakistan, born out of partition of India when the British withdrew from the colonial rule in the Indian sub-continent in 1947 will be a novel study in this regard.
Pakistan was conceived by its leader Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the Father of Nation and titled as Qaide Azam (The Great Leader) as an enlightened Muslim State and not as a theocratic State. But the orthodox and fundamentalist forces from day one in connivance with the establishment tried to promote agenda of obscurantism for their vested interest. This agenda was materialized through administrative and legislative measures at state level. The passing of Objectives Resolution in 1949 (which provided religious base to the State) is the first example in this regard.
The second major event took place when by launching a street agitation the Parliament was forced to declare Ahamedies as non-Muslims. No parliament has ever sat in judgement on matters of faith but the establishment made it happen in Pakistan.
According to Article 2 of its Constitution that was promulgated in 1973, " Islam shall be the State religion of Pakistan." And Article 227 declares, " All existing laws shall be brought in conformity with the Injunctions of Islam as laid down in the Holy Quran and Sunnah, and no law shall be enacted which is repugnant to such Injunctions of Islam." The Supreme Court of Pakistan is constituted under Article 175 of the Constitution. But a parallel judicial system has been created under Article 203C "which shall consist of not more than eight Muslim Judges". Under Article 203D, the Federal Shariat Court has been empowered as under;
" --- either on its own motion or on the petition of a citizen or the Federal Government or a Provincial Government, to examine and decide the question whether or not any law or provision of law is repugnant to the injunctions of Islam, as laid down in the Holy Quran and Sunnah of the Holy Prophet, hereinafter referred to as the Injunctions of Islam.
Shari'ah Supreme Law
Apart from these constitutional provisions there is a statute that was promulgated as Enforcement of Shariah Act 1991. This law in a way reiterated the supremacy of Shariah law declaring in its Section 3, ' The Shari'ah that is to say the Injunctions of Islam as laid down in the Holy Quran and Sunnah, shall be the supreme law of Pakistan." Under this Act education, economy, mass media and judicial system shall be Islamised as provided in Sections 7, 8, 9 and 14 respectively. But Section 4 of this Act overrides other laws as it says, " While interpreting the statute-law, if more than one interpretation is possible, the one consistent with the Islamic principles and jurisprudence shall be adopted by the Court." This provision of law has caused serious effects, which will be stated later.
Three fourth of the national life of Pakistan nation had been under military rule. And due to lack of undemocratic institutions the socio-political situation has been very chaotic. The religious lobby has always politically blackmailed the political governments and has been working hand in gloves with the military rulers. The military ruler Gen. Zia ul Haq, who took upon himself to Islamize the society, effected most of these constitutional amendments and brought changes in the statute law. The Objectives Resolution which had served as a Preamble to Constitutions of 1956,1962 and 1973 was made substantive part of the Constitution by incorporation of Article 2-A and was placed as an Annex to the said Article.
While serving as a preamble, the sixth paragraph of the Objectives Resolution read as under:
" An adequate provision shall be made for the minorities freely to profess and practice their religion and develop their culture."
Whereas the word 'freely' stands deleted from the text when it was placed as an annexure to Article 2-A. It was deliberate and a malafide act on the part of the military ruler to delete this important word 'freely' which later had serious repercussions in the socio-political setup. It introduced an element of religious extremism and the sectarian legislation made thereafter promoted religious discrimination against the minorities. In order to gain religious sanctions for his government, Gen. Zia collaborated with the religious fundamentalists. Those who were never voted for the Assemblies were brought into the corridors of power through administrative measures.
The military government encouraged the religious parties like Jamait-e-Islami operating in the field of politics. They kept embarrassing each government and political forces by taking mileage on religious card. Whereas religiously extremist organizations like Sipahe Sahaba, and Jaishe Muhammad sharpened the sectarian divide. Those groups introduced violence by killing members of other groups in the name of religion. Its members openly marched in public displaying lethal weapons and over awed their opponents in particular and public in general. There was implied patronage of the government for the armed militancy of these religious extremists. It was during this time that armed militant groups like Daawat ul Irshad, Lashkr-e-Jhangvi, Harkatul Ansar and Lashker-e-Taiyyaba etc, etc, emerged to carry out 'jihad' in Afghanistan and later in Kashmir. Religious groups of like nature sprung up like mushrooms that spread culture of violence and hate. What to talk of religious minorities, the Muslims even felt scared and insecure at the hands of these zealots masquerading in the name of religion and jihad.
Islamic Criminal Law
In the process of Islamisation that Gen. Zia initiated, the following sectarian legislation was promulgated. The Hudood Laws were promulgated by Gen. Zia-ul-Haq to introduce punishments of Hadd in criminal law of the country in order to bring it in conformity with the Injunctions of Islam as set out in the Holy Quran and Sunnah. These laws included,
I.The Offence of Zina (Enforcement of Hudood) Ordinance 1979.
II.The Offences against Property (Enforcement of Hudood) Ordinance 1979.
III.Prohibition Enforcement of Hadd Order IV 1979.
IV.The Offence of Qazf (Enforcement of Hudood) Ordinance 1979.
V.The Execution of the Punishment of Whipping Ordinance 1979.
A few provisions of these Ordinances are reproduced for study.
The punishment of ' HADD' in these Hadood Ordinances has been defined as punishment ordained by the Quran or Sunnah.
The Offences Against Property (Enforcement of Hudood) Ordinance, 1979 relates to theft, robbery and cases of dacoity. The kind of proof required for the offence has been provided in Section 7 of the Ordinance, as under:
" The proof of theft liable to hadd shall be in one of the following forms, namely:
(a)the accused pleaded guilty of the commission of theft liable to hadd; and
(b)at least two Muslim adult male witnesses, other than the victim of the theft, about whom the court is satisfied , having regard to the requirements of tazkia al-shuhood, that they are truthful persons and abstain from major sins (kabair), give evidence as eye-witnesses of the occurrence :
Provided that, if the accused is a non-Muslim, the eye-witnesses may be non-Muslims:
Provided further that the statement of the victim of the theft or the person authorized by him shall be recorded before the statement of the eyewitnesses are recorded.
Explanation-In this section, tazkia al shuhood means the mode of inquiry adopted by a Court to satisfy itself as to the credibility of a witness."
Whereas the punishment of theft liable to hadd is provided in Section 9 which is given as under:
1) Whoever commits theft liable to hadd for the first time shall be punished with amputation of his right hand from the joint of the wrist.
(2) Whoever commits theft liable to hadd for the second time shall be punished with amputation of his left foot up to ankle.
(3) Whoever commits theft liable to hadd for the third time or any subsequent thereto, shall be punished with imprisonment of life.
Whereas, Section 25 of this Ordinance, provides;
" The Presiding Officer of the Court by which a case is tried, or an appeal is heard, under this Ordinance shall be a Muslim: provided that, if the accused is a non-Muslim, the Presiding Officer may be a non-Muslim.
The second Ordinance was called the "Offence of Zina (Enforcement of Hudood) Ordinance of 1979. The Ordinance in its Section 4 defines Zina:
" a man and a woman are said to commit Zina if they willfully have sexual intercourse without being validly married to each other."
Whereas, Zina liable to hadd under Section 5 is provided as under;
"(1) Zina is liable to hadd if;
(a)it is committed by a man who is an adult and is not insane with a woman to whom he is not, and does not suspect himself to be married; or
(b)it is committed by a woman who is an adult and is not insane with a man to whom she is not, and does not suspect herself to be married.
(2) Whoever is guilty of zina liable to hadd shall, subject to the provisions of the
(a)if he or she is a muhsan, be stoned to death at a place; or
(b)if he or she is not a muhsan, be punished, at a public place, with whipping numbering one hundred stripes.
Explanation: Muhsan mean an adult Muslim man or a woman.
And Section 8 of the Ordinance provides the required standard of evidence as under;
" Proof of Zina (adultery) or zina-bil-jabr (rape), liable to hadd shall be in one of the following forms, namely:
(a)the accused makes before a Court of competent jurisdiction a confession of the commission of the offence; or
(b)at least four Muslim adult male witnesses, about whom the Court is satisfied, having regard to the requirements of tazkiah al-shuhood,that they are truthful persons and abstain from major sins (kabair), give evidence as eye-witnesses of the act of penetration necessary to the offence:
(c)Provided that, if the accused is a non-Muslim, the eyewitnesses may be non-Muslims.
Explanation: Tazkiah al-shuhood means the mode of inquiry adopted by a Court to satisfy itself as to the credibility of a witness.
The Presiding Officer under Section 21 of the Ordinance shall be a Muslim but if the accused is a non-Muslim the Presiding Officer may be a non-Muslim.
The next law is Prohibition (Enforcement of Hadd) Order 1979. It prohibited the use of liquor. The non-Muslims may use liquor for religious ceremonies on liquor permits issued by the Government. The punishment for offences for use, manufacture, bottling, possession and transportation for liquor under this law includes life imprisonment or not less than two years imprisonment along with whipping not exceeding thirty stripes and shall also be liable to fine. The evidence required for an offence liable to hadd under Section 9 of the Ordinance provides that "at least two Muslim adult male witnesses" about whom the Court is satisfied that they lead life according to the Injunctions of Islam. who lead life according to injunctions of Islam. The Offence of Qazf (Enforcement of Hadd) Ordinance of 1979 defines and provides punishment for an offence of Qazf that is false imputation of zina (adultery) about any person knowing that that imputation would harm and injure that person. Such person will be subjected to whipping numbering eighty stripes as a punishment for the commission of such an offence. And such conviction shall require evidence of 'at least two Muslim adult male witnesses. The Presiding Officer of the Court by which a case is tried, or an appeal is heard under this Ordinance shall be a Muslim.
Testimony of Non-Muslims
The testimony of non-Muslim citizen has been rendered secondary to that of a Muslim as it is adjudged and measured in terms of the principles as laid down in Quran and Sunnah, under the new Evidence Act with an Islamic name - Qanoon -e- Shahadat of 1984.
The application of Islamic Shariah on non-Muslim citizens is most unjust. The act of imposing a particular Shariah to which he/she does not belong tantamount is to flagrant violation of human rights as laid down in the international treaties. The argument advanced in favour of the application of Islamic laws to non-Muslim citizens of Pakistan is that public law is applicable to all citizens across the world. The argument is fallacious and not tenable as the declared base and foundation of this law is religiously sectarian. And the application of Hudood Laws over non-Muslims of the country reflects a theocratic mind.
Personal Law of Minorities
There has been a serious invasion against the Personal Laws of the religious minorities. The concept of marriage and divorce of the citizens of other religions is not similar to Islam. Polygamy is allowed in Islam whereas Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and Paris's strictly forbid having more that one wife. Some of the provisions of Divorce Act applicable to minorities are in conflict with the Ordinance.
It may be stated that Pakistan is predominantly an agrarian society and feudal values dominate the socio-cultural life of its people. Abduction and violence against women is a common feature. And women of the marginalized sections of the society are common victims. According to the report of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan for the year 2002, 'one woman is being raped in every two hours and one woman is gang raped in every eight hours in Pakistan'. And most of the cases go unreported because of social taboos and the stigma that wretched act carries against a woman. This is an appalling situation and calls for some immediate remedial steps to better the situation.
The Muslim landlords without much uproar abduct the married Christian/Hindu women. And in order to avoid the rigors of penal law, converts the abductee to Islam and under goes the procedure of Islamic marriage with her. The whole exercise is under taken in such a mechanical manner that the law is made a sheer mockery. Since the Shari'ah has become the Supreme Law, and the statute law has to be interpreted according to the Injunctions of Islam, her earlier marriage under the Christian Marriage Act or under Hindu Marriage Law practically stands dissolved ipso facto. Why because she has supposedly embraced Islam and she being a Muslim is prohibited to marry a non-Muslim. As Islamic Shariah has to prevail, the institution of Christian marriage is rendered as a fragile thing and the personal law of non-Muslim citizens becomes meaningless.
The religious parties which were not only against the founder of the nation Qaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah but were also against the formation of the state of Pakistan gradually reconciled and launched campaign to turn it into a theocratic state. The religious lobby of the Islamists was not prepared to accord equal status to non-Muslim citizens in this newly founded state. They term non-Muslims as 'dhimmis' which is a derogatory word to lower down the social status. Dhimmis are charged with a 'jazia' (tax) for giving protection to life and property to non-Muslims in an Islamic State. The non-Muslims were not treated as part of one Pakistan nation as according to Islamists there were two nations in the country, one Muslim nation and the other non-Muslim nation. The Jamiat-e- Islami wrote a lot of literature about the status of a non-Muslim in an Islamic State. This generated the baneful sentiment of religious prejudice, which slowly marginalised the non-Muslim citizens in the socio-political life. Maulana Abu ala Maudoodi well-known Islamic scholar in his book 'Islami Riasat' (Islamic State) said," the non-Muslims shall not have a right of vote and right of representation in the legislature of an Islamic."
It was in this background that a stunning blow causing serious damage to the socio-political status of non-Muslim citizens was administered through amendments in the electoral laws and the country's constitution whereby an apartheid mode of separate electorates was imposed on nation in general and non-Muslim citizens in particular. The electoral lists were separated as Muslim and non-Muslim voters. Both could not vote for each other at the time of elections as electoral constituencies had been separated on sectarian lines in five religious groups, one that of Muslim and the other for non-Muslim citizens belonging to four different religions that included Christians, Hindus, Ahmadies and other religious communities. This apartheid mode of separate electorates threw the non-Muslim citizens of Pakistan out of the main stream of national life. Their status was rendered as second class citizens. They were no more part of the business of the State. The right of vote stood classified on religious lines and the citizens were deprived to fully enjoy the right of adult franchise. They thus stood politically marginalized on the basis of religion. The non-Muslim citizens were deprived of the right of vote and right of representation in the legislature during four general elections, a period spread over a quarter of a century. This is the period when religious fundamentalism in this country flourished and the religious extremists gained ground. A time came when these forces of militant Islam challenged the State agencies and the civil society was made hostage.
General Pervaiz Musharaf by over throwing a civil government took the charge as military ruler on September 9 1999. Despite the fact that it was an undemocratic government it took a bold step and restored the mode of joint electorate that brought the apartheid mode of Separate Electorates to an end. The general elections of 2002 were held under joint electorates with reserved seats for the religious minorities through proportional representation and list system. Some of the religious parties still keep harping the old tune. They assert that Pakistan being an Islamic State, the mode of joint electorate offends its ideological ethos.
The law on blasphemy also belongs to the era when the country was under military rule of Gen. Zia. The offences relating to religion have been given in sections 295, 295-A, 295-B, 295-C, 296, 297, 298, and 298-A, 298-B and 298-C of Pakistan Penal Code. It would be appropriate to reproduce the text of these Sections of the Pakistan Penal Code, which were introduced later through amendments.
OF OFFENCES RELATING TO RELIGION
295. Injuring and defiling place of worship, with intent to insult the religion of any
Class. Whoever destroys, damages or defiles any place of worship, or any object held sacred by any class of persons with the intention of thereby insulting the religion of any class of persons or with the knowledge that any class of persons is likely to consider such destruction, damage or defilement as an insult to their religion, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, or with fine or with both.
295A. Deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any Class by insulting its religion or religious belief. Whoever, with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class of the citizens of Pakistan, by words, either spoken or written or by visible representation insults or attempts to insult the religion or religious beliefs of that class, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term that may extend to ten years, or with fine or with both.
295B. Defiling, etc. of copy of Holy Quran. Whoever willfully defiles, damages or desecrates a copy of the Holy Quran or of an extract therefrom or uses it in any derogatory manner or for any unlawful purpose shall be punishable with imprisonment of life.
295C. Use of derogatory remarks, etc., in respect of the Holy Prophet. Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.
Note: The section has been amended and the alternative punishment of life imprisonment has bee deleted.
296.Disturbing religious assembly. Whoever voluntarily causes disturbances to any assembly lawfully engaged in the performance of religious worship, or religious ceremonies, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine or with both.
297.Trespassing on burial places, etc. Whoever, with the intention of wounding the feeling of any person, or of insulting the religion of any person, or with the knowledge of that the feelings of any person are likely to be wounded , or that the religion of any person is likely to be insulted thereby,
commits any trespass in any place of worship or any place of sculpture, or any place for the performance of funeral rites or as a depository for the remains of the dead, or offers any indignity to any human corpse or causes disturbance to any persons assembled for the performance of funeral ceremonies, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.
298. Uttering words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound religious feelings.
Whoever, with the deliberate intention of wounding the religious feelings of any person, utters any word or makes any sound in the hearing of that person or makes any gesture in the sight of that person or places any object in the sight of that person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.
298-A. Use of derogatory remarks, etc., in respect of holy personages.
Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innenundo or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of any wife (Ummul Mumineen), or members of the family (Ahle-bait), of the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him), or any of the righteous Caliph (Khulfa-e-Rashadeen) or companions of Sahaba) of the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him) shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.
298-B. Misuse of epithets, descriptions and titles, etc., reserved for certain holy
Personages or places.
(1)Any person of the Quadiani group or the Lahori group (who call themselves
'Ahamedies' or by any other name) who by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation;
(a)refer to, or addresses, any person, other than a Caliph or companion of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), as "Ameer-ul-Mumineen", "Khalifa-tul-Mumineen", Khalifa-tul Muslimeen" , "Sahaabi" or "Razi Allah Anho";
(b)refer to, or addresses, any person, other than a wife of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), as "Ummul-Mumineen";
(c)refer to, or addresses, any person, other than a member of the family (Ahle-bait) of the Holy Prophet 9Peace be upon him), as "Ahle-bait"; or
(d)refer to, or names, or calls, his place of worship as "Masjid";
shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term, which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine.
(2)Any person of the Quadiani group or Lahori group (who call themselves '
"Ahamedies" or by any other name) who by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, refers to the mode or form of call to prayer followed by his faith as "Azan", or recites Azan, as used by the Muslim, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine.
298-C. Persons of Quadiani group, etc., calling himself a Muslim or preaching or
Propagating. Any person of the Quadiani group or Lahori group (who call
themselves 'Ahmadies' or by any other name), who directly or indirectly poses
himself as Muslim, or calls or refers to, his faith as Islam, or preaches or
propagates his faith, or invites others to accept his faith, by words, either
spoken or by visible representation, or in any manner whatsoever outrages the
religious feelings of Muslims, shall be punished with imprisonment of either
description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable
The text of the aforementioned law amply provides a fair understanding how the Muslims who are in predominant majority are touchy, sensitive, and assertive about their faith and religious leaders and are totally unmindful how grossly they are offending, violating and injuring the religious feelings of others. The State and its agencies have treacherously acted in manner that has flagrantly violated not only the international treaties and conventions but also has offended all standards of human rights legislation.
Shariat Court and Death Punishment
It may be stated that the Section 295C was incorporated vide Ordinance 1 of 1988 which had alternative punishments of death or imprisonment for life for the offence of blasphemy against the Holy Prophet.
A petition was moved by a Muslim lawyer who is member of Jamait Islami before the Federal Shariat Court under Article 203D of the Constitution, praying, that since Islam provided only one punishment to the blasphemer of Holy Prophet and that is death i.e., capital punishment, therefore the provisions of Section 295C, Pakistan Penal Code providing punishment as 'death or life imprisonment' being repugnant to the Injunctions of Islam may be struck down from the statute book.
There was an interesting debate on the issue as arguments were advanced for and against by the lawyers before the five Judge. Finally the religious fundamentalists and those who wanted death as mandatory punishment for the blasphemer, won and those against lost. The lawyers against the petition very eloquently argued that Hadd was not provided in the Holy Quran and that there were instances that Prophet himself pardoned those who were rude and insulted him. But the Court was swayed away with the religious fervor of the Islamic extremists. The Federal Shariat Court in its judgement of 30th October 1990, held, " We are of the view that the alternate punishment of life imprisonment as provided in section 295C, P.P.C. is repugnant to the Injunctions of Islam as given in Holy Quran and Sunnah and therefore, the said words be deleted therefrom."
The judgement further said, " A clause may further be added to this section so as to make the same acts or things when said about other Prophets, also offence with the same punishment as suggested above".
It further held, " A copy of this order shall be sent to the President of Pakistan under Article 203D(3) of the Constitution to take steps to amend the law so as to bring the same in conformity with the Injunctions of Islam. In case, this is not done by 30th April, 1991 the words "or imprisonment for life" in section 295C shall cease to have effect on that date."
The government of Pakistan did not take any action, therefore the said words are no more on the statute book from April 30, 1991 with solitary and mandatory punishment for death to a person accused of blasphemy against the Prophet.
Blasphemy Law As Tool of Oppression
The record shows that after declaring death as mandatory punishment for the blasphemy against Prophet, this law was used for religious persecution and for settling personal scores. A bear reading of the definition of blasphemy provided under section 295C is so vague and ambiguous that it casts the net wide open to rope in any one for malicious prosecution. This law has been ruthlessly abused against Christians and Ahamdies who have been the main victims ever since the Shariat Court amended this law. After the verdict of the Shariat Court a wild wave of religious extremism by the fanatics was unleashed against the minorities who were targeted for religious persecution. A few cases would show the extent of torture and killings caused to the religious minorities under this law. These are some of the high profile cases in which the writer served as the defense counsel for the alleged Christian blasphemers under heavy odds as his life too had been in danger on account of such engagements.
Naimat Ahmar Case
A Christian of 44years,was a post graduate teacher. He was a progressive poet, writer and a government schoolteacher. One Farooq Ahmad, a Muslim zealot of 20 years, butchered him in the broad daylight (at 10am) on January 6 1992 at the premises of the office of the District Education Officer Faislabad, Punjab, Pakistan, while the victim was on his work place. The young assassin who was member of Sipahe Sahaba (a religious outfit well known for its terrorist activities) had been directed by his religious leaders that the victim had committed blasphemy against the Prophet and it was his bounden duty to kill him to punish the blasphemer and by doing so he would also win to win heavens.
The deceased was left behind a widow, two daughters and two sons. No case had been registered against the accused. He was not provided an opportunity to defend his person. No Court tried him for the allegation of blasphemy. He was killed on the basis of 'fatawa' (religious decree) issued by Muslim clerics who had been won over by a colleague of the deceased who had been offended as the deceased did not agree with his mutual service transfer proposal. Therefore in order to teach him a lesson he hatched a conspiracy to implicate the deceased in a false blasphemy case. The killer was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment by the trial Court that was up held by the High Court.
Gul Masih Case
Gul Masih, a Christian was charged for alleged blasphemous utterances against the Prophet while engaged in a religious discussion. The religious debate initiated when Gul Masih attributed dishonesty to the Muslim plumber who had been paid for repairing fosse of a leaking community water tap. The two Muslim neighbors felt offended at the remarks and took as communal insult. The discussion took bitter turn but during all that time Gul Masih did not say any thing outrageous that could be termed blasphemous against Prophet. The two Muslims thought of teaching him a lesson and thus roped him in a false blasphemy case registered on 13.12.1991.And soon thereafter he was arrested.
Gul Masih was sentenced to death on 2.11.1992 by the Sessions Court. Gul Masih had to languish in the jail till such time the Division Bench of the Lahore High Court in its judgement of October 27 1994 declared the case as a " case of no evidence". He was acquitted and was released from the jail. It would however be not out of place to mention here that it became difficult to bring him out the jail as serious threat was posed to his life by the Muslim extremist who were annoyed with the judgement of acquittal. Gul Masih was taken out of the jail at the dead of night under cover of heavy police contingent to be hibernated at a place wherefrom he was transferred to Islamabad Airport to be flown to Germany under some church arrangement.
Tahir Iqbal Case
Tahir Iqbal 33 was born in a Muslim family. After matriculation he joined Pakistan Air Force as an aeronautical mechanic. In 1982 he contracted meningitis and lower part of his body paralysed. He was later confined to wheelchair as he could neither stand nor walk. During his protracted illness he came closer to religion and during that process he was converted to Christianity. His family boycotted him. The Pentecostal clergymen who had helped him in conversion often had his Christian testimony presented on loud speaker in church. Such announcement offended the religious feelings of the Muslim fundamentalists. The Maulvi of the nearby Mosque got a false case registered against Tahir Iqbal. He alleged that an apostate had defiled the Holy Quran (by marking at various pages), taught children against the teachings of Islam and at the time of "Azan" (call to prayer) early morning he gets infuriated and starts shouting and abusing Islam and the Holy Prophet. On this report he was arrested and sent to jail where he was deprived of his wheelchair. A petition was moved before the Sessions Judge for his bail praying that he was an invalid person whose lower portion of his body had completely paralysed and thus was physically handicapped and that he was entitled to bail in that totally false case. On the other hand the Muslim extremists had launched a movement against Tahir Iqbal and fatwas (religious decrees) from different Muslim clerics had been issued that he was an apostate and that he should be executed in public. Therefore, there was wave of religious frenzy and an atmosphere not conducive to fair trial. This would be best evidenced by perusal of the Order of the Sessions Judge who refused him the bail.
" Tahir Iqbal Versus The State
Present: Counsel for the Petitioner
DDA for the State
IO with Police record
Police South Cantt, Lahore, arrested Tahir Iqbal petitioner in case FIR No. 297/90 registered under Section 295C PPC. He has applied for bail.
2.Allegations as contained in the FIR is that Tahir Iqbal petitioner originally a Muslim has converted to Christianity and he is allegedly using sacrilegious language making derogatory remarks against Islam.
3.Learned counsel for the petitioner has conceded before me that the petitioner has converted himself as Christian. With this admission on the part of the petitioner's counsel, there is no need to probe further into the allegations as contained in the FIR because learned DDA has disclosed that charge has already been framed by the Illaqa Magistrate and the accused is facing trial. Since conversion from Islam into Christianity is in itself a cognizable offence involving serious implications, hence I do not consider the petitioner entitled to the concession of bail at this stage. This application is accordingly is dismissed.
Additional Sessions Judge,
This is a novel court order that abundantly sheds light on the subject. The States where Shari'ah has been enforced, justice is subjected to sectarian affiliations. The atmosphere becomes suffocating for the religious minorities in particular and the civil society in general. The religious lobby consolidates and not only makes the civil society hostage but also embarrasses the State agencies including the judiciary. It may be pointed out that till the writing of this article (September 2003) there is no law yet enforced in The Islamic Republic of Pakistan whereby conversion from Islam is a cognizable offence. But the Judge in his order himself appears to be religiously hurt and that is why he says," with admission on the part of the petitioner's counsel, there is no need to probe further into the allegations." Injustice, intolerance, violation of fundamental rights, equality before law and due process of law become alien concepts once you choose to adopt a particular religious creed in a State where people of different faiths and ideologies reside. Therefore, the original Islamic concept of diversity and today's concept of pluralistic society is not only defeated but also the Quranic injunction that there should be no compulsion in religion is ruthlessly violated.
Tahir Iqbal was tortured and humiliated in the jail under a conspiracy of the religious fundamentalists. It was on 20th July 1992 when Tahir Iqbal was poisoned to death in jail with the connivance of the jail officials. Tahir Iqbal was a prisoner of conscience who was subjected to religious persecution and was done to death.
Salamat Masih, Manzoor Masih and Rehmat Masih Case
Maulana Fazal Haq, a local clergy in-charge of a mosque of village Rata Dhotran, got a blasphemy case under section 295A and 295C of Pakistan Penal Code against three Christian, Salamat Masih, a minor of 13 1/2 years, Manzoor 38, and Rehmat 42. The allegation leveled against them was, " on 11.5.1993, they, with a brickbat were writing blasphemous remarks against Prophet Muhammad on the walls of the mosque and that on seeing them they fled away." The complainant further alleged, " even earlier small chits of paper with blasphemous material against Islam and Prophet were thrown in side the mosque court yard."
Now nothing could be farther than the truth as all the three accused were completely illiterate and were not in a position to read or write. The accusation was palpably false and unfounded. They were arrested and were condemned without investigation of any kind. The motive behind, against the involvement of the three was merely for intolerance in socio-religious life and of course for settling personal scores (details being avoided for brevity). The religious extremists used to bring banners and play cards in front of the Court with demands written thereon, " Execute the blasphemers", " Wrath of God on those who are providing help to them" etc.
The Sessions Court granted bail to Salamat being minor but refused to other two who later were released by the High Court on bail. But after their release from jail they remained in a state of hibernation wherefrom they would only come out for court appearance.
Fundamentalists Influence Courts
It would be worth mention as to how Court proceedings were influenced by the Muslim fundamentalists and their clergy on the day charge was framed against the accused. It may be pointed out that framing of the charge is a crucial stage in a criminal trial. The pieces of paper containing alleged blasphemous remarks were in a sealed packet as case property, which had been brought to the Court on the day. The accused and the writer as their counsel were not aware about the contents of the packet. The defense counsel therefore demanded that packed be de-sealed for framing of the charge. The packet was de-sealed on the order of the Court. The defense counsel requested the Court for perusal of the said document. Those were perhaps seven in number. The papers were handed over to the counsel. He had hardly read the second paper and taken down some notes that murmuring at once became an uproar amongst a two dozen Muslim clergy who had come close to the rostrum and shouted at the judge as to what he was doing. The defense counsel was told in a threatening manner to hand over the papers to the Court as he himself was committing blasphemy by taking down notes of the alleged remarks. The sudden commotion disturbed the Court proceedings. The Judge was completely embarrassed and demanded the papers back from the counsel. And the charge was framed under the threat of the religious extremists without bringing the allegations in the knowledge of the accused and their counsel defeating the basic principles of law and judicial norms. The right to be accorded fair trial in courts is a fundamental human right. Its denial is also violation of the right of being treated in accordance with law and a principle of natural justice that no one should be condemned unheard.
Manzoor Masih Killed in front of High Court
As the situation was very vulnerable and imminent danger to the lives of the victims was always lurking, the court had granted police escort to the accused from the office of their defense counsel to the court. On April 5 1994, after the court hearing the police left the accused and the counsel to his office that was right in front of the High Court building. After some time the three victims left the office of their counsel with an escort arranged by the Legal Aid Cell Lahore. They had hardly covered about a thousand yards distance when three religious extremists (who were later recognized as members of the notorious militant outfit Sipahe Sahaba) on two motor cycles attacked the victims by spraying volley of bullets with lethal weapons. Manzoor Masih died on the spot whereas Rehmat and Salamat along with their escort John Joseph were grievously injured. This cold blooded murder at the hands of the Islamists created a scare amongst the members of the Christian community and those who were helping the victims as lawyers and as members of the civil society.
Death Sentenced Passed
In short the remaining two were sentenced to death vide judgement dated 9.2.1995 and sent to jail for execution. The two condemned to death filed appeal before the High Court against their conviction. The Division Bench of the Lahore High Court through their well known judgement of February 23,1995, acquitted both Salamat Masih and Rehmat Masih holding that prosecution had failed to make out a case against the convicts. These proceedings were watched by the world media and got coverage in print and electronic media. The acquitted victims could not live on their own motherland that had become hostage at the hands of those who were alien to the land that is traditionally known to be land of those who have lived here in peace and harmony since ages. The victims were sent to overseas under imminent threat to their lives. They are in Germany now. It would not be out of place to mention here that after some time the senior judge of the High Court who wrote the acquittal judgement had to pay the price as he was subjected to terrorism. A religious extremist entered his office and fired fatal bullets on Justice Arif Iqbal Hussain Bhatti who died in his chair. Justice of course proved very expensive.
Anwar Masih Case
Anwar Masih was another victim of blasphemy law who was sentenced to death by the Sessions Judge on 27.4 1998, and which conviction was upheld by the High Court in its judgement of July24 2001. His case is also important because a Catholic Bishop Dr. John Joseph committed suicide in protest in front of the Sessions Court that convicted Anwar Masih. The death of the bishop further sensitized the oppression being caused under blasphemy law. This was another event that shook the religious minorities in general and the Christians in particular. Anwar Masih was charged for using blasphemous remarks against Prophet Muhammad. The motive was to deter Anwar Masih to withdraw from pursuing a petition for the grant of proprietary rights to his peasant family in a village of district, Sahiwal. He was later acquitted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. His main ground for acquittal was that the evidence on the basis of which the sentence of death was passed by the Sessions Court and upheld by the High Court did not weigh sound on the Islamic principles of tazkia al shahood i.e., the standard of testimony to be relied upon in cases wherein hadd was to be imposed.
Quran and Punishment of Hadd
Punishment of hadd amounting to death sentence as provided in Shari'ah imposed by these countries has been subject to criticism not only by the civil society but by progressive Muslim scholars as well. They hold that punishment of hadd can only be imposed if provided by Holy Quran. Therefore they do not subscribe to the school of thought that include Sunnah along with the Holy Quran for providing death sentence for such offences for which hadd punishment has not been provided in Holy Quran. This stand is fortified, as Quran do not provide death punishment for offences of apostasy and blasphemy. The punishment of Rajam that is stoning to death for the offence of zina (adultery) has also not been provided in the Holy Quran. The subject of Hadd punishments is also one of the crucial points being contest by the aforementioned schools of thought in the currant debates amongst Muslim scholars.
>From the perusal of Quranic injunctions relating to offences of adultery, fornication and rape, it appears that emphasis is on personal repentance. The progressive school of thought pleads that the number of four witnesses required for proving adultery indicate that deterrent Islamic punishment have been provided for a society that looses all moral scruples and where orgy becomes common. However, it is a known tradition that Prophet reprimanded the captors who did not permit a culprit to run away. ( Sura Almaida5A- 39)
In rural areas particularly social discrimination against Christians is appalling. The report for the year 2002-2003 issued by Justice and Peace Commission in Pakistan would show that there are restaurants where Christians cannot have food. The report displays a photograph of a barber's saloon with a notice hung outside the door " No entry for non-Muslims." The other minorities are no less discriminated and marginalised. One Naseer Ahmad, an Ahmadie by faith was tried under section 295A and C, PPC for defiling the name of Prophet Muhammad and for trying to give an impression as if he was a Muslim. The matter relate to some Arabic words traditionally used on a wedding card of his daughter like " Aslamolekum" (peace be on you), "Bismillah ur Rehman" (in the name of Almighty that is merciful and benevolent), "Insha Allah" (God willing) etc. It was alleged that by using these words he had deliberately and maliciously out raged the religious feelings of Muslim citizens of Pakistan." He was arrested and jailed. The Sessions and High Court refused him bail but the Supreme Court finally came to his rescue and granted him the bail.
Rana Bhagwan Dass, a seasoned lawyer of Karachi, when elevated to the Sindh High Court was confronted with an embarrassing situation through a constitutional petition. The petitioner, a religious fundamentalist had prayed in that constitutional petition that since Pakistan was an Islamic State and law had to be interpreted according to the Injunctions of Islam therefore a non-Muslim Judge should be removed from the Bench. This petition embarrassed the State as well as its government that had to respond to the outer world as well. Although Justice Dass has been still elevated to the Supreme Court of Pakistan but nothing has been done to eradicate the baneful sentiment of religious prejudice that prevails across the country.
Death in Jail or Police Custody
Like Tahir Iqbal, Muslim victims charged under blasphemy law have also been done to death either in jail or in police custody. One Yousaf Ali convicted for death punishment under blasphemy law was done to death in Lahore Jail, whereas Naseem Bibi, an accused for blasphemy was killed in police custody. She had been charged for desecrating Quran along with her two sons. Her counsel reported that she had rejected advances of the complainant earlier which fact became cause of the registration of a false case.
A list of cases under blasphemy law during year 2001 to 2002 and from January 2003 to August is appended for perusal.
The Concept of Jihad amongst Muslims
Jihad is a subject that has become much controversial in the Muslim world. In the current debates on the subject the two distinct views have come forth and the dominant one is that jihad is waging war for a just cause as a last resort to protect community. The just cause of jihad, Safdar Siddiqui, a progressive Muslim scholar, holds, is waging war against disease, poverty, illiteracy, and for overthrowing yoke of social, political and economic subjugation and not for killing humanity.
Empire building amongst Christians made many institutions of oppression at state level. The Church and the State collaborated for many centuries to maintain status quo of socio-economic domination of the ruling class. This nexus between church and the state was shattered by the Industrial Revolution in Europe when relations in mode of production changed. When the mode of production switched over from feudal to industrial relations.
But the Muslims remained influenced under the concept and the sentiment of Muslim Empire building much later. Muslim scholars like Jamal uddin Afghani, Syed Qutab, Allama Muhammad Iqbal and Maulana Abu ala Maoudoodi projected the concept of Pan-Islamism in the recent past.
The Concept of Jihad and Events of 9/11
The 9/11 and post 9/11 events in which Al-Qaida, Taliban and or those responsible for gory occurrences like Bali Bomb explosion in Indonesia or massacres in Pakistan against Christians or against Shias all have misconceived notions of Islam. They want to conquer the whole world on the basis of their creed and jihad. The sentiment of Jihad was promoted and was generously funded by Americans, British and other interested parties in Afghanistan. The CIA trained and armed at least 35000 zealots who became the Talibans and al-Qaida. John Cooley in his ' Unholy Wars' writes, "Prime Minister Margaret Thacher's Government supported the American funded jihad with full enthusiasm."
Jihad is a subject that has become much controversial in the Muslim world. In the current debates on the subject the two distinct views have come forth and the dominant one is that jihad is waging war for a just cause as a last resort to protect community. The just cause of jihad, Safdar Siddiqui, a Muslim scholar, holds, is waging war against disease, poverty, illiteracy, and for overthrowing yoke of social, political and economic subjugation and not for killing humanity.
The misconceived notions and belligerent sentiments behind the treacherous jihadi attacks on the twin towers of the World Trade Centre by Muslim zealots that killed more than three thousand people in ten minutes require serious study. How and why such misconceived creed developed? What are the forces behind? It's not mere religious sentiment or ethnicity or Islamic identity; perhaps more than that. Deprivations some times add insult to injury. The approach is certainly misconceived and misguided. Such creeds flourish only in a soil that is medieval, underdeveloped and industrially backward. The democratic order flourishes in industrialized societies because it provides space to a secular society. Therefore instead of making them consumer societies these states should be well industrialized. But the promoters of corporate globalization might find this socio-economic paradigm opposed to their agenda. The industrialization will change relations in production and will secularize those societies. This sentiment of socio-religious violence can promptly be erased once the industrial revolution is brought about. The obscurantism will end with the process of cleansing in an industrial society as it will change the out look and attitudes of people towards life.
Respecting ethnicity's, culture, religious creeds, language, values and customs of the people is certainly good but overplaying those for conflict resolution as has been done by Samuel p. Huntington in his much talked about book 'The Clash of Civilization And The Remaking of World Order" too is not only incorrect but also appears to be so put by design. On the contrary, John Pilger rightly say, " the real terror is poverty, from which some 24000 people die every day". He, in his book, " The New Rulers of the World" has given much insight for emancipating the people of the world by giving details about the 'exploitative role of the corporate globalization, which has globalized poverty.'
After tragic events of September 11, 2001 that shook the world, two distinct views emerged, one that Muslims are terrorists and that Islam promotes violence. And the other view that is more sensible that there is a small minority that subscribes to the theory of violence. The way to resolve the conflict is to address the large majority of Muslims across the world that promotes progressive, tolerant and humane version of Islam. The Muslims are 1.3 billion of the world population. They constitute large part of humanity. Their issues need to be addressed and should not be ignored. They should be mobilized towards becoming vehicle for better change that leads the march of human development forwards and not backwards.
It is high time to realize that humanity has suffered immensely in the last millenium because of self-righteous zealots who profess various religions and who try to impose their version of truth or who claim to be the custodian of the Divine Truth. Let us in all humility and with honesty accept one fact that we are all fallible and none of us has the sole proprietorship of the Divine Truth. The humanity across the world in recent past has voted for justice and world peace during, before and after Iraq war. Mammoth gatherings in London, New York, Rome, Paris, Munich, Barcelona and Sydney and many other places eloquently demonstrated that they stood not only for peace but also for socio-economic justice. These gatherings were free from genders, colors, creeds, dogmas and religions. They had actually surpassed all such boundaries. They in fact gathered around humanity for a righteous cause. It's now time to have world vision looking forward what lies ahead for humanity in the new millenium. The world society has grown pluralistic and diversity in humanity should be respected and protected as this the beauty of nature.
In the context of application of Shari'ah and religious freedom the Muslim Ummah or the Islamic leadership must realize that a moment has arrived in history where they have to redefine their role in human development. They will have to decide either to join humanity at large or stand isolated. They should bring forth the Islamic Deen (faith) in its true spirit and shun all those dogmas and religious cults that take them away from the Quranic message. The 1990 Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam as adopted by the OIC, Organization of Islamic Conference does not fully appreciate that religious freedom is inalienable right of a citizen. And imposing Islamic Shari'ah on religious minorities is tantamount to flagrant violation of the provisions of different international treaties and conventions. The intellectuals and Islamic scholars who promote the concepts of human rights, civil society and pluralist society should be promoted and projected. The UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1949 that was framed by representatives who were believers, non-believers, seculars, and those belonging to different religions, cultures and traditions came to a consensus as to how humanity should be respected, protected and promoted. They reached an irrefutable conclusion that there was unity in diversity, and the principle of nature must be respected at all hands. There is no doubt there is some difference of approach about socio-political rights of citizens in between West that is industrially and technologically advanced and the third world that is under-developed and developing States mostly in Asia, Africa and Latin America. And this difference of approach is amply demonstrated in the Asian Human Rights Charter that was prepared after serious exercise organized by the Asian Human Rights Commission Hong Kong. The Muslim intellectuals and scholars should come out with unequivocal announcements in support of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international treaties and conventions that serve humanity without caste, color or creed. In this regard all member states of UN should sincerely accept and implement the provisions of Article 2 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) that not only call upon states to legislate laws that serve citizens, "without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status" but also to ensure and provide judicial mechanism at state level to redress grievances against violations of fundamental and human rights of the citizens.
A meaningful dialogue of life should be initiated at all levels so that a healthy debate may ensue for building a civil society. Free and open interaction of intellectuals and scholars should be promoted who are building peace and safeguarding humanity. Their literature for peace, socio-religious harmony and tolerance, and brotherhood should be extensively projected and distributed.
The agenda to lessen the rich and poor divide should be sincerely promoted. This divide pushes people towards obscurantism and fundamentalism. The liberative forces in the society should be encouraged to bring about social change that would establish a just socio-economic order. The Church leadership should issue Pastoral Letters calling upon the Christian congregations to initiate dialogue of life with other communities. This exercise will accelerate the process of peace building and bring people of different shades of opinion together for conflict resolution. We, however, should be clear that the struggle in academic and intellectual arena could only be fruitful if it materializes through people's struggle for liberation to become a dominant political force that could free humanity from poverty, disease, backwardness, economic and political subjugation of the exploitative forces.
2.Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan
3.Pakistan Penal Code
4.Reconstruction of Islam by Allama Iqbal
5.Islami Riasat by Maulana Maudoodi
6.Study of Rel