My Response to Ijazul Haq’s article published in daily News today (July 04).
This is with reference to Ijazul Haq’s article “What has ‘freely’ changed?” (July 3). Mr Haq seems to be living in the 70s, as he seems unable to understand the meaning and importance of a simple word like ‘freely’. While defending his father, Mr Haq declared that parliament had tampered with the constitution by inserting the word ‘freely’ in a clause related to the religious rights of minorities.
Only the son of a dictator can term the consensus of parliament as ‘tampering’ while terming the distortions in the constitution introduced by a dictator as ‘amendments’. According to Mr Haq, Gen Ziaul Haq was a “Muslim ruler, a leader and a statesman of standing”. Mr Haq should go through the 18th Amendment so that he may know that Ziaul Haq’s name has been removed as a ‘ruler’ and his position is now that of a ‘usurper’. After this amendment, at best he can be termed an ‘illegitimate ruler’. I hope Mr Haq would understand what difference the addition of a single word ‘illegitimate’ makes to the credentials of Zia.
Mr Haq has tried to hide Ziaul Haq’s crimes under the curtain of religion by declaring him an ‘Islamic ruler’. As a matter of fact Ziaul Haq was an illegitimate ruler and a hypocrite who used religion as a tool to stay in power. His love for Islam remained limited to recruiting foot soldiers for America’s war against the Soviet Union and promoting hatred and sectarian differences for his lust of power. Certainly, no other person has damaged Islam as much as Zia did. Had Mr Haq watched the bloodbath at Data Darbar by ‘Zia’s children’ on TV screens, he would have chosen a different time to defend the worst enemy of Islam and Pakistan and an illegitimate ruler.
Ahmad Nadeem Gehla
Here is origional article of Mard e Momen Junior Aka ‘Cheeni Choor’
What Has Freely Changed?
Saturday, July 03, 2010
On June 8, during the course of the hearing of petitions against the 18th Amendment, an impression was created that the famous Objectives Resolution of 1949 forming part of our Constitution had been tampered with. The Supreme Court was swift enough to term it “criminal negligence,” and lauded the present parliament for doing a good job. The media devoted editorial comments to conclude that the Zia era “will go down in history as the darkest phase for the minorities.”
The clause which was allegedly tampered with relates to the religious rights of the minorities, reads as follows: “Adequate provision shall be made for the minorities freely to profess and practice their religions and develop their cultures.”
The Objectives Resolution had already been in the preamble of all our Constitutions. But under the Revival of Constitution Order of March 1985, it was made an operative and substantive part of the Constitution (Sec. 2-A), through RCO 14. Since this happened during Gen Zia’s rule, much malice and slander has been directed against his person.
Historically, it was felt necessary that before the Constitution was drafted, the principles and ideals on which it was to be based and which were to guide its makers in their great task must first be clearly defined. The Objectives Resolution had been hammered out by our forefathers and enlightened visionaries. They were fully cognisant of the implications and arduous intricacies of constitution-making.
In the backdrop of the socialist, communist, atheist, secularist and capitalist ways of thinking, and of rivalries such as the state vs religion, they had to strike a balance to enable the Muslims of the newly created Islamic state to order their lives in accordance with the teachings of Islam. In areas where the state and religion blended, could coexist and be complementary, they had guidance from the 22 points of leading ulema from all sects and schools of thought. On March 12, 1949, the Constituent Assembly adopted the Objectives Resolution, moved by Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan, with an overwhelming majority. It proclaimed that the future Constitution of Pakistan would not be modelled on European pattern but on the ideology and democratic ideals of Islam. Since the Holy Quran is the only true guide for man, in his private and public life and in social and political affairs, they endeavoured to lay down the guiding principles based on Islam, Islamic teachings and Islamic tenets.
It may be of interest to many that the text of the resolution that was adopted by the Constituent Assembly for constitution-making is at variance with the original text as a result of some changes made, more so in the Sovereignty Clause.
No matter whether he was a democrat or a dictator, Gen Ziaul Haq was undoubtedly a Muslim ruler, a leader and a statesman of standing in his own right. He initiated and impacted world events. Under him Pakistan was much secure, stronger, more stable and sovereign. His words and views were honoured in world capitals. He believed earnestly and steadfastly in the viable universality of Islam as a Divine Religion. Therefore, it is incomprehensible that he was not aware of the religious rights of minorities in an Islamic state. He himself witnessed the emergence of Pakistan. How could he have lost sight of the famous Aug 11, 1947, speech of the Quaid-e-Azam to the first Constituent Assembly, in which the Quaid declared: “You are free, you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques, or to any other places of worship…”
How could he have compromised on this, or colluded or connived at a narrow interpretation of the word “free”? He had a much bigger and broader horizon, vision and worldview.
There could not have been a desire, a deliberate move or intention, to omit the word “freely” as is being alleged. What did his government have to gain from this so-called tampering? Had there been deliberate tampering, the word could have been replaced by any corresponding, comparable or compatible word or phrase meant to curtail or curb religious rights. Had that been his intention, hidden or open, other similar words could have been altered, omitted or replaced too. There is no such evidence available. Yes, there can be the remote possibility Of an error, an oversight, an omission, a mistake in drafting. Or a proof-reading, typographical or printing mistake.
Rather than accusing someone outright, we should consider the ground realities and the facts as they unfold. The removal of, or omission of, one odd word here and there makes no qualitative or substantive change or difference unless there is a policy shift. It is not so when legal and constitutional provisions and guarantees are present in full force. If the word “freely” has been omitted through an oversight or a printing mistake, Article 19 about freedom of speech and expression, Article 20 mandating guarantees to every citizen the freedom to profess, practice and propagate religions and management of religious institutions very much exist. Article 25 of the Constitution lays down fundamental principles of equality of all citizens before the law and equal protection under law. Intolerance and bigotry cannot be remedied through changes in some parts or portions of the Constitution. We can achieve this through collective effort and good governance.
So the furore is making a mountain out of a molehill. It is much ado about nothing, a storm in a teacup–if not an absurdity!
Has the 18th Amendment, with the word “freely” reinserted, empowered the people, parliament and the prime minister? I am not quite certain about the effect on the first two. But the PPP prime minister is now certainly powerful enough to help his brother and let his son slap people. And anyone holding a fake degree or even named in an FIR can be elected to parliament.
The writer is a former federal minister.