Religious intolerance in Muslim societies: Ordinance XX in Pakistan

Dailytimes; Yasser Latif Hamdani: Much like Akbar the Great, the Mughal Emperor, Mehmet Fateh and Suleiman the Magnificent refused to give in to the whims of the Muslim clergy. Their courts were models of pluralism and heterodox ideas

The Second Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan made Ahmedis non-Muslims for the purposes of the law and constitution. Exclusivist and arguably ultra vires the scope of parliamentary power as it was, it did not impose any restrictions on the freedom of religion of Ahmedis, including their right to call themselves Muslims. To do so would have been a negation of Article 20 of the Constitution, which promises every citizen freedom to profess and propagate his religion.

Then in 1984 came Ordinance XX, which criminalised the very freedom the constitution bequeathed on Ahmedis as citizens of this country. Hitting at the root of the Ahmedis’ faith, the Ordinance took away the right to say salaam or even recite the Holy Quran. Ironically, Christian painters were given the task of whiting out Quranic verses on Ahmedi graves. It was forbidden for Ahmedis to call their places of worship mosques. They were forbidden to make any structures that remotely resembled a mosque. What, one wonders, does a mosque look like is anybody’s guess. Does the Shah Faisal Mosque in Islamabad look like a mosque? How about Ranjit Singh’s Marri? Does it not look like a mosque? In any event, some vague idea of what a mosque looks like was forbidden to Ahmedis.

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  1. and… besides the contents of the ordinance… does any one know of any other ‘Marshall Law Ordinance’ that survived for decades after the fall of the ‘Marshall Law Administrator’?

  2. Muzaffar Mansoor
    14 minutes ago
    Reply
    Now the human rights commission bill has got unanimous approval in Pakistan, I wonder if Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry and his so called independent judiciary will look into plight of Ahmadis who have been victims of discrimination, intolerance and violence of Mullahs and their associates for four decades incited by anti-Ahmadi legislation and blasphemy laws. Ahmadis have been singled out isolated and marginalised in every sphere of their lives simply because they differ in interpretation of their beliefs with the Sunni majority. The provisions in the constitution of Pakistan are cosmetic and no one respects even to the extent the Prime Minister of Pakistan openly ridicules the Judiciary and the Apex Court verdicts. Unless right thinking Pakistanis do something otherwise the unity and strength of the nation will be divided into households leading to destruction disrespect of the nation in international perspective. I therefore urge all right thinking Pakistanis to come out of their prejudices and unite the nation as required by the Founder Hazrat Quaid e Azam “unity, discipline and faith”. Hope to see positive response.

  3. Now the human rights commission bill has got unanimous approval in Pakistan, I wonder if Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry and his so called independent judiciary will look into plight of Ahmadis who have been victims of discrimination, intolerance and violence of Mullahs and their associates for four decades incited by anti-Ahmadi legislation and blasphemy laws. Ahmadis have been singled out isolated and marginalised in every sphere of their lives simply because they differ in interpretation of their beliefs with the Sunni majority. The provisions in the constitution of Pakistan are cosmetic and no one respects even to the extent the Prime Minister of Pakistan openly ridicules the Judiciary and the Apex Court verdicts. Unless right thinking Pakistanis do something otherwise the unity and strength of the nation will be divided into households leading to destruction disrespect of the nation in international perspective. I therefore urge all right thinking Pakistanis to come out of their prejudices and unite the nation as required by the Founder Hazrat Quaid e Azam “unity, discipline and faith”. Hope to see positive response.

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