Members of parliament have introduced a third amendment into the Elections Act 2017 that was adopted last month. The fresh clause – simply known by the moniker 48-A – borrows a bit too heavily from clause 7B and 7C of the Conduct of General Elections Order, 2002 and finds itself inserted into the election law. Under the newly adopted law, if any citizen files an application against any voter that he is not a Muslim, the relevant officer in charge of the electoral rolls of that area would send a notice to the person against whom objection has been raised. The accused would be required to appear before the revising authority or ECP official within 15 days and sign a declaration regarding his/her belief about the absolute and unqualified finality of the Prophethood of Hazrat Muhammad (peace be upon him).
In case this person does not sign the prescribed declaration, or does not turn up before the officer in charge, he/she would be deemed to be a non-Muslim and his/her name would be deleted from the joint electoral rolls and would be added instead to a supplementary list of voters in the same electoral area as a non-Muslim. The government claims the amendment was made to restore the declaration for voters regarding Khatm-i-Nabuwwat. The objective was to keep the status of the Ahmadiyya community as non-Muslims intact. Ahmadi voters are added in a separate voter list for non-Muslims.