Ordinance XX- A legal analysis


President House Pakistan

Source: Daily Times

Last week marked 36 years since the mighty General, Zia-ul-Haq, the sixth and longest-serving head of the state of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan promulgated the infamous “Anti Islamic Activities of the Quadiani Group, Lahori Group and Ahmadis (Prohibition and Punishment) Ordinance, 1984” (Ordinance XX).

This was not the first instance where the self-declared Chief Martial Law Administrator felt the need that his dictate should have an effect, notwithstanding, any order or decision of any court of law. In 1984, however, there was a pressing necessity for such promulgation, which stemmed from the filth and hatred that Ahmadis were spreading by worshipping God – the God, which belonged to the “Muslims,” only.

The clergy argued, and quite successfully for the Zia clan, that Ahmadis, by carrying out activities similar to those of the majority Muslims, deceive and misrepresent the ordinary citizens of the country into thinking that they are one of them – the righteous Muslim Ummah. According to them, this fraud on their fellow brethren was creating a feeling of hostility and resentment within them and, thus, the state was required to act.

As for the state, rather General Zia, he wanted legitimacy for his martial law and this was one such opportunity. Ordinance XX of 1984 was, thus, proclaimed to be law. It amended the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) to create certain new criminal offences. Different from the law on manslaughter, adultery or robbery, this was a unique instance where a set of criminal injunctions would apply only to a specific and defined class of people, the wrong kind of Muslims.

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