Attention Madam Speaker Of The National Assembly Of Pakistan

I received this email and an appended letter to the honorable Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan,  Dr. Fahmida Mirza.   This is not being posted here for sectarian debate or any other kind of debate but for right of information- any attempts at introducing a theological debate on the issue shall be subject to automatic deletion.   Surely the geniuses who believe that the second amendment to the constitution was justified should not have any problem bringing to light the fascinating debate on the issue.   And it is appropriate that the PPP government should be in power as it was the party in power then as well. -YLH  

Dear Mr. Hamdani sahib, Hello Sir!

 My name is Bashir Khan and I am a recent graduate of the University of New Brunswick Faculty of Law which is located on the east coast of Canada (bordering Maine). At the moment I am working for a firm specialising in human rights and refugee law. I am a Pakistani-Canadian and have been living in Canada from the age of 11.  I am myself an Ahmadi Muslim. I wanted to mention this so that I could express to you that I am a strong believer in Mr. Jinnah’s secular Pakistan where all citizens regardless of cast, creed and religion are equal citizens of the state.

Sir, I need your help! I am writing a legal thesis on the Ahmadiyya issue as a human rights issue in Pakistan. I have written a letter to the Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan. It is a 4 page letter and might I add that it is a most well reasoned letter. I have sent this letter by mail to Dr. Fehmida Mirza 18 times over the past 16 months. Unfortunately, no reply has been forthcoming. In this letter, which I am attaching to this e-mail, I have asked the speaker of the National Assembly to release the record of debates of the Pakistan National Assembly from the year 1974 which discussed the Second Amendment Bill which declared the Ahmadiyya and Lahori community members as non-Muslim. I have also requested a copy of Justice (ret’d) Samdani’s judicial report on the anti-ahmadiyya violence in 1974 which has also been suppressed. Sir, could you please kindly post my attached 4 page letter on any website that is frequented by Pakistanis and open it to comments. So, at least this way other people will be aware of this issue in greater depth. Please note my letter is about transparency rather than a soft hearted message for tolerance in Pakistan. That message has already been delivered very well by you in your numerous, well written, articles. Thank you sir. And please let me know if you could do me this favour! Yours Sincerely,

Bashir A. Khan, LL.B.

Honourable Dr. Fehmida Mirza

Speaker, National Assembly of Pakistan

Parliament House

Islamabad, Pakistan

Dear Madam Speaker,

My name is Bashir Khan and I graduated from law school last year. At present, I am working in a law firm specializing in human rights and refugee law.

The reason that I am writing to you today is that I am writing a legal thesis on the legal and political history behind the passing of The Constitution (Second Amendment) Act, 1974. This was passed by the National Assembly of Pakistan on Saturday September 7th 1974 and which resulted in members of the Ahmadi/Qadiani/Lahori communities being declared non-Muslim for the purpose of the constitution and the law.

The nature and scope of my thesis will discuss the Qadiani/Ahmadiyya/Lahori community’s legal status as a religious minority under the Pakistani constitution and law. I also plan to discuss their history, their doctrines, the mass movements of 1953 and 1974 which demanded a minority status for them and on the subsequent legal position that they find themselves in since the introduction of Anti-lslamic Activities of Quadiani Group, Lahori Group and Ahmadis (Prohibition and Punishment) Ordinance, XX of 1984. I also plan to write on the relationship between Ordinance XX of 1984 (which added certain sections to the Pakistan Penal Code) and Article 20 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (which guarantees freedom of religion) based on the judicial pronouncements of various Pakistani courts.

I must state here that it is my intention to analyse this legal issue not based upon western value judgments but to analyse it from the view of the average and reasonable Pakistani citizen, for it is only then that one can fully appreciate and value the true moral and legal position by which the Pakistani people wish to live by. One cannot truly appreciate the legal system of another nation by removing oneself from the religion and culture of that society, which is its lifeblood.

It is with respect to the 1974 mass movement that I am writing to you about today. After much academic research, I discovered that there was a commission of inquiry ordered by the then Chief Minister of Punjab, Mr. Muhammad Hanif Ramay on May 31st 1974 to investigate the events that had taken place on May 29, 1974 at the railway station in the town of Rabwah, now re-named as Chenab Nagar.

 

 

 

Samdani Tribunal/Commission Report:

Mr. Justice K.M.A. Samdani, a judge of the Lahore High Court was appointed to a one man tribunal to investigate the incident. This tribunal, the Samdani Tribunal/Commission began its fact finding work on June 5th 1974 and concluded its investigation on August 3rd 1974.

Copies of the Samdani Tribunal/Commission Report were presented to Chief Minister Muhammad Hanif Ramay by Mr. Justice Samdani on August 20th 1974. I understand that this report was in English and consisted of approximately 112 pages.

Chief Minister Ramay informed the media on August 23rd 1974 that the Punjab Government had forwarded the Samdani Tribunal/Commission findings to Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

On August 21st 1974, the federal cabinet discussed the Samdani Tribunal/Commission’s Report. You may find it of some interest to know that this report was not presented to the National Assembly of Pakistan in 1974.

I would like to bring to your attention the fact that, the then Honourable Prime Minister, Mr. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto gave a statement on May 31, 1974 which was published in the daily newspaper Dawn on June 1, 1974 in which he said that “A Commission of Inquiry, headed by a High Court judge, had been constituted to investigate the facts about the incident… All citizens should await its findings which will be made public”. 

However, unfortunately, to this day the Samdani Tribunal/Commision’s Report has not been published. The citizens of Pakistan continue to wait!

 

 

Request:

The Samdani Tribunal/Commission’s findings would be very useful and indeed most helpful with respect to my thesis which pertains to an important aspect of Pakistan’s political and legal history. I would like to request your august office to please kindly help me in locating a copy of this investigative report.

Before the Constitution (Second Amendment) Act, 1974 was passed, the Report of the Special Committee of the Whole House on the Question of Status in Islam of Persons who do not believe in the finality of Prophethood of the holy Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon him) was adopted by the National Assembly. This was done through a motion by the then Law Minister, Mr. Abdul Hafeez Pirzada “That the recommendations of the Special Committee of the whole House be adopted”.[1]

 

Record of Proceedings of the Special Committee of the Whole House of the National Assembly of Pakistan AND the Report of the Special Committee of the Whole House of the National Assembly of Pakistan:

It is with respect to the Record of Proceedings of the Special Committee of the Whole House of the National Assembly of Pakistan AND the Report of the Special Committee of the Whole House of the National Assembly of Pakistan that I request your help. The National Assembly of Pakistan held its sessions in secret when discussing this issue. Therefore, the Record of Proceedings AND the Report of the Special Committee of the Whole House have not been made public.

Before the actual vote to pass the Second Amendment took place, Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto made a speech in the National Assembly in which he said:

            Now since it was a secret session, we must respect the secrecy of these proceedings for an additional period of time. In history finally nothing remains secret. But there is a       time to bring out these things. Since the proceedings of the House were in camera and   since we give to every Member of the House and those who appeared here to make         their statements the guarantee that they are speaking in utter secrecy and that what     they say will not be distorted or will not be used or capitalized upon for political or    other purposes, I think that it is but necessary that the House should maintain, for        a given period of time, that secrecy; and in the fullness of time it will be possible for us to bring out these proceedings because the record must come out at some    stage. I do not say that we must bury these records. Not at all. On the contrary it would be unrealistic of me to make such a suggestion. I only say that         for a period of         time, if we want to close the chapter, if we want to make a new beginning, if we want to             rise to new heights, if we want to go forward, if we want to consolidate the national   gains, if we want to bring back the much needed             normalcy to Pakistan, not only on this      issue but on other issues also – and let me tell the House             that I hope that the settlement of     this issue will be a harbinger for discussions and  negotiations on other matters as well  –  let us hope that this augurs well for us to move to the next stage, to move to new       challenges with the hope and expectation of resolving all these national issues in a spirit            of understanding and accommodation.[2]

I feel that after 36 years of the Record of the National Assembly Proceedings AND the Report of the Special Committee of the Whole House being kept secret, now may well be the time to realize the desire that Prime Minister Bhutto expressed in his above-quoted speech concerning the making of the Record of Proceedings and the Report of the Special Committee public.

I also feel that for me as a student, these documents are essential to the subject matter on which I am writing my thesis.

 

Request:

I, therefore, would like to request you as the Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan that after 36 years the following records should be opened up to the public:

  • The Record of the Proceedings of the Special Committee of the Whole House on the Question of Status in Islam of Persons who do not believe in the finality of Prophethood of the holy Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon him);

 

  • The Report of the Special Committee of the Whole House on the Question of Status in Islam of Persons who do not believe in the finality of Prophethood of the holy Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon him); AND

 

  • The Samdani Tribunal/Commission Report BE MADE PUBLIC.

 

I am most grateful for the time that you took to read my letter and I thank you in advance for looking into this matter for me.

I look forward to your reply.

Yours Sincerely,

Bashir A. Khan


[1] The National Assembly of Pakistan: Debates, Official Report. Volume V, No. 39. Third Session of 1974.  Saturday, 7th September 1974. Page 561.

[2] The National Assembly of Pakistan: Debates, Official Report. Volume V, No. 39. Third Session of 1974.  Saturday, 7th September 1974. Page 569.

23 Comments

Filed under Jinnah's Pakistan, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, liberal Pakistan, minorities, Parliament, People's Pakistan, secular Pakistan

23 responses to “Attention Madam Speaker Of The National Assembly Of Pakistan

  1. Ali

    yea and if the pigs could fly😛

    I am sorry to say but its PAKISTAN.. and u are requesting for records…

    You are better off sending some one to records section and bribe them for these kinds of file. you may have better chance there rather than sending letters to a Minister.

  2. EDITED -READ MY INTRODUCTORY NOTE ABOVE- YLH

  3. kashifiat

    EDITED- REFER TO PREAMBLE ABOVE.

  4. If they do not release the records, someone must go to the supreme court to get it done. What is there to hide?

  5. kashifiat

    Tumhari bhains kaisay hai
    Jab lathi hamari hai —–

    Coward🙂

  6. kashifiat bhai sahib.. you have treated some of my posts on your blog in the same manner. Narazi kaisi?

  7. Rukhsana Shama

    Hello Mr. Bashir,

    Although your request is genuine and as citizen of this country you and for that matter everybody has right to ask for the records of such proceedings and judgement and inquiries which ultimately effect their fate and have implications on their lives and livelihoods. Having said that, we all know that we as Pakistanis do not enjoy many fundamental human rights which includes right to information or in simpler terms right to know.

    Some friends, above suggested to go for court etc. we know that fundamentalist mindset of this country exists in the very core of this society and its institutions, therefore, media, whom we call progressive wouldn’t pay any heed to such requests.

    and although the picture and prospects are quite gloomy, we can use some alternative methods to have this demand fulfilled, perhaps lobbying with minority minister, or having civil society organizations to speak up for this…

  8. Mustafa Shaban

    @Bashir Khan: Dont expect a response from this incompetent government or parliament. You should bring this issue in front of public using different means, try getting access to some tv channel in Pakistan or something.

  9. From NRO to Munir Commission and from Rawalpindi Conspiracy Case to Blasphemy Laws,Pakistan urgently needs a Bishop Tutu and Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

  10. Anwar

    Does the Parliament house a library where archives can be accessed?

  11. anwer khan

    Dear Bashir Sahib: Great letter, excellent and rational approach from irrational bunch. However Mubasher Luqman can air this in his TV as he is raising these questions boldly and many dialogues with Mullahs etc have been presented on his shows about Ahmadiyya stance. He might very well articulate it. Also you must write to the Law college Prodessors and Deans and the Association of Lawyers. These could be of great help. Also see an article by Harvard graduate Amjad Khan about this issue in Harvard Law Review. Also another such study was conducted by another person Nadeem and submitted to International Court of Justice.
    Another Key person is Abdul Hafeez Pirzada who chaired the session and indicated in one recent interview that he was under tremendous pressure to make that decision. May Allah help you Keep the pressure up. More power to you
    anwer khan

  12. Please forgive my ignorance,but don’t we (Pakistanis) have a Access to Information Law or Freedom of Information if I remember correctly.

    I think official documents should be released to archives after 35 years.

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  15. ikram

    To get complete picture of 1974 National Assembly Proceedings, it is good idea to read what the accused parties had to say in their defense.

    Both Lahori-Ahmadiyya group and Qadiani-Ahmadiyya group published booklets in this regards that were distributed among members of Pakistan National Assembly.

    Reading Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement blog (Lahori group) on this topic, where posters shared interesting information and inside information, I came across following three booklets.

    1) National Assembly Pakistan kee Special Committee ka Roobaroo Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat-e-Islam Lahore ka Wazahati Bayan: by Maulana Sadr-ud-Din

    2) Aaeen-e-Pakistan aur Musalmaan Firqa Ahmadiyya: by Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat-e-Islam Lahore

    3) Qaumee Assembly kee Khidmut Mein: by Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat-e-Islam Lahore

    It will be nice if some one can post links to booklets distributed by Qadiani group to members of NA.

  16. Sammy Chaudry

    Hi to everyone, this is my first post ever here.

    Some time ago I came across a related article written by Justice Samdani (The same justice who was commissioned by the Govt. to investigate the 1974 riots) in the Nation of 8th February 2009.
    This is what he said:

    Public vis-à-vis government

    By K.M.A. SAMDANI February 8, 2009

    I was still an Addl Judge of the Lahore High Court when I was entrusted with an enquiry, which related to the incident that had taken place at Rabwah in which some Ahmadis had beaten up the students of the Nishtar Medical College, Multan, travelling by train back to Multan from Peshawar.
    Some riots had also followed the incident. At any rate, the Head of the Ahmadia Jamaat was also to be called as a witness. And naturally his security was also the responsibility of the High Court. So, the area magistrate and the police were given the task of making all necessary arrangements.
    The day on which his testimony was to be recorded, I wanted to be sure before starting the proceedings that the security arrangements were in order. So I called the magistrate and the police officer concerned to get an oral report from them. The two promptly appeared before me; but it was the police officer that stepped forward to give me the report while the magistrate moved two steps backward. I was greatly disappointed by their demeanour.
    The main responsibility being that of the magistrate, he should have come forward. The police was only supposed to assist him. So I called the magistrate forward and asked him to tell me the details of the arrangements. At the same time I asked the police officer, to step back.
    I also explained the protocol to them. There is something wrong with the mentality which thinks that magistracy is subordinate to police. This needs to be rectified. (In the same context, I have also narrated an incident relating to Toba Tek Singh.). A system can only work effectively if every person involved knows the limitations of his position and also his relative position vis-a-vis the other persons. In the civil services, it is not only wrong but also sometimes criminal to exceed authority. Nobody seems to be bothered when the guardians of law, themselves, break the law.
    In connection with the enquiry mentioned above, I have a couple of remarks to make. In the first place, one of the purposes of the enquiry was to appease the agitated public by letting them know the truth. But when the enquiry was completed and the Punjab government was given the report, it was not published. Why?
    Was it not the right of the public to know the truth? The failure of the government to publish the report gave birth to a great misunderstanding. (And this is my second remark). Most people think that it was I that declared the Ahmadis infidels. The terms of reference did not include the question as to whether Ahmadis were Muslims or not. So, I did not have to decide that question. Nor did I actually decide it. This was done by our Parliament.
    The government should know that it is wrong not to publish the report of an enquiry ordered for the benefit of the public. At the same time it is also interesting to note that there was no demand from the public, either, that the report be published. In my opinion, however, demand or no demand, the government should do its duty.
    How else will the public know that it is their right to be informed of the result? It is a matter of pity that the governments, which are meant basically to serve the people, do not count them for much. It is, however, true that a vast majority of the people are illiterate and unaware of their rights (for this, too, the government is responsible), but what about the educated public? What service is being rendered to them? If you are a wealthy and influential person, you mean something, otherwise not. Shouldn’t we be ashamed of this state of affairs?
    (The writer is a retired judge of the Lahore High Court.)

    Here is the Link to the article.

    http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/pages/Opinions/Columns/1600

    once the page opens click on the heading, Public vis-à-vis government on the lower left side.

    The respected Justice is also lamenting and openly asking why the government has not published the report which he had submitted.
    In my opinion the only reason the government would not publish or make public both the reports is because they are not favorable to the Govt. and the non Ahmady Religious Parties Positions.
    If the National Assembly reports would have shown the Ahmadiyya position negatively and the Justice samdani report found them culpable in the riots, the Mullah would have been clamoring for the reports to be published by hook or crook.

    S. Chaudry.

  17. Hasan

    This is what I found on the official site. Extensive set of video interviews.

    National Assembly of Pakistan – 1974
    http://www.alislam.org/urdu/1974/

  18. yasserlatifhamdani

    Here is why the current government of Pakistan should certainly publish the report…

    Whatever there is in that report… will give the PPP government a chance to attack Abdul hafeez pirzada … the latter day champion of the constitution of Pakistan.

  19. OMLK

    35+ years having passed since 1974, now there is a 2nd generation of Ahmadis who are growing up with the burden of beign forcibly declared a minority. They have a right to know. In particular the Lahori Ahmadis who, unlike the Qadianis, believe in the abosulute finality of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and consider non-Ahamdis as Muslims, yet got shafted along with the Qadianis. This should also be of high moral interest to all Paksitani Muslims who are amazingly required to declare the Lahoris and Qadianis as Kafirs under oath in order to declare themselves as Muslims. And declaring any one a Kafir (who basically has the same fundamental beliefs) under oath is no small matter.

  20. Matiullah

    Great letter Bashir Sahib. I think the only way to enforce this issue is via media. You should seriously contact someone like Mubashir Luqman who may air this concern. Good Luck!

  21. Shehla Sadaf

    Dear Bashir Sb and Others
    Hi

    It is great that some one is at least trying to unfold the mysteries that have always been used to exploit the nation against a particular sect. Regardless of the fact whether Ahmadies/Qadianies are Muslim or not, these documents should certainly be made available to the nation so that they can themselves know the truth. I don’t know what is the government scared of.
    However I must comment that media is not appropriate way. I know media of Pakistan very well. I am sorry to say they are good businessmen. So they will only sell the product that has demand in masses. These documents don’t seem to be of interest for more that 70% of Pakistanis who have no time to go in details. They just want to get ready-made shortened and spicy information.As far as Government is concerned, offer them some big amount in some attractive foreign currency to get their attention. Otherwise they don’t have time for such a SILLY job. Court may be better way. I hope for the justice for you. Best of luck

  22. Izhar

    Yes you are right the whole record should be open now its 36 years are enough and now people shoudl know the reality.We have been kept in dark from long times.It seems most are lies out there about the disscussion and thats why its is kept so secret.And if it will not be open this is confirmed that we have been lied from 36 years by the National Assebly of our own country.

  23. 3a3r

    Salaams to all and Jazakallah for the intelligent discussion.

    Given that, starting from the letter of Bashir Khan Saheb onwards, everyone has been keen on suggesting ways that would allow truth and justice to prevail (in the matters under discussion), I thought it imperative to correct an untruth and an injustice (“zulm”) appearing in one of the posts:

    OMLK stated, inter alia, on January 29, 2010 at 11:22 am: “… In particular the Lahori Ahmadis who, UNLIKE THE QADIANIS, believe in the abosulute finality of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and CONSIDER NON-AHAMDIS AS MUSLIMS, yet got shafted along with the Qadianis. …” (my capitalisation to highlight the offending section).

    In reality, the Qadianis (or Ahmedis, as my many Qadiani friends call themselves), have consistently stuck to a simple and unambiguous position on this question: Anyone who declares belief in the Kalima is a Muslim. Period. [Otherwise, they would be guilty of the same crime that they are crying foul about, isn’t it?]

    To recap, therefore, Qadianis DO consider all Muslims as Muslims. They simply refer to them as “non-Ahmadi Muslims”. Small detail. Huge difference.