By Raza Habib Raja
Democracy is much more than majority
Right now, after 28th May, an issue being increasingly discussed is the status given to Ahmedis through the controversial Second Amendment.
Frankly I would like to say at the onset that I think the Second Amendment is one of the blackest and most shameful acts of legislations ever passed in the National Assembly. Its reprehensible content is reinforced by the fact that it was not an ordinance imposed by a dictator but actually passed by majority through legislative process.
The Second Amendment was passed unanimously and compared to other controversial legal ordinance such as Hadood, appears to have a “democratic’ semblance. In fact at times more than the religious arguments the supporters of the Second Amendment come up with the “democratic” defense.
Supporters say that after all democracy is a game of numbers and if the law was passed unanimously then it reflected the entire collective will of the people. They also say that democracy has to be consistently interpreted and applied. They say that you cannot be “selective” about democratic norms and apply it to your own wishes. The votes cast by the representatives are the most appropriate approximation of the public will and if a bill is passed unanimously then public will has to prevail. The art of legislation is the way of ensuring prevalence of public will.
Though apparently supported by “democratic” credentials, a critical look would reveal that actually this argument is flawed on at least two major accounts. Continue reading
By Yasser Latif Hamdani
Published in Daily Times, May 31 2010
The Second Amendment laid the foundations of intolerance and religious tyranny in Pakistan, which has manifested itself in other ways. Since then our state has been in a downward spiral
The violence against the Ahmediyya community underscores the bigotry that has become the hallmark of our beloved homeland. A community — already sacrificed at the altar of political expediency — has now been made to pay the ultimate price.
Amongst the dead, which included retired army officers and other contributors to Pakistani society, was reportedly the youngest brother of Chaudhry Zafarullah Khan. For those who are unaware of who Chaudhry Zafarullah was, he was the author of the Lahore Resolution, Pakistan’s first foreign minister and Pakistan’s advocate before the Boundary Commission. In other words, this community has paid for such crimes as their valiant contribution to the Pakistan Movement, their significant role in the development of Pakistan and the fact that Pakistan’s only Nobel Prize was bagged by them. Yet what happened on Friday was waiting to happen, given the neglect and at times outright bigotry that our governments, both federal and provincial, have been guilty of on this count starting with the PPP government in 1974.
Things were not always like this. It bears remembering that in 1944 when a group of Muslim divines approached Jinnah to persuade him unsuccessfully to turn all Ahmedis out of the Muslim League, Jinnah was resolute against such bigotry. He responded to them by saying, “Who am I to declare non-Muslim a person who calls himself a Muslim?” It was for this reason that many religious parties and even self-styled freedom fighters like Mirza Ali Khan (Faqir of Ipi) denounced the Muslim League as a “bastion of Qadiyanism”. Yet such was the force of character of our founding father that he not only stood against such bigotry but without any fear appointed the leading Ahmedi Muslim at the time to shoulder the most important responsibility for the Muslims of South Asia, i.e. of arguing Pakistan’s case before the Boundary Commission. So long as the Quaid’s colleagues were at the helm, there was some semblance of common sense that prevailed on this issue. When in 1953, the Majlis-e-Ahrar and the Jamaat-e-Islami, both groups that had opposed the creation of Pakistan, started a mass agitation movement to have Ahmedis like Chaudhry Zafarullah turned out from the government and excommunicated from Islam, Khawaja Nazimuddin, himself a devout Muslim, refused to bow under their pressure. His government fell a few weeks later and the establishment stepped in to sweep up the mullahs with extreme prejudice.
Filed under Activism, Democracy, human rights, Identity, Islam, Islamism, Jinnah's Pakistan, minorities, Pak Tea House, Religion, Rights, Taliban, Terrorism, violence
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. Continue reading