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.

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