- Lawyer suggests ‘Ahmedis can’t be allowed to exercise Islamic rituals’
ISLAMABAD: Law expert Akram Sheikh on Friday apprised the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that a constitutional court can direct the government for a legislation against the non-Muslims who identify themselves as Muslims in paperwork.
Akram was assisting the court in a petition filed by Maulana Allah Wasaya that pertained to the identification non-Muslims in the government and other organisations who pretend to be Muslims.
Addressing the court, the lawyer suggested a “strict action” against those who changed their religious status from Muslim to Ahmedi.
Earlier, a NADRA report revealed that at least 10,205 people had changed their religious status from Muslim to Ahmedi.
In his observations, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui asserted that over 10,000 people changed their religious status from Muslim to Ahmedi in their Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs), adding that a majority of these pretended to be Muslims to hold on to their jobs and then revert back to their official religion after retirement.
Over 6,000 people, who converted to Ahemdi sect, left the country, the judge cited a government report and said that the government had already been directed to present the travel history in the court.
Earlier, the court asked the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to provide a travel history of these people.
Sheikh being concerned over the revelations in the government report said that “Ahmedis can’t be allowed to exercise Islamic rituals as it could “hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims”.
He, however, stated that a separate religious identity is essential for the safety of the minority community’s religious rights, adding that “Islam and the Constitution ensure the provision of rights to minorities”.
The lawyer suggested that one should submit an affidavit on the finality of prophethood mandatory for issuance of a CNIC.
On Thursday, the IHC directed a deputy attorney general (DAG) to provide details of the 2017 census with a break-up of Muslims, non-Muslims, and Ahmedis.
Justice Siddiqui had directed the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to provide details on the Muslim Television Ahmadiyya International TV channel. Upon which, the counsel representing the authority had replied that the channel is operated from the United Kingdom.
Earlier, amicus curiae (court’s helpers) including University of Punjab Institute of Islamic Studies Professor Dr Hafiz Hassan Madni, Ex Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) member Dr Mohsin Naqvi, and current CII member Dr Sajidur Rehman have assisted the court in this regard.
The court had directed them to assist in determining if it is a violation of fundamental rights to ask a citizen about his religion and religious ideology.
The directive comes in the wake of the NADRA report that revealed that at least 10,205 people had changed their religious status from Muslim to Ahmedi. According to the report, a total of 167,473 Ahmedis are registered in the country.
Subsequently, the court directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to submit the travel histories of 6,001 people who changed their religious status from Muslim to Ahmedi.
Ahmedis, a persecuted community, were declared non-Muslim by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1974, and then came military dictator Ziaul Haq who introduced infamous Ordinance XX that makes Ahmedis callings themselves Muslims as a punishable offence.