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The menace within

Pakistan was created to tolerate all people regardless of their race, religion, ethnicity and gender. However, in order to achieve this ideal, and this is palpable from recents events, our country has not matched neighbouring India in building our state institutions as a democratic nation. But this was because Pakistan was caught off guard when treachery struck us and “they”, the Indians, had “Joe”. So we might have an excuse.

Sadly, the military has dispossessed the Pakistanis of Mr Jinnah’s legacy of freedom. In that way Pakistan is still wedded to the vestiges of imperialism. In India, however, Pandit Nehru (or “Joe”) expeditiously settled the country’s constitution, whereas in Pakistan the seeds evil were sown when the venal Muhammed Munir CJ appeased his military masters by murdering democracy in its nascency. Munir upheld Ghulam Muhammed’s dissolution of the legislature in 1954 (for the Constituent Assembly’s failure to produce a constitution within a reasonable timescale) and in doing so he legitimised perpetual tyranny and violence in Pakistan.

I will not expand too much upon what Munir CJ did but he affirmed dictatorship – for example, in Dosso v The State, he used Professor Hans Kelsen’s theory of “pure revolution” to legitimise Ayub’s 1958 military coup d’état. Kelsen, of course, was truly repulsed by this and disowned what Munir falsely attributed to him. Continue reading

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY QUAID-E-AZAM

Happy Birthday Mr Jinnah

Though Jinnah came from a traditional Muslim family he developed a mind that was modern and secular, and was as brilliant and sharp as any of his adversaries or colleagues, whether Indian or British.

Like the best pre-Gandhian leaders of India’s National Congress Party, such as Gokhale, Jinnah continued to work toward and hoped to win India’s freedom by his brilliant mastery of secular Western law and parliamentary rules of governance.

Stanley Wolpert, Shameful Flight: The Last Years of  the British Empire in India, (2006:3).

So much has been said about Mr Jinnah and what he wanted Pakistan to be. In the coming months his version of the Pakistani state will be covered on this website.


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Despite the terrible suicide bombing earlier today, Pakistani law and democracy would like to wish Pakistani Christians (and Hindus, Muslims and others) a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. One can only wonder how Asia Bibi’s Christmas has been so far and we sympathise with her family’s harsh predicament. One can only hope that she will be released and all the charges against her will be dropped.

Pakistani girl celebrating Christmas

Blasphemy and the rule of law: Asia Bibi’s case

History

A barrister by trade Mr Jinnah shared with the profession its militant passion for espousing very precisely advocated arguments and it is not by chance that six decades after his death we can still hear his principles echo. In his first speech to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan Mr Jinnah provided his people with clues for future action. He described the evils which threatened Pakistan’s interests and suggested remedies which would aid its inhabitants in achieving the secular dream that he had dreamt for the newborn state.

Mr Jinnah

In his first address to the Constituent Assembly Mr Jinnah very famously declared that in Pakistan there could be “no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another”. He also reassured Pakistan’s citizens by his declaration that:

“You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State.”

Clearly Mr Jinnah’s Pakistan was very much about an impartial state which did not treat its minorities poorly and one which did not persecute them.

In his speech Mr Jinnah also reiterated his fears for the future. Pakistan, argued Mr Jinnah, would have to fight diseases such as “bribery, corruption, jobbery, nepotism and black marketing” and in order to win against such evils the post-colonial state would have to grant all its citizens equality and constitutional “human” rights.

Equally, even the later Objectives Resolution (considered to be the touchstone of the “Islamic” influence on Pakistan’s constitution) – which was passed in March 1949 under the aegis of Nawabzada Liaqat Ali Khan – clearly made provisions for the protection of the rights of minorities. Keeping with Mr Jinnah Nawabzada envisaged a nation: Continue reading

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