Pakistan in Perspective | Minorities, Constitution and Human Rights (Season 1, Episode 1)




Pakistan in Perspective | Minorities, Constitution and Human Rights (Season 1, Episode 1)

Uploaded on May 9, 2020

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh who and welcome to Pakistan in perspective a special series examining the state of minority and human rights in Pakistan from a historical legal and philosophical perspective in the course of our series will cover a wide range of topics including Pakistan’s foundational approach to minority and human rights the specific laws and legislation that have adversely impacted minority rights the exclusion of Pakistan’s minorities from the political process and the prospects for meaningful reform in Pakistan to help analyse these matters with assembled a group of experts which include some of Pakistan’s leading jurors journalist and intellectuals today’s program explores the early years of Pakistan’s founding and particularly Mr Muhammad Ali Jinnah original vision for minority rights will also be discussing the constitutional framework for minority rate in Pakistan with particular emphasis on the 1973 and current constitution what does it mean to be a minority in Pakistan and has Pakistan adequately provided protections for minority rights join me in the studio to discuss these matters or two very distinguished lawyers from Pakistan on my right is Mr Abid Hussain Minto who is the senior lawyer and advocate before the Supreme Court of Pakistan and a constitutional law expert instrumental it’s an honour to have you with us today and on my left is Mr Majeika rathmann was also seen your lawyer and advocate before the Supreme Court of Pakistan and a scholar of Islamic Sharia law and other related subjects and both our guest have many decades of experience defending minority rights in court so be very interesting to hear their perspectives before turning to work on a lift let me set the stage a bit Pakistan has a population of roughly 187 million people that makes it the sixth most populous country in the world there are at least 6 million Pakistanis who belong to dozens of minority religious and ethnic groups in Pakistan and if you include the Shia community as a minority that number is in the tens of millions so the question of minority rights carries great way and significance on August 11th 1947 Pakistan’s most famous founder Mr Muhammad Ali Jinnah delivered a keynote speech to the first constituent Assembly and that speech has been viewed by many historians and scholars as a seminal pronouncement of Pakistan’s deep commitment to minority rights and religious freedom for the benefit of our audience I will read a portion of that address now he said you are free you are free to go to your temples you’re free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship within the state of Pakistan you may belong to any religion or castacrete that has nothing to do with the business of the state we are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one state now I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims not so much in the religious sense because that’s a matter of personal faith of each individual but in the political sense as citizens of the State we had the opportunity to ask several leading scholars on Pakistan to share their impressions of Mr Gina’s historic addressall citizens of the state and it doesn’t matter whether you are Muslims or Hindus or 600 parcels we are all equal well that was never implemented and who knows what would have happened had he stayed alive but that was never implemented to frame the constitution so in that capacity for the first time he expressed his views on the on the framework and the Constitution of Pakistan that therefore it is the Foundation of speech nothing else he took 3 days to think about and write this speech sorry to have calculated and his reason for Pakistan was not on this part of the moment it was his ideal and it was his idea which he thought about properly for a long time before saying this so to express this practically he started the session of custard assembly without the recitation of holy Quran because and the session was presided over by a Hindu parliamentarian during that month sorry main Islamic state the Hindu will not preside over the session of because 27th offer Muslim cost to enter 70 when he appointed the first federal cabinet of six members the law ministry again went to Monday Islamic state this is the greatest to speech made by Mr Muhammad Ali Jinnah because he made his pictures but he spoke as the president of the Muslim League this was the first time he will speaking as the prospective head of the state before that in which year was ok the prospective or a designated head of the state therefore it’s it’s it’s it’s a scope it’s and it is much faster then all this pictures he had made during the Struggle for Pakistan including is pictures on the Pakistan resolution I consider this speech is more important because those pictures were related to a demand and the speech in laytown a framework for performance besides this that he said that you are free you are free to go to get my free to go to the mosque or any other place of worship you want to it has nothing to do with the business of politics this speech by saying if you follow this policy if you follow this policy you will see that after some time Hindus will cease to be Hindus and Muslims will cease to be Muslims not in that religious this is a very important sentence very important not interreligious sense because religion is a personal matter of faith for every individual but that religion is better of faith for every individualis it Pakistan can survive only by sticking to this formula and if it doesn’t does not know Pakistan so now change your panelist and beginner discussion Mr Minto help us understand the Broad question what exactly is a minority and how has Pakistan to find it another do they mine or do that we’re talking in the context of Pakistan specifically then we has certain problems because minorities identify themselves as minorities in a variety of states that there was no problem when Muslims in the United India vs to be a second nation or as community as compared with the Hindus majority so they’re called minority in a country or an estate on the basis of the majority of the populace which lives in that state so that’s what I want because there is no legal or constitutional definition of anywhere in the world that defines particularly what minority will be there are minorities accept their status as minority because in Pakistan there was no difficulty in calling Hindus and religious minorities are the Christians as religious minorities they said that we are religiously speaking in Minority and it is a fact of history that they were in minority in Estate with was populated overwhelmingly by the Muslims so they wanted their status to be determined constitutionally and legally in a society in which the majority of the population belong to a certain religious Creed difficulty arises when the when the the mainstream Muslim Society itself groups and sects which deviate from the main strip itself and it started right from the beginning so that she has that you mentioned in your introductory common the shiites a part of the mainstream Muslim Society and yet they were separated from the principal group of people who actually ruling at that point of time and historically this ruling group was changing hands between the lights on the one side and the non-cis or by the Hunna she’s on the other side so therefore there is no difficulty but they never claimed neither of them in any particular situation claimed that they had in Minority they had their connection with the mainstream Muslim religion itself and therefore they were comfortable ar80 and yet within the majority itself the different sex they had there internal and differences of opinion the issue became an issue of conflict only when a group of people by the majority of Muslim community of the mainstream Muslim community where I was not willing to recognise this part that becomes the difficulty with in muslim-majority society a group of people who claim that they are Muslims are not recognised by the rest of the Muslim majority of the Muslim to be Muslims and Conflict arises so therefore whether they recognise them are not record they do not recognise them as as as a part of the mainstream itself is religious question those who believe in a certain fate they may they not accept the other group to be a part of their faith and Redman it would seem that the question of whether someone is a minority is is fascinating in Pakistan because there are groups that have that with self identify as such and there are those we’ve been perhaps thrust thrust upon them is this label of being a minority what are your impressions on that if you look atmy idea is that minority exists as effect of history minorities are an underprivileged left out group of the society with have not totally merged into the mainstream Society and have been left behind they feel threatened because of their number or because of there any cab having been left out politically and socially or economically and they seek recognition of their status and they wish to maintain their identity as sad and therefore all the constitution around the world they particularly provide that their identity shall be preserved so they exist they weren’t recognition they want of continuance of their identity so the minority stands out in a society they and Wendy political in the context of political science we see in a democratic setup privileges or wait age is given to minority with is and includes very process in an ideal democracy there should be no concept of underprivileged over privileged classes so in democratic setup an effort is made to draw them into the main line into the mainstream and the process is that of integration so the constitutional process regarding minority is an in-depth process of integration the difficulty arises and was something that my friend has mentioned has happened in Pakistan minorities exist they demand the recognition they are not created if a minority is created by fiction of law then what you are doing is your adopting and exclusionary process and you’re driving a section of the mainstream out of the mainstream and in that process you are not protecting their life you are insect depriving them of their life the very purpose of creative you at all if it is possible or it is desirable you are creating something and if by friction of law and the purpose is to deprive them of their life so that is not that is not what should be done in a democratic setup there are obviously definition of concerns about minorities but we what is very evidence is the idea of protections for minorities in Pakistan has steadily declined or has changed over time you had the opportunity to hear some of the Impressions of of some of Pakistan’s commentators about Gina’s vision vision what went wrong drunk so that’s the difficult question of interpretation what messaging are set on the 11th of August has to be interpreted in the context of his philosophy restoration theory and therefore what he said on the 11th of August cannot be isolated from the the actual politics that he was leading right from the Year 1940 onwards particularly but even before that all sorts of call they said that when Muhammad bin Qasim and came here for the first time the foundation for Pakistan well we’re late at that point of time which actually means that the Muslim coming in and non-muslim state as as a conqueror when he enters that provides that the underdog raphy the foundations of a parallel state could get so this is all historical the issue is whether two nation Theory is in conflict with the 11th of August or not my answer is it is not because two nation Theory is analogic context of India it’s it instead in which Mr dinner and the Muslim League and those who follow the two nation theory they said they wanted to assert their rights in a majority Hindu populationit sent and the significances that Mr dinner at that point of time was making a statement before the constituent Assembly and the second significance of his statement that he was in self the president of that constituent Assembly and it hurt coloured is the importance of this statement is that he’s making that statement at a time when he is not badly the member and chairman of the president of the constituent assembly he simultaneously the president of his own party is also the head of the state having been designated as the governor tended to pakistan so he had three capacities and in all these capacities together he addresses those who wait to make the constitution very says this will be a constitution which will be democratic there cannot be a democratic constitution can see where you say that state has religion we see that were accepted in the sense that people who Foundation of Pakistan wanted to see that these fundamental freedoms wearing try and but we also see at the same time that there was a struggle for that vision to be articulated and transformed legally into Pakistan constitution and indeed it took many years before Pakistan’s constitution the current when was founded explain to us a bit more about that constitutional history history is a very long refer to discuss 1956 constitution itself was a set of compromises and 1956 constitution which was the first ever concert in Britain and which of course that’s not word for very long in that constitution become from my basically was to deprive the majority of their the lights to people in East Pakistan but they are majority was not recognised and they’ve worked out with great difficulty they work out the formula of which was in effect depriving the majority majority in the house and then Marshall intervened and there were different interventions finally we came to the 1973 constitution but whether you look at the 1956 constitution or 1962 constitution with a you can give as a dictator of course it was drafted by it later but that constitution and then ultimately 1973 constitution if you look at the three constitution whatever the majority or the right wing or obscurantist Sex and the population of Pakistan might might be thinking some people say that with the objective resolution with deviated from the Principal we may have a point in there I’m not for the time in touching that but the point is that even so when the constitution was in fact implemented or when it was drafted those principles very Incorporated freedom of faith was Incorporated minority rights were Incorporated to start with what happened later on so the problem is that the concept of whatever reservations people might have had against those principles in the beginning or later on but those Concepts were Incorporated the problem arises when the question comes of translating the ideals into realities so those principles operated but never acted upon in Pakistan specific about the constitution and instrumental you are constitutional law expert and have argued for the rights of minorities in court the specifically article 20 of Pakistan’s constitution in shrines what is referred to as religious freedom and it allows for the right to profess your faith what do you believe that that provision adequately insurance religious freedom in 1973 years my friend said like all of the constitution’s the 1956 constitution was a compromise between two national groups or B2B wondering is Pakistan the other living in Pakistan respective of the 5th to which they belong but the 1973 constitution is directly a constitution which enters into some kind of a compromise on the issue of faith itselfstate it would not be a terrible see it will not be attending state where Bill and they stayed will have anything to do with the with the Fate of an individual but the 1973 constitution begins with the question fit it declare the state to have it and then the religion of the character which is determined and the constitution peeing themselves who will determine what kind of faith did Estate has what day does a Muslim state and Islamic state what kind of Islam so there is a body of people created who will determine what kind of Islam shall prevail and there is a statement or judgement in fact will be will be binding on the people will be to buy department at 7 so that’s the one thing then you fix there cannot be a democratic state where you say the presidential belong to one fit  Or the Prime Minister shall only be a Muslim it is not democratic because the violation of the democratic rights of equality of all people living in the society it is patent and these provisions so you begin with saying you cannot have a president who is not Muslim and who is the Muslim then you have to define and then will give start getting definitions of Muslims and non-muslims and the result is that you are marginalising all those people whose equality you where are you are promising elsewhere in the constitution or use get positive as promise by the card Azam on the 11th of August and Article 20 there are also several other articles that do speak about minority rights that you speak about equality and specifically we know article 25 winner article 36 of Pakistan’s 1973 constitute do you think that the constitution does provisions do track are consistent with the original vision that Mr Jahan I don’t think they’ll come to mention but I had missing my observations in very precisely that the constitution to start with was impregnated with the violation of the principles of the housing provider straight and then you provide an Islamic ideology council and then you try to specify certain officers I think rightly pointed out when you say that a person would belong to work as an office will go to the person belonging to a particular outside you necessarily have to define defect and that is where the whole trouble started if if there was no requirement of constitution that president that is one thing with that but what I’m trying to say that all the provisions of the constitution article 2227 3536 United article 36 incidentally is only a deal with the principles of policy the policy will have to be implemented by the state and many of the policies of the down and have not been implemented by the state at all but I think the test game when they question of electric came in when the question of electric comes then the minority status is recognised or five stared or given or not given to a particular group of people so when you start the start with the election lot when it comes to the participatory process of the Citizens of Pakistan and that’s it doesn’t mind you I I believe and work either doesn’t believe citizenship indivisible you cannot drive to 22 so when the question of electric comes when the question of representation participation of the Society in the lawmaking process or in the administration of the country come it is there that the minority really surgery in distillation of the his constitutional history unfortunately that all the time we have for this program but I’d like to thank our panelist for joining us our special series continues and join us for next week’s program in which we take a closer look at this question of religion and whether a state Pakistani state in particular can define who is or is not a Muslim for purposes of the law again we think our panelists and we look forward to seeing you next program thank you very muchdad jeans

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