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Proceedings on 5 August 1974, Session 2

(session starts after break)

Malik Muhammad Ja'far: Sir, there will be a general discussion (debate) at the end of this examination or deposition. For this, it is necessary to prepare copies of this statement so that we can study them.

Chairman: I am making arrangements for it.

Sardar Mola Baksh Soomro: We should get a copy when it is ready.

Chairman: All peripheral and additional questions should be given to Aziz Bhatti and Zafar Ahmad Ansari so that the Attorney Sahib is not distracted when asking questions. Attorney Sahib can ask them later.

Sahibzada Safi-Ullah: Respected Sir, we should get copies of the entire proceedings so that members can correct them.

Chairman: You will be provided. It is a distinctive right of (Assembly) members. Call in the delegation.

Professor Ghafoor Ahmad: What are the timings of the sessions?

Chairman: We will be in session until 1:30 in the afternoon. From 10:30 to 11:30 in the mornings, then from 12:30 to 1:30, then in the evening from 6:00 to 7:15 and then from 8:00 to 9:00 or 9:30

(delegation enters the hall)

Attorney-General: A young man falsely enters a wrong declaration of his religion; can the principal of the college interfere in this, or not?

Mirza Nasir: See . . . the principal should not interfere.

Attorney-General: So, it does not matter that a Muslim should take away a seat reserved for a Christian minority student by lying and falsely giving a wrong declaration?

Mirza Nasir: Yes, there is nothing wrong with it. It is a matter for the college, you cannot apply it to the other issue.

Attorney-General: Not only the college; this matter can end up before the courts – that the principal did not stop it. He whose right has been taken away, can enter a writ petition before the courts saying, “such person prevaricated and with lies, took away my right.” Can the courts interfere?

Mirza Nasir: If a person makes false statements about religion, why should the courts interfere?

Attorney-General: So, one can continue to eat away people's rights and the Assembly or Judiciary should not uphold the law?

Mirza Nasir: A person calls himself a Muslim.

Attorney-General: But he rejects Zakah (Zakat – financial contribution incumbent on Muslims) but calls himself a Muslim.

Mirza Nasir: How is that possible?

Attorney-General: Just as those who forbade Zakah did in the time of Siddeeq Akbar (Abu Bakr, first successor of Muhammad (saw))?

Mirza Nasir: He is not a Muslim. One who rejects any one of the five components of Islam is not a Muslim.

Attorney-General: Who pushed him out of Islam?

Mirza Nasir: He himself went out.

Attorney-General: A person calls himself a Muslim and yet does not believe in the fundamental beliefs of Islam – what about him?

Mirza Nasir: How can he then call himself a Muslim?

Attorney-General: But despite that, he does say so.

Mirza Nasir: He cannot say so.

Attorney-General: A person rejects some verses of the Noble Qur'an but says he is a Muslim?

Mirza Nasir: How can you call him a Muslim. He is rejecting the Qur'an and does not believe in the Qur'an. See, though I have such high regard for this House that I cannot find words to describe it, but I find the courage to say, “please do not give so many examples, we will never reach a conclusion.”

Attorney-General: I also say, out of respect to the House and out of the imperative of my duty that, “See, if he rejects any one of the components of Islam, whether by deed or word, and calls himself a Muslim, then?”

Mirza Nasir: Just as we call a Muslim he who accepts the components of Islam, we will have to say that he who rejects any one of them is a non-Muslim.

Attorney-General: In other words, it is your right to call someone a non-Muslim despite the fact that he calls himself a Muslim.

Mirza Nasir: My point is that he is announcing himself that he is not a Muslim.

Attorney-General: And if he does not announce?

Mirza Nasir: He is announcing by his actions.

Attorney-General: In other words, he became a Kafir (disbeliever) himself.

Mirza Nasir: Yes, certainly.

Attorney-General: If I just say, “a person rejects one of the essentials of Islam.” Can you call him a Muslim?

Mirza Nasir: He is a kafir but we should not interfere.

Attorney-General: An Israeli Jewish spy gives a declaration of falsely being a Muslim and arrives in Saudia from Belgium and enters the Holy Places. Does the Saudi government have the right to arrest him or not?

Mirza Nasir: He is a spy, and that is why he will be arrested; not because he is a non-Muslim.

Attorney-General: In other words, he could not be arrested on the false declaration.

Mirza Nasir: He will be arrested; why did he give a false declaration.

Attorney-General: Thank you very much. But as to whether the declaration is wrong or right, which authority will distinguish and differentiate that?

Mirza Nasir: About the declaration or the religion.

Attorney-General: Declaration, in which the name of the religion was used in a wrong way – being a non-Muslim, he was making himself be known as a Muslim. The declaration contains a falsehood. Does some authority have a right to prosecute this falsehood?

Mirza Nasir: Yes.

Attorney-General: A person who is a Jew or a Christian goes to Saudi Arabia. He knows that no one but a Muslim can go to Mecca or Medina. He has a desire to visit those places and he goes there by giving a false declaration. When he is caught and arrested, and he then says, “sir, there is religious freedom, do not interfere in what I said,” -- will this excuse and defence be acceptable?

Mirza Nasir: We will have to look at his intention.

Attorney-General: How about on the outside?

Mirza Nasir: He is guilty.

Attorney-General: Thank you. If a person makes himself known as a Muslim while being a Jew, he is guilty because he gave a wrong declaration. Now, he cannot say that his freedom has been taken away, can he?

Mirza Nasir: No, he cannot say so.

Attorney-General: Can an authority or court intervene?

Mirza Nasir: Yes, it can.

Attorney-General: See, just like religious freedom, every citizen has a right, under Article 18 of the Constitution, to trade. Trade, business – every person is allowed, is he not?

Mirza Nasir: Yes, it is allowed.

Attorney-General: But is it an absolute permission, or are there limitations and conditions?

Mirza Nasir: It is absolute.

Attorney-General: Opium, smuggling etc. - everything is allowed. So, anyone who engages in this activity can say, “it is trade, and the freedom of trade is a fundamental right?”

Mirza Nasir: No, these activities are not allowed.

Attorney-General: So, if someone makes a law with these restrictions on trade in mind -- every citizen will have a right to adopt a legal profession or line of work, or engage in some rightful trade or business – is this Article 18?

Mirza Nasir: Conditions and restrictions will be there

Attorney-General: So, basic rights are conditional on restrictions. There are some restrictions; the rights are not absolute, are they?

Mirza Nasir: No, they are not.

Attorney-General: Every person cannot practice medicine or law. Although these are professions but there are conditions attached, right?

Mirza Nasir: Do not get entangled in these minor issues, move on.

Attorney-General: Business is allowed, like the sop that Lever Brothers make. If I name my company Lever Brothers, print the same labels, adopt the same colour for the soap I manufacture – then, won't Lever Brothers object? If they do, do they have recourse to a competent authority or to a court?

Mirza Nasir: They have, and they should go to it.

Attorney-General: Pursuant to testimony, the court can stop me; put restrictions on me; force me to change the name of my firm and change my labels. There is freedom of trade, but with limitations, isn't it so?

Mirza Nasir: You have started down a wrong, narrow and muddy road.

Attorney-General: I am coming back to the right path.

Mirza Nasir: But I am a straight person, and these examples are irrelevant.

Chairman: This is the job of the Commission or the Chair that they deem examples to be irrelevant or relevant. You should just answer the questions.

Mirza Nasir: But if they are irrelevant?

Chairman: Leave that to us. If they are irrelevant, we will stop the attorney.

Attorney-General: So, conditions and restrictions placed on business by the government are legal and incumbent, are they not?

Mirza Nasir: The government's restriction will be incumbent. It is necessary to obey the government.

Attorney-General: According to you, is it necessary to obey every government, even if a government issues a directive against the teachings of Islam?

Mirza Nasir: How can it do that?

Attorney-General: It says, “do not slaughter cows.”

Mirza Nasir: Then, slaughter a sheep instead of a cow.

Attorney-General: But can a butcher, whose profession it was, say, “it affects my freedom of practicing my profession?”

Mirza Nasir: He should sell goats' meet too.

Attorney-General: So, in other words, he should even accept this directive of the government?

Mirza Nasir: I am an ignorant person, I do not understand your argument.

Attorney-General: Everyone is OK, whatever state they may be in.

Mirza Nasir: Do not clash; we do not have a clash with anyone.

Attorney-General: Not with any government, or with any Muslim?

Mirza Nasir: This, again, is another issue.

Attorney-General: How many times can a man marry? Four; but America does not allow that. So, in other words, will religious freedom will be subservient to their laws?

Mirza Nasir: If he does marry, then?

Attorney-General: There will be a case in the courts. He will plead that he did so because of religious freedom. The court will send him to jail for five or seven years, saying, “you have corrupted society by your offence of polygamy.”

Mirza Nasir: And then?

Attorney-General: In jail! (Laughter) We do not allow this degree of religious freedom; then, should the government interfere?

Mirza Nasir: How can you give this example?

Attorney-General: It used to happen.

Mirza Nasir: It is according to the traditions of religions.

Attorney-General: Among Hindus, their religion is all traditions. For example, a Hindu woman in Tharparkar [a town of Pakistan] that, “I want to perform Sati with my husband. [Hindu tradition of burning the widow alive with the cremation of the husband] I want to burn and die with him.” Should the practice of such a tradition be allowed?

Mirza Nasir: I do not know the law of Sati.

Attorney-General: They [Hindus] were practicing it. These were the traditions of their religion.

Mirza Nasir: You should give an example from Islam.

Attorney-General: My question was a hypothetical.

Mirza Nasir: Your hypothetical example then takes you far away.

Attorney-General: I will like to ask another question. You said that one can adopt any religion. Only adoption? Or, can one start a new religion, as there is freedom to create new religions?

Mirza Nasir: Yes, of course; this is the universal constitution of human rights; but they have adopted universal disorder as a religion.

Attorney-General: So, in other words, there should be permission to create a new sect or a new religion?

Mirza Nasir: There should be.

Attorney-General: For example, take the hippies. If they insist on a certain look – the look that you see them in – and say, “every person will live naked because he is born naked; he is born of his mother so he can marry his mother; the mother has many children and some can marry others”. Then, if they add, “human sacrifice is allowed for humanity.” Is it all right to kill a human for humanity?

Mirza Nasir: Is there such a problem in Pakistan?

Attorney-General: Assume that they say we are Christians – can a Christian government then interfere with them?

Mirza Nasir: Under morality, yes.

Attorney-General: So, you admit that restrictions can be placed under the requirements of morality?

Mirza Nasir: Yes, I admit it, under the implementation of morality.

Attorney-General: So, conditional on morality and conditional on public peace?

Mirza Nasir: Yes.

Attorney-General: So, religious freedom can be restricted?

Mirza Nasir: Yes, it can, but such restriction should be implemented after much thought.

Attorney-General: And what should then be the standard of such restrictions?

Mirza Nasir: With the competent authority.

Attorney-General: Every person can enjoy religious freedom until they impact others or deprive others of their rights?

Mirza Nasir: Yes.

Attorney-General: Thank you. Now let us see – the Constitution of Pakistan says, “Islamic [Democratic] Republic of Pakistan”. In its preamble, it says, “Wherein the Muslims shall be enabled to order their lives in the individual and collective spheres in accordance with the teachings and requirements of Islam as set out in the Holy Quran and Sunnah” . . . . . . .

Mirza Nasir: All sects of Muslims.

Attorney-General: All sects. Do not hastily jump into what I am saying.

Mirza Nasir: All Muslims. Do not exclude any one.

Attorney-General: I am not doing that just yet, do not worry. After the phrase, “live their lives according to the Quran and Sunnah”, it is obligatory for the legislature to legislate on religious issues, is it not?

Mirza Nasir: Do not make it a principle, otherwise you will take the argument somewhere else.

Attorney-General: I am just saying that since the Legislature has to make laws with the goal that Muslims can live their lives according to the instructions of Islam is it a right or not, of such law-making?

Mirza Nasir: It is their right. They have the right to make laws. I completely acknowledge that.

Attorney-General: With extreme respect, it is now my request to you – Article 2 says that Islam will be the state religion of Pakistan – what does that mean?

Mirza Nasir: The religion of the Government will be Islam.

Attorney-General: Absolutely correct. That the politics of government is responsible for the welfare of religion.

Mirza Nasir: Then, the rest of the people . . . .

Attorney-General: Regards for the rights of all. As in America, everyone's rights are respected but America has no official religion, whereas Pakistan's official religion is Islam?

Mirza Nasir: Official religion, but with justice to others.

Attorney-General: Complete justice accorded. Articles 41 and 91 say that the President and Prime Minister shall be Muslim?

Mirza Nasir: This is not basic.

Attorney-General: It is a part of the Constitution. It is compulsory – not an instruction – but it is in force.

Mirza Nasir: Yes, it is part of it and it is in force as a matter of principle and policy, yes.

Attorney-General: Now a very popular person who is not a Muslim, wants to run for this office by submitting a declaration that he is a Muslim. Can anyone object to it?

Mirza Nasir: Such a person cannot be important and grand, and neither God-fearing and pious – by giving a false declaration, a despicable declaration.

Attorney-General: Assume that being a non-Muslim, he gives a declaration of being a Muslim. Then what?

Mirza Nasir: In this situation, the government should go to court.

Attorney-General: Or to the Election Commissioner?

Mirza Nasir: Whichever authority. You tell me who do you need to take nomination papers to?

Attorney-General: You have taken an oath that you will give the right answers . . .

Chairman: The delegation can leave. Please come back at 6 p.m.

(Delegation departs)

Maulana Shah Ahmad Noorani: He does not, at all, give clear answers to the Attorney-General's questions. I think you should bind him to give complete answers.

Chairman:You should talk to the Attorney-General about this.

Maulana Shah Ahmad Noorani: It is your prerogative [to get answers]. He [Mirza Nasir] brushes aside the issues and veers away.

Chairman:That is his strategy.

Maulana Shah Ahmad Noorani: Very well.

Attorney-General: I will bring him tback o the answers to the questions.

Chairman: Rest assured.

Maulana Ghulam Ghaus Hazarvi: It is a fact that he understands the question but he gives a mixed-up answer.

Chairman: The House is adjourned until 6 p.m.

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