Of Law, Honour and Islam

Over the past few years, we have seen many many despicable things in our country, our society.

It makes one wonder, rather believe in the non-existence of any law and order in the country. What\’s even more surprising, is that in our \”Islamic\” republic of Pakistan, we see an absolute state of digression towards some of the core fundamentals of Islam itself.

The government has a body called \”Council of Islamic Ideology\” that is allegedly in charge of making sure that the legal framework of the country are Shariah compliant.

The fact that no government does anything about \”honour killings\” is surprising. In the presence of a legal framework and an \”independent\” judiciary, what gives us as people the right to administer justice at our will? No citizen of the state, however influential, has any authority to dispense law in the presence of an existing legal framework. If they have a dispute, they can either leave the state, or initiate official proceedings against the existing process and engage the decision makers. Mob justice and blank protests don\’t really work.

Drawing from my statement above, the honour is not just a personal matter. It extends to our religion as well. The fact that our courts take no action against people who kill others in the name of religion is equally depictive of the spinelessness of the state\’s legal machinery. Over the years the so called \”Islamic Laws\” have seen many people being killed unilaterally by others, at their whim an fancy, claiming defamation of Islam, or blasphemy. We all know for a fact that the looseness of this framework means that many can and will continue to take advantage of this legal loophole to their personal advantage.

Last month, several Ahmadis were killed because of their belief in a despicable act of brutality and disgrace to our so called \”Islamic\” rule of law. What was their crime? They chose to differ in their beliefs. So? many do. The Ismailis, Bohras etc as well have differing beliefs. If our very own Jaahil online, Amir Liaquat Hussain was to be believed, even Shia\’a muslims deserve to be killed.

The fundamental question here is, who are we to decide or choose who lives or dies? As muslims, we believe that everything happens with the will of the Supreme Creator. If those who disbelieve live, it is because of His will. The Quaid e Azam in his speech after independence said that the citizens of the state are now free to go to their prayers of worship freely. They have equal rights in the state. The right to travel, the right to employment, the right to prayer and the right to security.

Where is this security? Uninformed sources say that the government knew of the attacks on Ahmadis over a month before the incident happened. But what did they do? What have they ever done? Our beloved Rehman Malik loves to say \”we had prior knowledge\”. So what exactly were you, dear minister, were you and your law enforcement units doing? Why was no action taken?

Oh I remember! they were protecting our VIPS! The same people that we elect, the same people who are our slaves and servants, are protected and guarded against us.

Last week, a noted civil activist Samar Khan was arrested outside the residence of another celebrity, Zulfiqar Mirza, the interior minister for Sindh. His crime was insanely huge. Samar Khan chose to knock at Zufiqar Mirza\’s door and protest the incessant road blocks he causes.

Mr. Samar Khan was put behind bars at Darakhshan Police Station and after spending the night there, he was taken to court the next morning. No charges had so far been pressed against him. He had been taken to court with a black cloth over his head. As if he had committed an offence. Only difference is, that he hadn\’t. The judge was not available on that day, and so he had to spend another night behind bars.

At this point, another question arises. What has the so called independent judiciary done to provide relief to those in prison waiting for justice? It seems to be a norm in Pakistan for lawyers to delay hearings again and again, on one pretext or another, and often health reasons are cited. The honourable courts should take note of the multitude of case deferral requests on health grounds by the lawyers and institute some sort of physical fitness system. If they aren\’t fit to practice, how can they come to office? Also, maybe some sort of check on how many simultaneous cases a lawyer can handle. Possibly also a limit on the number of deferral requests that can be placed against a single case.

Constitutional hearings take place within days and judgments are pronounced within months at most. The facebook case was presented in court and a ban was ordered with immediate effect. Is this not a violation of Islamic principles? \”important\” cases are attended to immediately while hundreds of thousands of people languish in prisons choked to capacity, many being treated as criminals despite the fact that no charges have been proven against them.

When cases against \”important\” people are proven and they are charged, a presidential pardon is issued. Why? Did the courts not see evidence before issuing a punishment? How many other people has the president granted pardon? how many innocent people have knowingly been wronged without even seeing a courtroom? In Islam, everyone is equal in the eyes of the law. Regardless of position. I believe that even the president should not have immunity. If charges have been proven against him, he / she should have to step down and face the punishment.

Our so called elected members of parliament have fake degrees that they filed with the election commission. If these degrees are proven to be fake, their election was void ab initio. This means that the election result for that constituency was void to start off with. In addition, these persons should be charged with defrauding the state.

For those pro-democrats that believe that everyone should have the right to contest elections, id like to add that just like most white collar jobs require the fulfillment of certain academic criteria, the position of a law maker, a member of parliament, should also require an ability to understand and interpret law, and have a grasp on matters affecting the state, both internally and externally. Having a bachelor\’s degree does not give people that capacity, but it filters out those that may be better equipped to do the same.

Fraud of any sort, is disallowed in Islam. If the conditions say you need to be graduate to participate in the elections, then you need to be a graduate. If you disagree, use your graduation degree, get elected and then discuss it on the floor of the parliament. Using a fake degree to get in and using the office of the state is a theft of capacity, authority and ultimately fraud.

These days people carry on their private armed mercenaries who threaten the normal citizens, and yet go scot free, violating explicitly announced state laws. All they need is a party flag on their cars.

It looks like the entire \”Islamic\” part of the official name of the country is busy tackling non issues. Facebook was a non-issue. No muslim of strong faith will go to the internet and search for drawings and caricatures of blasphemous nature. Instead, we will go out and preach the world the way of the Prophet (Peace be upon Him). Drawing images does not threaten our faith, it does not weaken our love for the Prophet. It only tells us that someone out there needs to be educated and guided.

The so called hudood ordinance places the burden of proof for rape on the victim. How on earth is that possible? Can someone in their right mind even make sense of this statement?

If she can\’t prove herself as innocent, she is declared to be an adulteress and punished accordingly. But with whom? certainly she can\’t commit adultery single handedly? Someone else was involved. How about punishing the other person too?

What has our \”Islamic\” system done about the matters highlighted above? Nothing at all.

Did our government issue an official condemnation of the attacks on Ahmadis?

Has our government and its religious departments so far come up and declared these suicide attacks and sectarian violence in the country as unislamic?

Has the state managed to get a condemnation from all schools of thought for the killings of so many non muslims in the country on the grounds of religion?

Last, but not the least, when will the state stop interfering in the lives of its citizens in the name of religion? The state has no business interfering in our lives. It has many many issues to resolve.