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August 27th, 2009

Should a person’s religion be any business of the state?

Our contributor Usman has referred us to the this column of The Dawn, Karachi

The article is primarily about the requirement by a Housing Scheme to declare one’s religion in its application forms, which the writer calls discriminatory and a violation of fundamental rights. Towards the end, the following is worth reading:

“The state of Pakistan is intrusive when it comes to matters of religion. Why? Are we not supposed to all be equal citizens with equal rights as decreed by Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the man who founded and made the country? According to the original constitution as promulgated at noon on Aug 14, 1973 by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, we were equal citizens of the state, with equal rights. But this equality was done away with in 1974 by Bhutto’s second amendment to his constitution, bending to the obscurantists and bigots, and an entire community was shorn of its rights and declared a minority.

Prior to this, in 1979 the same community was targeted by Ziaul Haq, general of the army and president of the republic, pious and God-fearing. He had decreed that all citizens, regardless of their religion, wishing to obtain a passport must sign a declaration that it is his/her belief that the Prophet of Islam is the final prophet and that any pretender that follows him is false.”

by Ardeshir Cowasjee, printed in the Daily Dawn on 23 Aug, 2009.

6 Responses to “Should a person’s religion be any business of the state?”

  1. August 28th, 2009 at 8:00 pm
    From Rashid Jahangiri:

    After reading the column on August 23, 09 I sent the following email to A. Cowasjee. He replied on August 27, 09.
    Respected Cowasjee sahib,
    Aslam Alikum
    I read your column ‘Not the Business of the state’. Just want to share some thing with you.
    When Z.A.Bhutto was on trial he was accused of being a “Muslim in name only”. This accusation was levelled by the Lahore High Court Judgment against him of March 1978. Bhutto was very bitter about this, as he has himself stated in his book “If I am assasssinated” which you can download easily from the website:
    I have the following reference from the time when he appealed against his death sentence to the Supreme Court:

    “He [Bhutto] said that it was an acknowledged principle that the person who recites the Kalima is a Muslim, and no one has the right to call him a non-Muslim. Citing an instance, chairman [of the People’s Party] Bhutto said that Abu Sufyan, a great enemy of the Holy Prophet, was brought to him. He claimed to have recited the Kalima, but the Holy Prophet’s Companions argued that he had not done it with his heart, and they wanted to kill him. But the Holy Prophet said that as he had recited the Kalima, he was now a Muslim, and could not be harmed.”
    (Urdu Daily Masawat, Lahore, Wednesday 20 December 1978, front page, column 1)
    He said this in reply to the accusation that he was “a Muslim in name only”. So before the end of his life Bhutto discovered the true definition of a Muslim and himself presented it in court.
    Keep up the Jihad of telling Pakistanis to be fair in their decisions.
    Cowasjee’s reply:

    Thank you for your message and for the information on ZAB.
    Interesting – in view of his parentage.
    Keep well and be a good doctor in SF.
    NOTE: Urdu Daily Masawat reference was provided to me by Dr. Zahid Aziz sahib.

  2. August 29th, 2009 at 10:10 pm
    From Rashid Jahangiri:

    Ahmadiyya Movement mentioned in Bhutto’s books.
    1-In book ‘If I am Assassinated’ by Z. A. Bhutto, he has repeatedly given impression that Mr. A.Z. Faruqui son of Mr. M. A Faruqui (who was Maulana Muhammad Ali sahib’s wife’s brother), who was Secretary of the Election Commission in 1977, was biased against ZAB. And ZAB gives impression as if A.Z. Faruqui took revenge of 2nd constitutional amendment that declared LAM members Kafir. Some of pages on which A. Z. Faruqui is mentioned are 63, 65, 66, 74, 79, 116, 235, and 237. Mr. N. A. Faruqui (also Maulana Muhammad Ali sahib’s wife’s brother) is mentioned on pages 116 and 235. There is also mention of relation between Mr. N.A. Faruqui and Masood Mahmud (the former director of FSF).
    It will be informative if people who have been close to Mr. A.Z.Faruqui, and Mr. N.A.Faruqui know their side of story or answer to ZAB allegations?
    2- In book ‘Bhutto Ke Akhari 323 Din’ (Bhutto’s Last 323 Days) by Col. Rafi Ud Din; on page ZAB talked about Qadiani Jamaat on page 67.
    Both books are available online:

  3. September 9th, 2009 at 11:39 am
    From Rashid Jahangiri:

    Altaf Hussain, leader of MQM on Ahmadis:

    He made quite a bold statements in Express News program Point Blank with Mubashir Luqman.

    Please watch from 18 minutes onwards.

    At 17 mins 37 secs he starts discussing minorities.
    At 18 mins 20 secs he starts talking about Ahmadis for about 6 minutes.

  4. 1. If a state can determine one’s religion then (Allah forbid) Muhammad PBUH was already a Kafir according to the government of Makkah at that time.

    2. For those of us who can read Urdu here is a take-II of the reaction to what Altaf Hussain said:

    If anyone can identify the characters in this link, please post their resumes, academic accomplishments and as to how they earn their halal livelihood.  The list is quite impressive: there is mention of 13 Maulanas , 2 Doctors (of what?) and a Hafiz.

  5. September 20th, 2009 at 7:14 am

    Thank you Rashid Jahangiri sahib and Ikram sahib. Please give the link of Altaf Hussain’s reply after mullas yaum-i ihtejaj if you can.

  6. @Sabahat Ahmed
    If you have come across Altaf Hussain’s reply after mullas yaum-i ihtejaj, then please post it. I am not aware of any such yaum-i ihtejaj and AH reply.