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Supreme Court of Paksitan

Pakistan SC Seeking Secularism to End Sectarianism

The Supreme Court (SC) has observed that the Objectives Resolution was not a part of the Constitution and “its inclusion by a military dictator sparked sectarianism in the country”, The Muslim Times reports. Hearing petitions against 18th and 21st constitutional amendments on Wednesday, a 17-judge full court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Nasirul Mulk, sought federation’s counsel’s assistance over the matter.

During the hearing, Justice Qazi Faiz Essa remarked that Article 227 states that all existing laws shall be brought in conformity with the injunctions of Islam, as laid down in the Holy Quran and Sunnah. “The explanation states that in the application of this clause to the personal law of any Muslim sect, the expression “Quran and Sunnah” means the Quran and Sunnah as interpreted by that particular sect,” Justice Essa maintained, adding that this explanation was added in 1985 and “if the government wanted to abolish sectarianism, it would have to go back to the original Constitution”.

“So, do you want to abolish sectarianism from Islam or not?” Making his side of the case, federation’s counsel Khalid Anwar told the bench that sectarianism was not an issue before 1985 and no one could annul the Constitution. Referring to Article 2-A of the Constitution, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa said that if they accept the features given by the Objective Resolution, it might lead to the destruction of other constitutional provisions.

Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan also questioned how the Parliament could suspend people’s fundamental rights which were guaranteed by the Constitution. Maintaining that the basic structure of the Constitution was “permanent and fixed”, Anwar said the 1973 Constitution was a political document and the lawyers had only drafted it, therefore, they could not get supremacy over the politicians who founded the country.

“Judiciary could not be superior… Constitution could only be based on democracy.” On this point, Justice Jawwad S Khawja asked Anwar about the base of the Constitution if Parliament replaced democracy with monarchy through legislations. Adjourning hearing till Thursday, the apex court ordered Khalid Anwar to continue argument

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