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2005 CLC 678

Per Syed Shabbar Raza Rizvi, J.

(a) Constitution of Pakistan, 1973 Article 20

I am also guided by the provision of Article 20 of the Constitution which gives right to every citizen to profess, practise or propagate his religion. It further provides that every religious denomination and every sect thereof shall have the right to establish, maintain and manage its religious institutions, Church is a religious institution, construction of which according to the provision of Article 20 (ibid) is a right of Christian citizens of Pakistan.

Islam is a religion of tolerance and learning. Non-Muslims are free to profess and practice their religion and for the same, are free to establish, maintain and manage their religious institutions i.e. a Church. The late Chief Justice of Pakistan Muhammad Munir, CJ. observed, “in the light of these rules of construction of Constitutional instruments it seems to me that what Article 18 (1956 Constitution) means is that every citizen has the right to profess, practice and propagate his religion and every sect of religious denomination has the right to establish, maintain and manage its religious institutions”.

At this juncture, I am reminded of speech of our beloved Quaid Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who delivered the same on 11-8-1947 in the Constituent Assembly whereby, he announced that every citizen of Pakistan would be free in the State of Pakistan to believe and to profess whatever religion he belongs to. Each and every citizen of this State is allowed to go to mosque, temple or any other place of worship of his own religion. The vision of late Quaid was to make Pakistan as society where citizens of Pakistan are not divided on the basis of religion, provincialism, sect, language and ethnicity etc. [p. 679]A & B

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