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SC Suo moto actions regarding suicide bomb attack on the Church in Peshawar and regarding threats being given to Kalash tribe and Ismailies in Chitral

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF PAKISTAN

(ORIGINAL JURISDICTION)

PRESENT:

MR. JUSTICE TASSADUQ HUSSAIN JILLANI, HCJ

MR. JUSTICE SH. AZMAT SAEED

MR. JUSTICE MUSHIR ALAM

 

S.M.C. NO. 1 OF 2014 AND C.M.A. NOs. 217-K/2014 IN S.M.C. NO.  1/2014,  H.R.C.  NO.  29960-P/2012,  C.M.A.  NO.  110-K/2014  IN  C.M.A.  NO.  737/2014,  C.M.A.  NO.  120-K/2014  IN C.M.A. NO. 737/2014, C.M.A. NO. 1388-K/2014 IN C.M.A. NO. 737/2014,  C.M.A.  NO.  139-K/2014  IN  C.M.A.  NO.  737/2014, C.M.A.  NO.  142-K/2014  IN  C.M.A.  NO.  737/2014,  CRIMINAL M.A. NO. 322/2014 IN CRIMINAL ORIGINAL PETITION NO. 17-L/2013 & CONSTITUTION PETITION NO. 98/2011

(Suo moto actions regarding suicide bomb attack of 222.9.2013 on the Church in Peshawar and regarding threats being given to Kalash tribe and Ismailies in Chitral)

 

In Attendance:                             Mr. Salman Aslam Butt, Attorney General

Kh.  Saeed  uz  Zafar,  Addl.  Attorney General

Mr. Sajid Ilyas Bhatti, DAG

Mr. Sohail Mehmood, DAG

Mr.  Razzaq  A.  Mirza,  Addl.  Advocate General, Punjab

Mr. Zahid Yousaf, Addl. A.G. KPK

Mr. Ayaz Swati, Addl. A.G Balochistan

Mr.  Muhammad  Farid  Dogar,  AAG Balochistan

Mr.  Muhammad  Kassim  Mirjat,  Addl. Advocate General, Sindh

Mr. Ali Sher Jakhrani, AIG Legal, Sindh Rev.  Shahid  P.  Mehraj,  Dean  of  Lahore cathedral

Mr.  Zulfiqar  Ahmed  Bhutta,  ASC  (for  Mr. J. Salik, ex-MNA)

Dr. Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, Chairman, Pakistan Hindu Council

Mr. Saleem Micheal, Justice Helpline

Mr.  Nadeem  A.  Sheikh,  Advocate,  Justice Helpline

Mr. Gabrial Francis Khan, ASC

Date of Hearing:    19.06.2014

 JUDGMENT

 TASSADUQ HUSSAIN JILLANI, CJ.- 

 “All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety (taqwa) and good action.1”

   These suo moto proceedings under Article 184(3) of the Constitution  of  Islamic  Republic  of  Pakistan were  initiated  on  a letter  received  from  the  Justice  Helpline,  an  NGO, regarding an attack on a Church in Peshawar in which 81 persons died (subject matter  of  FIR  No.  728  dated  22.9.2013  under  Sections 302/324/427  PPC,  3/4 of  the  Explosive  Substances  Act  and Section  7  of  the  Anti  Terrorism  Act  at  Police  Station  Khan  Raziq Shaheed  (Kabuli),  Peshawar).  Complaints  were  also  received  from adherents of Hindu faith and it was prayed that the Court should direct  the  authorities  to  take  remedial  measures  so  that their places  of  worship  are  protected. On  20.2.2014 there was a  news item  and  article  published  in  Daily  Dawn wherein  it  was  averred that the Kalash tribe and Ismailies in Chitral were being coerced to convert to a different sect within Islam or to face death. The Court considered  all  such  incidents  to  be  violative  of  the Fundamental Rights  guaranteed  to  these  citizens as  also  of  the  Principles  of Policy enshrined in the Constitution. It considered it imperative to find out the causes which lead to such incidents with a view to lay down  guidelines  for  effective enforcement  of  the Fundamental Rights guaranteed to the people. Notices were issued to the learned Attorney General for Pakistan and all the four Advocate Generals. The  learned  Attorney  General  for  Pakistan  pursuant  to  the direction  of  this  Court  placed  on  record  the  names  of  different.
[1The Last Sermon (Khutbah) of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) (Farewell Sermon)]

minority  community  organizations  and  the  persons  who  were heading  those  so  that  their  points of  view  could  be  heard  before passing any final order. Those are:-

Name and Designation

Address

Telephone Nos.

 

 

CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY / PROTESTANTS / CHURCH OF PAKISTAN

 

Rev. Bishop Irfan Jamil

Bishop of Lahore, Church of

Pakistan

Bishop  House

Cathedral  Close,  the

mall, Lahore

0333-4756730

 

Mr.  Shahid  Miraj,  PS  to

Bishop of Lahore, Church of

Pakistan

Bishop  House

Cathedral  Close,  the

mall, Lahore

0300-8433287
 

CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY / CATHOLICS

 

Arch  Bishop  Subastain

Francis Shaw

Archbishop of Lahore

1-Lawrence  Road,

Lahore

0307-2346072

 

Mr.  Tariq  Inayat,  PS  to

Archbishop of Lahore

1-Lawrence  Road,

Lahore

0333-4285290

 

 

HINDU COMMUNITY

 

Dr.  Ramesh  Kumar

Vankwani, MNA

Patron  Inchief,

Pakistan  Hindu

Council.

0333-2277370

 

 

SIKH COMMUNITY

 

Pakistan  Sikh  Gurdwara

Parbandhak  Committee,

being reconstituted

Mr.  Junaid  Ahmad,

Secretary,  Evacuee

Trust  Property  Board,

Lahore.

042-99211035

0300-4661285

2.    During  the  course  of  proceedings, some  of  the issues brought before the Court were broadly as follows:-

 i)  the allegation that Hindu girls were forcibly converted into  Islam  regarding  which  criminal  cases  were registered but there has been no progress;

 ii)  the  compensation  announced  by  the  Federal Government and Provincial Government for the victims of Church blast in Peshawar had not been disbursed;

iii)  the  allegation  that  Kalash  tribe  and  Ismailies  were facing threats to leave their sect or face death;

iv)  the complaint  regarding  Hindu  gymkhana  established in Karachi in 1926;

v)  the  complaint  regarding  Christian  Mission  School, Karachi, wherein the founder of this country Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah had his early education;

vi)  the complaint  regarding  the  desecration  of  historical Hindu Temple of Amrapur Asthaan;

vii)  the  complaint  of  Mr.  Ramesh  Kumar  Vankwani alleging  that  in  the  preceding  two  months  there have been  six  incidents  of  desecration  of  Hindu  Temples  / places of worship in the Province of Sindh alone;

viii)  the  complaint  regarding  non-registration  of  Hindu marriages  by  the  NADRA  and  Local  Council Authorities;

ix)  the  complaint  regarding  non-registration  of  marriages of Christians; and

x)  the complaint regarding the issue of Smadhi of Param Hans G. Maharaj.

3.    The Court heard at some length the representatives of the  Christians  and  Hindu  communities  as  also  learned  Attorney General and learned Advocate General of Sindh, Punjab and KPK. So far as the question of Hindu Gymkhana is concerned, the issue was  subject  matter  of  a  Constitution  Petition  No.  6/2009  before the High Court of Sindh and currently it is subject matter of Civil Appeal No. 16-K/2014.  The  said  issue,  therefore,  would  be  dealt with separately in that case. Regarding the desecration of Temples in  District  Larkana,  the  learned  Additional  Advocate  General confirmed that  cases  had  been  registered  against  the  miscreants under  the  relevant  provisions  of  Pakistan  Penal Code  and  the accused  shall  be  brought  to  justice. Mr.  Ali  Sher  Jakhrani,  AIG (Legal)  Sindh  has  filed  CMA  No.  2878/2004  wherein  the  detail  of the  cases  registered  in  this  regard has been  given,  which  is  as follows:-

 Chart is missing

4.    The  issue  of  non-registration of  Hindu  marriages  was resolved  by  NADRA  and  Mr.  Ramesh  Kumar  Vankwani  confirmed that  NADRA  had  started  issuing  registration  certificates  with regard to the Hindu marriages. So far as the allegation of forcible conversion  of  Hindu  girls  is  concerned,  although  criminal  cases were  registered  in  Punjab,  Sindh  and  Balochistan yet generally  it was found  that  most  of  the  girls  had  eloped  with  persons  of  their choice  and  married at their  own  free  will.  Nevertheless,  the  Court would not like to comment lest it may prejudice the case of either side as some of those cases are pending trial before the appropriate Courts. The  learned  Acting  Advocate  General,  Punjab,  submitted that in terms of the Christian Marriage Act, 1872, 150 Pastors and Bishops already stand registered in 20 Districts and any Christian marriage solemnized by a license holder under the afore-mentioned Act from the concerned Church / denomination is duly registered under  the  Punjab  Local  Government  Act  and  the  Rules  framed thereunder.  Regarding  the  question  of  non-payment  of compensation  announced  by  the  Prime  Minister,  the  learned Advocate  General,  KPK,  has  pointed  out  that  the  Provincial Government  had  already  disbursed  the  requisite  funds  to  the victims of bomb blasts. So far as the threats to Kalash minority by extremists  was  concerned,  the  Government  of  Khyber Pakhtunkhwa  took  effective  steps  and learned  Advocate  General KPK  has  placed  on  record  the  report  of  the  Commissioner, Malakand, which is to the said effect:-

“i.  The Commissioner Malakand in this connection visited District  Chitral  on  21st and  22nd February,  2014.  On 21st he went to Bumburet Valley of Kalash community by  road,  where  he  held  a  meeting  with  the  Kalash minority.  The  issue  was  personally  discussed  by  the Commissioner in present of the stakeholders at district level.  It  was  confirmed  that  the  threat  mentioned earlier by  the  TTP  is  not  new  and  in  this  regard  the video  referred  to  in  the  various  international newspapers and reflected in electronic media has not been  circulated  to  the  general  public  in  Chitral.  The Kalash  minority,  the  district  administration  and  the DPO Chitral expressed the opinion that the news story is  old  and  it  has  been  re-picked  by  some  sectios  of media for vested interests.

ii.  The  Commissioner  assured  the  Kalash  minority  that government  will  provide  security  to  them  and  it  was further communicated to them that a unit of Pak Army AK-42  regiment  is  already  deployed  in  the  area. Another  platoon  of  police  in  addition  to  the  already present  one  has  reached  the  Bumburet  valley.  Police station  Bumburet  has  a  strength  of  55  pesonnel  in addition  to  special  force  of  15  personnel  and  15 personnel  of  border  police  are  also  vigilantly performing duties in the area. The district police officer informed  that  Kalash  valley  has  its  border  with Nooristan  province  of  Afghanistan  but  the  area  is presently  inaccessible  and  snow  bound  totally  and right from Arandu to Lutkoh there are 16 check posts located. At these 16 check posts Pak Army  and other LEAs  are  regularly  patrolling  the  Pak-Afghan  border and  any incursion from Nooristan into Pak territory is almost  impossible.  However,  as  mentioned,  LEAs  at these 16 check posts are vigilant to counter any such attempt by the TTP.

iii.  The  representatives  of  Kalash  minority  expressed complete  satisfaction  over  the  response  of  the administration  and  they  were  satisfied  with  the security arrangements in the valley. They appreciated the visit of the Commissioner, the aim of which was to assess  the  ground  situation  and  have  a  direct interaction  with  the  Kalash  minority  and  share  their grievances.  The  Commissioner  also  attended  funeral of an elder of the Kalash community, who died on that very  day.  The  Kalash  minority  appreciated  the Commissioner  for  participating  in  the  funeral ceremony  of  their  elder.  On  this  occasion  the Commissioner allowed the community to perform their rituals according to their traditions and assured them that there will be no hindrance in the way.

iv.   On 22nd a meeting was held in the Governor’s cottage Chitral  with  the  Ismaili  community  in  presence  of  the district  administration.  A  direct  feedback  was obtained  from  the  community.  The  Ismaili  community of  Chitral  pointed  out  the  broadcasting  of  provocative speeches  from  a  local  FM  channel.  It  was  revealed that  the  FM  channel  is  a  religious  one  and  has  been allowed  by  the  PEMRA  under  the  law,  however  the owner  has  been  summoned  by  the  district administration.  He  has  been  warned  and  strictly directed  not  to  broadcast  live  discussions  and  only recorded  programs  will  be  allowed  for  broadcasting subject to the screening by the district administration. A timely action has been taken in order to prevent any communal problem in Chitral and to promote complete harmony amongst  the  different  sections  of  Muslim communities  and  minorities.  The  Commissioner directed  the  district  administration  to  monitor  the broadcasting of the FM channel and in case it violates the agreement with the district administration, PEMRA will  be  requested  for  cancellation  of  its  license accordingly.

v.   The  Ismaili  community  was  assured  that  the administration  is  fully  aware  of  the  situation  and the Commissioner  informed  them,  that  it  is  right  of  every citizen to be given protection by the state as enshrined in the constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the  government  will  leave  no  stone  unturned  for  the safety  and  security  of  the  Ismaili  community,  who have  contributed  for  the  development  of  not  only Chitral  but  for  the  entire  country.  The  Commissioner appreciated  the  role played  by  the Ismaili community in  progress  and  development  of  the  country, particularly  Chitral  and  Northern  areas.  There  is  no one  to  deny  the  services  of  Sir  Sultan  Muhammad Agha  Khan-III,  for  founding  Muslim  League  in  1906 and  subsequent  struggle  for  freedom  movement.  The district  administration  was  directed  to  keep on board the  representatives  of  the  Ismaili  community  for durable peace in the area.

vi.   Moreover  the  administration  and  the  Pak  Army  have taken all possible steps and security has been further beefed up in the area. It is worthy mentioning that on 22nd February General officer Commanding, 17 Div of Pak Army, general Javed Bukhari also visited Kalash valley  and  reviewed  the  security  arrangements.  This also  has  boosted  the  morale  of  the  people  of  Chitral, particularly  the  Kalash  minority  and  Ismaili Community.

2.  The Ismaili community and Kalash minority of Chitral acknowledged  the  prompt  response  of  the  administration and  they  expressed  complete  satisfaction  over  the  security measures  taken  in  the  aftermath  of  the  appearing  of  the news  story  in  the  media.  In  this  respect,  both  the communities  appreciated  the  efforts  of  the  provincial government  for  direct  interaction  with  the  stakeholders  on the  issue.  It  was  confirmed  that  there  is  no  indigenous sectarian issue in Chitral and  all the Communities including the  Ismailies  and  Kalash  tribes  live  in  complete harmony, and  the  story  reflected  in  the  international  media  has  been reported with ulterior motives.”

5.    Learned  Attorney  General  for  Pakistan  placed  on record  (CMA  No.  3426/2014)  a  notification  issued  by  the Government  of  Pakistan,  Cabinet  Secretariat, Establishment Division dated 26.5.2009, which is to the following effect:-

“The undersigned is directed to state that it has been decided  by  the  Federal  Government  to  reserve,  with immediate  effect,  05%  quota  for  employment  of  Minorities (Non-Muslims),  as  defined  in  Article  260(3)(b)  of  the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973, to all posts across the board in the Federal Government Services / jobs  to  be  filled  by  direct  recruitment  including  CSS,  in addition to their participation in the open merit.

2.  This  reservation  will  have  the  same  parameters  as were  prescribed  for  reservation  quota  for  women  vide Establishment  Division’s  O.M.  No.  4/15/2006-F.2  dated 22.5.2007  and  will  count  as  part  of  overall  provincial allocation  as  contained  in  the  Establishment  Division’s  O.M. No.  4/10/2006  R-2  dated 12.2.2007  and  will  be  calculated against  the  quota  of  the  province  of  origin  of  the  Minority (Non-Muslim) candidate concerned.

3.  The above reservation will not apply to:-

i)  the  percentage  of  vacancies  reserved  for recruitment on the basis of merit;

ii)  recruitment  made  by  promotion  or  transfer  in accordance with the relevant rules.

iii)  short terms vacancies likely to last for less than six months; and

iv)  isolated  posts  in  which  vacancies  occur  only occasionally;

4.  The  vacancies  reserved  for  Minorities  (Non-Muslims) for  which  qualified  candidates  are  not  available  shall  be carried  forward  and  filled  by  Minority  (Non-Muslim) candidates.

5.  These  orders  shall  also  apply  to  initial  appointments in  all  attached  departments  /  autonomous  /  semi autonomous bodies / corporations / Public corporations and Companies  etc.  administratively  controlled  by  the  Federal Government.

6.  Ministries / Divisions are requested to kindly bring the above  instructions  to  the  notice  of  all  concerned  for information and compliance while making future recruitment.

7.  For  removal  of  any  difficulty  the  interpretation  of  the Establishment Division shall be final.”

6.    Learned  Law  Officer  adds  that  the  afore-referred notification  also  finds  mention  in  the  Federal  Public  Service Commission  Rules  for  Competitive  Examination,  2014.  Learned

Additional  Advocate  General,  Punjab,  has  also  placed  on  record  a notification dated 27.3.2010, which is to the following effect:

“No.  SCR-III(S&GAD)1-35893.  In  exercise  of  the  powers conferred under Section 23 of the Punjab Civil Servants Act, 1974  (VII  of  1974)  and  in  supersession  of  Notification  No. SOR-III(S&GAD)1-35/1993,  dated  23.10.2009,  the  Governor of  the  Punjab  is  pleased  to  direct  that  notwithstanding anything  contained  in  the  method  of  recruitment  prescribed in  all  the  services  /  recruitment  rules,  5%  quota  shall  be reserved for Minorities (Non-Muslims) as defined in the Article 260(3)(b)  of  the  Constitution  of  Islamic  Republic of Pakistan, 1973, against the total number of posts advertized in future, including  the  posts  to  be  filled  on  the  basis  of  competitive examination  to  be  conducted  by  the  Punjab  Public  Service Commission.  However,  all  the  conditions  prescribed  under the respective service rules shall continue to apply.

2.  The  reservations  of  vacancies  referred  to  above  will not apply to:-

(i)  appointment made by  promotion or transfer in accordance with the relevant rules;

(ii)  short term vacancies likely to last for less than six months;

(iii)  isolated  posts  in  which  vacancies  occur  only occasionally; and

(iv)  vacancies  reserved  for  Minorities  for  which qualified  candidates  are  not  available.  These vacancies  shall  be  treated  as  unreserved  and filled on merit.”

7.    Learned  Additional  Advocate  General,  KPK,  also admits  that  in  the  KPK  Civil  Servants  (Appointment,  Promotion and  Transfer)  Rules,  1989,  Rule  10  specifically  provides reservation  of  5% quota  for  minorities  in  all  provincial  services. Learned  Additional  Advocate  General  Balochistan  has  made  a similar statement with regard to the reservation of special quota for minorities in provincial service.

8.    We  find  that  the  incidents  of  desecration  of  places  of worship  of  minorities  could  be  warded  off  if  the  authorities concerned had taken preventive measures at the appropriate time.

The  Court  also  found  that  the  inaction  on  the  part  of  law enforcement  agencies  was  on  account  of  the  lack  of  proper understanding  of  the  relevant  law. For  instance,  the  Court  was surprised when the learned Additional Advocate General, Sindh, on Court query submitted that the desecration of places of worship of minorities  was  not blasphemous and  not an  offence  under  the Pakistan  Penal  Code. When  he  was  confronted  with  Section  295 PPC he had nothing to say but to concede that desecration of places of worship of even a non-Muslim is an offence under the PPC.

9.    There  is  a  general  lack  of  awareness  about  minority rights  among  the  people  and  those  entrusted  with  enforcement  of law are also not fully sensitized to this issue either. It needs to be reiterated that  under  the  Constitution  minorities  have  a  special status.  This  Constitutional  status  has  a  historical  background. It would  be  counter  intuitive  if  the  right  to  freedom  of  religion enshrined in Article 20 is interpreted in the manner which has the effect of encroaching upon religious freedoms of minority religions in  Pakistan. According to Tayyab Mahmud, Professor at Seattle University  School  of  Law  and  Director  of  the  Centre  for  Global Justice, “The express guarantees for freedom of belief and practice of  religion,  rule  of  law,  due  process,  equal  protection,  and  a progressive  legislative  agenda,  proffered  by  the  leadership  of  the Pakistan  Movement,  constitute  an  implied  social  covenant  with religious  minorities  in  Pakistan 2. The  protection  of  the  freedom  of religious  belief  and  practice  of  all  communities  was  indeed  the predominant right asserted in several propositions and resolutions passed by the All India Muslim League (AIML). Despite the fact that members  of  the  AIML were being  strongly  influenced  by  secular liberal  thought,  the  idealogy  underlying  the  Pakistan  Movement was the creation of a separate nation state for the protection of the interests of the Muslim minority in India. However, these freedoms were  not  limited  to  the  protection  of  the  Muslim  minority  but  all religious  minorities. One of the famous Fourteen  Points enumerated by Mohammad Ali Jinnah on proposed constitutional changes was that “full religious liberty, i.e. liberty of belief, worship and  observance,  propaganda,  association  and  education  shall  be guaranteed to all communities.3

” Furthermore, “adequate, effective and  mandatory  safeguards  should  be  specifically  provided in  the Constitution for minorities in these units and in the regions for the protection  of  their  religious,  cultural,  economic,  political,

2[ Feedom  of  Religion  and  Religious  Minorities  in  Pakistan;  A  Study  of  Judicial  Practice,  Tayyab Mahmud, Fordham International  Law Journal, 19:1 (1995), p.51 ]

 3[ Point No. 7 ]

administrative and other rights and interests in consultation with them”  as  stated  in  the  Resolution  adopted  by  the  27th Annual Session  of  the  AIML  at  Lahore  on 22-24  March  1940,  which  we now  celebrate  as  Pakistan  Day.  Thus  the  very genesis of  our country is grounded in the protection of the religious rights of all, especially those of minorities.

 10.    It  was  because  of  the  historical context given  in  the preceding  para  that  in  all  the  constitutional  dispensations eversince  the  creation  of  this  country  besides  Islamic  provisions, the  religious  freedom  and  minorities’  rights  were  always  provided for. The clauses and terms in the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973, relatable to religion are as under:-

  (a)  Religion [Preamble, Articles 2, 20, 21, 22, 26, 27].

  (b)  Islam  [Preamble,  Articles  1,  2,  19,  31,  40,  62(d)(e), 203C(3A),  203D,  203E,  203H,  227,  228,  229,  230, 231]

 (c)  Muslim  [Preamble,  Articles  31,  40,  41,  91,  203B(c), 203C(2), 203E(4), 203F(3)(a), 230, 260(3)(a), 227]

 (d)  Quran and Sunnah (Preamble, Article 227, 228, 230)

 (e)  Sects (Articles 20, 28, 33, 227)

 (f)  Belief, Faith and Worship [Preamble]

 (g)  Non-Muslim  [Articles  37,  51,  59,  62,  106,  224,  227, 260(3)(b)]

 (h)  Minorities [Preamble, Article 36]

 11.    An examination of the abovementioned various religion oriented provisions of the Constitution tells us that various rights and privileges are conferred on various persons and entities. These can be categorized as follows:-

 (a)  A  special  place  has  been  conferred  to  Islam  as  a religion.

 (b)  Muslims  have  been  conferred  certain  non-religious privileges in comparison to Non-Muslims [For example; The  President  and  the  Prime  Minister  can  only  be  a Muslim under Articles 41 and 91].

 (c)  Various  provisions  seek  a  positive  enforcement  of  the Islamic  way  of  life  [For  example,  the  establishment  of the Council of Islamic Ideology and the Federal Shariat Court].

 (d)  Within  the  positive  enforcement  of  the  Islamic  way  of life  as  described  in  para  (c)  above,  the  existence  and importance of sects is recognized [For example, Article 227 & 228].

 (e)  Various  rights  and  protections  are  conferred  on  Non-Muslims/Minorities.

 (f)  Regardless  of  the  rights  and privileges  described  in Para (a) to (e) above, the right to religious conscience is a  right  equally  granted  to  all  citizens,  religious denominations and sects.

 12.    A reference to the provisions which specifically provide for  religious  freedom  and  minorities’  rights  would  be  pertinent. Those are:-

 “20.  Subject to law, public order and morality,–

 (a)  every  citizen  shall  have  the  right  to  profess, practise and propagate his religion; and

 (b)  every  religious  denomination  and  every  sect thereof  shall  have  the  right  to  establish, maintain and manage its religious institutions.

 21.  No  person  shall  be  compelled  to  pay  any  special  tax the  proceeds  of  which  are  to  be  spent  on  the propagation or maintenance of any religion other than his own.

 22.  (1)  No person attending any educational institution shall be required to receive religious instruction, or take part in  any  religious  ceremony,  or  attend  religious  worship,  if such  instruction,  ceremony  or  worship  relates  to  a  religion other than his own.

 (2)  In respect of any religious institution, there shall be no discrimination  against  any  community  in  the  granting  of exemption or concession in relation to taxation.

 (3)  Subject to law,

 (a)  no  religious  community  or  denomination  shall be  prevented  from  providing  religious instruction  for  pupils  of  that  community  or denomination  in  any  educational  institution maintained  wholly  by  that  community  or denomination; and

 (b)  no  citizen  shall  be  denied  admission  to  any educational institution receiving aid from public revenues  on  the  ground  only  of  race,  religious, caste or place of birth.

 (4)  Nothing  in  this  Article  shall  prevent  any  public authority from making provision for the advancement of any socially or educationally backward class of citizens.

 28.  Subject to Article 251 any section of citizens having a distinct  language,  script  or  culture  shall  have  the  right  to preserve and promote the same and subject to law, establish institutions for that purpose.

 36.  The  State  shall  safeguard  the  legitimate  rights  and interests  of  minorities,  including  their  due  representation  in the Federal and Provincial services.”

 13.    Religion  has  played  an  important  role  in  human history,  and  faith  has  influenced  the  minds  and  actions  of individuals,  societies  and  nations  down the  ages.  By  freedom  of religion  and  belief  is  meant  the  right  of  a  person  to  follow  a doctrine or belief system which, in the view of those who profess it, provides  spiritual  satisfaction.  However,  it  is  impossible  to  define the term ‘religion’ in rigid terms. The freedom of religion must then be  construed  liberally  to  include  freedom  of  conscience,  thought, expression,  belief  and  faith.  Freedom,  individual  autonomy  and rationality  characterize  liberal  democracies  and  the  individual freedoms  thus flowing  from  the freedom  of  religion  must  not  be curtailed  by  attributing  an  interpretation  of  the  right  to  religious belief and practice exclusively as a community-based freedom. The freedom  of  religion  and  conscience  has  been  protected  in  several treaties  and  declaration4.  Article  18  of  the  United  Nations Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966 provides as follows:-

 “Everyone  shall  have  the  right  to  freedom  of  thought, conscience  and  religion.  This  right  shall  include freedom  to have or adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or  private,  to  manifest  his  religion  or  belief  or  belief  in worship, observance, practice and teaching.”

 14.    The fundamental right to freedom of religion and belief was articulated at the international level by the Declaration on the Elimination  of  All  Forms  of  Intolerance  and  of  Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief. These human rights norms then serve as  moral  checks  and  efforts  are  continually  being  made  to incorporate these rights into domestic laws. The Supreme Court of Pakistan has  invoked  International  Human  Rights  norms  in numerous  cases5.  It  is  evident  from  a  bare  reading  of  these provisions  that  the  freedom  of  conscience  cannot  be  separated from the freedom of religion. While the freedom of conscience is an individual  right,  the  right  to  religion  has  both  individual  and community based connotations. Sub-article (a) of Article 20 of the Constitution  also  recognizes  the  individual  and  communal nature

  4[ European  Convention  on  Human  Rights  and  Fundamental  Freedoms  (Article 9),  the  American Convention  on  Human  Rights  (Article  12),  the  African  Charter  on  Human  and  Peoples’  Rights (Article 8) ]

  5[ Sardar Farooq Ahmed Khan Leghari Vs. Federation of Pakistan [PLD 1999 SC 57] at page 191; Al-Jehad Trust Vs. Federation of Pakistan [PLD 1997 SC 84] ]

of the right to freedom of religion as it addresses “every citizen” and “every  religious  denomination  and  every  sect  thereof”  and  one aspect cannot trump the other. Moreover, the individual aspect to the  freedom  of  religion  applies  both  against  inter-religion  and intra-religion conflict.

15.    Of  all  the  Articles  relating  to  the  minorities’  rights, Article 20 is of prime significance. A close reading of this provision would  indicate  that  the  freedom  to practice religion  and  manage religious institutions under this provision is multifaceted because:

(a)  The  right  to  religious  conscience  conferred  under  this Article does not make any distinction between majority and  minority  or  Muslim  and  Non-Muslim.  It  is  in  the nature  of  an  Equal  Religious  Protection  Clause conferred  on  every  citizen,  every  religious denomination  and  every  sect  thereof.  This  equal religious protection clause is in the same nature as the equal justice under the law and equal protection under the  law  clauses  conferred  under  Articles  4  and  25.  In other  words,  every  absolute  equality  and  there  is  no distinction  among  citizens,  religious  denominations and  sects  thereof,  as  far  as  the  right  to  religious conscience, is concerned.

(b)  The  right  to  religious  conscience  is  a  fundamental right. It has not been subjected or subordinated to any other  provision  of  the  Constitution  because  it  is  only subject  to  law,  public  order  and  morality  and  not  to any  religious  clauses  of  the  Constitution.  The  very term law, public order and morality has been used in non-religious  terms  as  the  notion  of  law  or  public order  or  morality  is  not  reducible  to the  Islamic meanings  of  these  terms.  Therefore,  Article  20  has  a certain  preeminence  in  the  Constitution  being  only subject to the general restrictions of law, public order and morality, which three terms cannot be interpreted or used in such a restrictive way as to curtail the basic essence  and  meaning  of  the  pre-eminent  right  to religious conscience.

(c)  The right to profess and practice is conferred not only on religious  communities  but also on  every  citizen. What this means is that every citizen can exercise this right  to  profess,  practice  and  propagate  his  religious views even against the prevailing or dominant views of its own religious denomination or sect. In other words, neither  the  majority  religious  denominations  or  sect nor  the  minority  religious  denomination  or  sect  can impose  its  religious  will  on  the  citizen.  Therefore,  not only does it protect religious denominations and sects against  each  other  but  protects  every  citizen  against the  imposition  of  religious  views  by  its  own  fellow  co-believers.  It  needs  to  be  mentioned  here  that  every citizen  would  necessarily  include  both  males  and females  (Article  263),  which  point  needs  emphasis considering  the  exclusion  or  subordination  of  women in relation to numerous forms of religious practices.

(d)  As  far  as  every  religious  denomination  is  concerned, even  sects  within  these  religious  denominations  have been  conferred  the  additional  right  to  establish, maintain  and  manage  its  religious  institutions. Therefore,  even  sects  within  these  religious denominations  have  been  protected  against  their  own co-religious denominations.

(e)  The  right  of  religious  conscience  conferred  on  every citizen  is  a  right  conferring  three  distinct  rights  i.e. Right  to  Profess,  Right  to  Practice  and  Right  to Propagate. What this means is that Article 20 does not merely  confer  a  private  right  to  profess  but  confers  a right to practice both privately and publicly his or her religion.  Moreover,  it  confers  the  additional  right  not only  to  profess  and  practice  his  own  religion  but  to have  the  right  to  propagate  his  or  her  religion  to others. It is important to note that this propagation of religion  has  not  been  limited  to  Muslims  having  the right  to  propagate  their  religion  but  this  right  is equally  conferred  on  Non-Muslims  to  propagate  their religion  to  their  own  community  and  to  other communities.  This  should  not  be  seen  as  a  right  to encourage  conversions  but  more  importantly,  should be  seen  as  a  right  against  forced  conversions  or imposing beliefs on others because if all citizens have the right to propagate then no citizen has the right of forced conversion or imposing beliefs on others.

16.    Article  20  must  then  be  interpreted  to  guarantee the rights  of  the  community  as  well  as  the  right  of  the  individual against  those  from  his  own  or  other  religious  communities – the ultimate  goal  being  the  eradication  of  religious  intolerance  in  the society.  English  political  philosopher  John  Stuart  Mill  in  his treatise  ‘On  Liberty’  (1859)  stated  that  “the  great writers  to  whom the  world  owes  what  religious  liberty  it  possesses,  have  mostly asserted freedom of conscience as an indefeasible right, and denied absolutely  that  a  human  being  is  accountable  to  others for  his religious  belief.  Yet  so  natural  to  mankind  is  intolerance  in whatever they really care about, that religious freedom has hardly anywhere  been  practically  realized,  except  where  religious indifference,  which  dislikes  to  have its  peace  disturbed  by theologically quarrels, has added its weight to the scale.”

17.    Although in  the  West,  the  separation  of  the  Church and the State and ultimately the Renaissance ushered in an era of objective reasoning, liberal democracy, freedom and secularism, it was  soon realized  that  religion  could  not  entirely  be  relegated  to the  private  /  individual  realm.  The political  aspect  of  religion  has been  rife  with  conflicts,  extremism  and  a  claim  of  monopoly  of truth which  historically  has  not  been  without  its  toll  in  human suffering.  A  step  towards  resolution  is  promoting  religious tolerance, which should be the underlying objective in interpreting the right to freedom of religion. In the subcontinent, the individual right  of freedom  to  religion  has  occasionally  been  trumped  by  the right of the community, as in the above-cited Indian case of Sardar Syedna.  It  is  imperative  that  the  right  to  freedom  of  religion  be restored as an individual and indefeasible right, while concurrently preserving and protecting this right at a communal level, where the latter  does  not  infringe  on  the  former.  For,  according  to  French writer,  historian  and  philosopher  Voltaire  in  his  ‘Treatise  on Tolerance’  (1763),  “religion  is  instituted  to  make  us  happy  in  this life and the next. But what is required to make us happy in the life to come” To be just.”

18.    However, the question which calls for consideration is:

do the minorities in practice enjoy the rights guaranteed to them in terms of the afore-referred provisions of the Constitution?

19.    This  question  can best be  appreciated  if  the  socio-political  conditions  in  the  country  are  kept  in  view.  Pakistan  is  a transitional  democracy  and  like  all  other  countries  (similarly placed)  is  confronted  with  competing  political  and  social challenges. Most of the political institutions of consequence are in the  process  of  evolution.  However,  the  defining  feature  of  a democratic  governance  is  complete  dedication  and  adherence  in every  day  life  to  the  seminal  principles  of  equity,  justice  and inclusion  of  all  irrespective  of  their  colour,  creed,  caste,  sex  or faith.  The  sustainability  of  democracy  depends  on  how  best  these challenges are met. Democracy is not an unmixed blessing; on the one hand it confers respect for minorities’ rights and on the other it provides  a  platform  where  intolerance  and  hatreds get  leeway leading  to  societal  friction  and  violence.  Such  intolerance  and hatreds  have  found  their  way  in  the  social  media as  well and  no effort has been made to check it. The English Daily Dawn alluded to this trend in social media in its editorial comment (dated 9th  of June, 2014) and said that:-

“A Small-scale  survey  conducted  by  the  online  freedom  of expression  group  Bytes  for  All of  hate  speech  in  social  media used  and  frequented  by  Pakistanis  has  produced  some disturbing, though not unexpected, results. Over 91pc of nearly 600  respondents  surveyed  claimed  to  have  come  across  hate speech  online and  a  partial  analysis  of  30  popular  Facebook and  Twitter  pages  and  accounts  has  shown  how  user comments  are  usually  peppered  with  some form  of  hate speech. The names of the targeted groups will also cause little surprise:  Shias,  Ahmadis,  Indians  /  Hindus, atheists/unbelievers,  state  institutions,  women,  gender minorities,  Jews  and  local  ethnicities.  To  be  sure,  views expressed  online  do  not  automatically  reflect  the  views  of wider society especially in a country where roughly 10pc of the population  is  believed  to  be  online.  Yet,  with  the  3G/4G telecommunications  revolution  now  just  a  matter  of  weeks  or perhaps months, the number of Pakistanis online will certainly climb  dramatically  and  soon.  Hate  speech  online  will  be disseminated  even  further  as  a  result.  Also  while  the anonymity  of  sitting  behind  a  screen  tends  to  coarsen  public comments  and  discourse  in  the  online world  internationally, there  is  a  case  to  be  made  that  the  younger,  tech-savvy Pakistanis online are taking their cultural, and hate, cues, from a society where such talk is increasingly acceptable currency.

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While  not  every  hateful word  can or  does  lead  to violence,  there  is  surely  more  than  just  a  correlation  between the  amount  of  hate  speech  against  and  the  violence  suffered by groups such as the Ahmadis and other religious minorities. With  access  to  the  online  world  about  to  explode,  now  is  the time for some serious thinking.”

    It  is  because  of absence  of  effective  State  action that despite  elaborate  textual  guarantees  for  minorities’  rights, empirical  realities  reflect a  mixed  bag,  rather  a  dismal  state  of affairs.

20.    The  Human  Rights  Commission  of  Pakistan  Report, 2013  on  sectarian  violence  makes  a  sad  reading.  “In  the  first  few weeks  of  2013,  sectarian  violence  claimed  the  lives  of  over  200 Hazara  Shias  in  Balochistan.  More  than  200  sectarian  attacks killed  687  people.  Seven  Ahmadis  lost  their  lives  in  targeted attacks. In  the  deadliest  attack  ever  against  Pakistan’s  Christian citizens,  over  100  people  were  killed  in  a  Peshawar  church. A Muslim mob torched a predominantly Christian neighbourhood in Lahore  after  a  Christian  man  was  accused  of  blasphemy.  100 houses  were  burnt  as  residents  fled.  Individuals  charged  with offences  relating  to  religion  included  17  Ahmadis,  13  Christians and nine Muslims. In Badin, dead bodies of two Hindus were dug up by mobs that claimed that the graveyards belonged to Muslims and only Muslims could be buried there.”

21.    On  a  query  made  from  the  Chief  Secretary Balochistan,  the  letter  intimated  the  Registrar  of  this  Court  that about  415 Hazaras  who  belong  to Shia  sect  were  killed on sectarian grounds in a period of 11 years.

22.    The afore-referred report and other incidents of faith or ethnic based  violence  indicate  that  mere  textual  pledges  in  the Constitution,  though  important  are  not  enough  to  ensure  that those  rights  would  be  honored  in  practice.  It  is,  therefore, important  that  the  concerned  governments  /  institutions  take proactive  lead  to  ensure  that  those  rights  are  respected  and enjoyed in practice.

23.    No society  or  nation  is  bereft  of  its  share  in discrimination, ethnic or religious bias and the resultant violence. In 1526 the Bishop of London was tried on the charges of terrorism and  the  allegation  was  that  he  wanted  to  blow  the  Parliament House  because  the  Protestants  had  won  majority  in  the Parliament.  In  his  final  play  Henry  VIII,  Shakespeare  has  his Archbishop  predict,  “the  future  Elizabeth  will  rule  by  a  mixture  of peace,  plenty,  love  and  a  just  measure  of  terror.”    For  hundred  of years the Northern and Southern Irelanders fought with each other and wrecked violence in the name of faith.

24.    When we  think  of  such  incidents  of  violence  in  the name  of  faith, we are always  reminded of  a  quote  from  the  Holy Quran6 wherein such acts have not only been condemned but have been classified as crimes against humanity. It ordains:-

 Translation:

“On  that  account,  We  decreed  to  the  Children  of Israel  the  Eternal  Moral  Ordinance  for  all  humanity (2:178) that whoever kills a human being, unless it is in  the  course  of  justice  for  murder  or  bloody  crimes on  the  earth,  it  shall  be  as  if  he  killed  all mankind. And  whoever  saves  one  life  it  would  be  as  if  he saved the life of all mankind. Our Messengers came to  people  with  clear  Truth,  yet  many  of  them continued to transgress in the earth.”

 25.    Islam  does  not  compel  people  of  other  faiths  to convert. It  has  given  them  complete  freedom  to  retain  their  own faith  and  not  to  be  forced  to  embrace  Islam.  This  freedom  is documented  in  both  the  Holy  Quran  and  the  Prophetic  teachings known  as  Sunnah. ALLAH  addresses  the  Prophet  Muhammad (PBUH) in the Quran:

 “If it had been your Lord’s will, they would all have believed all  of  who  are  on  earth!  Will  you  then  compel  humankind, against their will, to believe7 ?”

……………………………………………………………………………

  6[ Surah Al-Ma’idah (5:32). Translation by Moulana Shabbir Ahmed ]

  7[ Holy Quran (10:99) ]

 “Let  there  be  no  compulsion  in  religion;  truth  stands  clear from  error:  whoever  rejects  false  gods  and  believes  in  God has  grasped  the  most  trustworthy  hand-hold  that  never breaks. And God hears and knows all things.8”

 26.    Not  only  does  Islam  give  the  freedom  of  religions freedom  to  non-Muslims,  its  tolerant  law  extends  to  the preservation of their places of worship9. ALLAH says in the Quran:

 “(They  are)  those  who  have  been  evicted  from  their  homes without  right —- only  because  they  say,  ‘Our  Lord  is  God.’ And  was it not  that God checks the people, some by means of  others,  there  would  have  been  demolished  monasteries, churches,  synagogues,  and  mosques  in  which  the  name  of God  is  much  mentioned  (praised).  And  God  will  surely support those who support Him (meaning His cause). Indeed, God is Powerful and Exalted in Might.10”

 27.    The  Muslim  Caliphs  used  to  order  their  military leaders who went on military campaigns to take steps to guarantee this  matter.  The  first  example  is  the  command  of  Abu  Bakr  to Usman ibn Zayd:

 “I  command  you  to  do  then  things:  kill  no  woman,  no  child, nor  an  elderly  person;  do  not  cut  down  fruit  trees,  or vandalize homes, or burn it, do not be treacherous; do not be cowardly;  and  you  will  pass  by  people  who  have  devoted themselves  to  monastery  life;  leave  them  alone  to  their devotions.11”

 28.    The  second  example  is  the  treaty  of  Umar  ibn  al-Khattab with the people of Iliya of Jerusalem:

 “This  is  the  security  given  by  the  slave  of  God,  Umar,  the Commander  of  the  Faithful,  to  the  people  of  Iliya:  they  are guaranteed  the  security  if  their  persons,  possessions, churches, crucifixes, and everyone within, whether sick or in good  health,  as  well  as  everyone  in  their  community.  Their churches  will  not  be  occupied  or  demolished,  nor  will

  8[ Holy Quran (2:256) ]

  9[ Aayed, Saleh Hussain, ‘Huquq Ghayr al-Muslimeen fi Bilad il-Islam,                p.23-24 ]

  10[ Holy Quran (22:40) ]

  11[ Tabari, Tarirk al-Tabari, vol 3, p.210 ]

 anything  be  taken  from  them:  neither  furnishings  nor crucifixes or money. They will not be forced away from their religion,  or  harmed  because  of  it.  They  will  not  be  occupied by the Jewish settlers in Illiya.12”

 29.    One of the foundational aims of all the major religions in  the  world  has  been  to  eradicate  this  bias  and  to  preach humanism. However, in practice on account of misinterpretation of some  of  the  religious  tenets,  religion  instead  of  liberating  human beings  from  these  curses  of  bias  have  enslaved  them  which  has resulted  in  violence  and  human  misery. Governments and parliaments in almost all modern democracies have endeavored to undo the injustices done to the minorities in the past.

 30.    In  1954  the  U.S.  Supreme  Court  in  the  case  reported as Brown  Vs.  Board  of Education of  Topeka (347  US  483  (1954) abolished segregation in schools and ensured implementation of its judgment  by  directing  the  dispatch  of federal  troops  to  the concerned  State.  In  the  said  judgment,  the  U.S.  Supreme  Court came  a  long  way  from  its  earlier  judgment  in Dred  Scott  Vs. Sandford (60 U.S. 393 (1857) where a colored was refused a status of a citizen. In not too distant past, the country elected a colored as its President i.e. Mr. Barack Hussein Obama.

 31.    In  Canada  only  last  month,  the  Parliament  of  British Colombia  had  to  pass  a  resolution  of  apology  for  discrimination and  injustices  meted  out  to  Chinese  immigrants.  The  daily  ‘Globe and Mail’ editorially commented on this development and said:-

 “It continues to be shocking that, as recently as 1947, there  was  explicit  institutional  racism  against  Chinese immigrants to Canada.

   12[ Tabari, Tarirk al-Tabari, vol 3, p.159 ]

   Last  Thursday,  the  Legislative  Assembly  of  British Columbia  finally  passed  a  motion  to  apologize  to  Chinese Canadians.

 Canada  as  a  whole  was  deeply  implicated.  Though B.C.  was  the  province  chiefly  concerned,  the  two  most important  laws  that  discriminated  against  Chinese immigrants were passed by the Parliament of Canada.

 Eight  years  ago,  after  he  became  prime  minister, Stephen Harper moved promptly to offer an apology.

 According  to  the  B.C.  apology – a  bipartisan  motion presented  by  Premier  Christy  Clark – past  B.C.  governments enacted  more  than  100  laws,  regulations  and  policies directed  against  the  Chinese  from  1871  to  1947.  Jenny Kwan,  an  NDP  MLA,  gave  the  most  substantial  historical speech,  pointing  to  89  bills  and  49  resolutions  actually passed  and  seven  reports  delivered  against  Chinese Canadians and other non-whites. Almost every session of the House  between  1872  and  1928  took  such  measures,  and there  were  many  other  such  motions,  proposals  and MLAs’ questions.

 Early  on,  the  fear  of  wage  levels  being  undercut  by immigrants  was  at least briefly set aside at the urging of Sir John  A.  Macdonald,  who  argued  that  the  CPR  would  never get built without the labour of Chinese railroad workers.

 The head tax – an oppressive economic disincentive to Chinese  immigration  enacted  in  1885 – was  not  in  the  end effective.  But  anti-Chinese  xenophobia  seems  only  to  have begun  to  wane  when  the  Canadian  government  started  to conscript  Chinese  Canadians  in  the  Second World  War.  The very  restrictive  and  discriminatory  Chinese  Immigration  Act was finally repealed in 1947, in the same year that Canada passed its first Citizenship Act, and in the period in which the Atlantic  Charter,  the  Charter  of  the  United  Nations  and the Universal  Declaration  of  Human  Rights  all  emphasized  our universal humanity.

 Thus, war and peace both worked against institutional racism.

 Of course, racism itself and some of its legacies are not dead. But progress,  after  all, is possible. And progress there has  been.”  (Globe  Editorial  “B.C.’s  overdue  apology  to Chinese Canadians’ dated 18th of May, 2014)

 32.    It requires a strong moral courage for an individual or a  nation  to  apologize  for  having  wronged  a  community.  It  is  time for  us  as  a  nation  and  as  individuals  to  have  a  moment  of reflection,  a  moment  of  soul  searching  and  perhaps  a  moment  of reckoning  to  ask  ourselves; have  we  lived  by  the  pledges  made  in the Constitution and by the vision of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of this country who in his very first address to the Constituent Assembly on 11.08.1948 said:

 “You are free; you are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed—that  has  nothing  to  do  with  the  business  of  the State.”

 33.    The vision reflected  in  afore-quoted  excerpt from  the speech is  the  inspiration  behind  “Justice  for  All” (a  poem  created by one of us i.e. Mr. Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani) which has been declared the Judicial Anthem by the Full Court and has been adopted  by  the  Pakistan  Bar  Council  as  its  theme  song  for  its functions. The poem reads as follows:-

 The toil, the sweat, the tears and the blood, Make up the labor for the land begot.

The freedom is won, but the chains are clung,

There are miles to cover,

The voyage is tough and the weather is rough,

The odyssey begins; The Founder declares his vision

Of Democracy, Faith, Tolerance and Compassion.

Discriminate the State shall not

Thou may belong to any religion, creed or caste.

Oh! The vision is distorted, the march is thwarted,

Castles in the sand, babes in the woods,

Recipes of fall abound in the books.

The nation is cut, the land is bled

When the message is lost, a die is cast,

The wages are loud, Beware of the clouds.

Long live the message, the Lamp and the rays

That glow The Temple, which holds the scales,

Pinning the dreams, the hopes and the oath

Of Justice for All

 34.    The  Supreme  Court,  being  the  apex  court  in  a liberal democracy,  is  mandated  to  protect  and  defend  the  Constitution which embodies the fundamental rights of its citizens. Thus, while deciding  cases  entailing  inter-faith  or  intra-faith  conflicts,  the Courts  should  keep  in  view  the  fact  that  there  are  some  in  every faith who seek to interpret religion in myopic terms. In evangelistic exuberance,  they  tend  to  forget  that  the  message  of  all  faiths  is common and for the benefit of the entire humanity.

 35.    As  Voltaire  aptly  stated  in  his  ‘Treatise  on  Tolerance’ (1763):  “O  different  worshippers  of  a  peaceful  God!  If  you  have  a cruel  heart,  if,  while  you  adore  he  whose  whole  law  consists  of these few words, ‘Love God and your neighbor,’ you have burdened that pure and holy law with false and unintelligible disputes, if you havelighted  the  flames  of  discord  sometimes  for  a  new  word,  and sometimes for a single letter of the alphabet; if you have attached eternal punishment  to  the  omission  of  a  few  words,  or  of  certain ceremonies which other people cannot comprehend, I must say to you  with  tears  of  compassion  for  mankind: ‘Transport  yourselves with me to the day on which all men will be judged and on which God will do unto each according to his works.’

 36.    The  spirit  of  pluralism  reflected  in  the  Holy  Quran constantly  points  out  that  Muhammad  (PBUH)  had  not  come  to cancel the older religions, to contradict their Prophets or to start a new  faith.  To  the  contrary,  His  message  is  the  same  as  that  of Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon or Jesus. The cherished goal of creating  a  more  pluralistic society  where  fundamental  rights  are respected would continue to elude us unless we realize that we are living  in  a  world  of  globalized  interdependence,  a  world  of interconnectivity,  of  cyber  space,  of  shrunken  distances,  of  cross border  migration,  and  a  world  of  rapidly  changing  cultural identities. We are all members of one race of humans with common challenges,  and  we  cannot  confront  these  challenges  without forging  a  common  alliance.  This  paradigm  shift  in  the  world around us can be achieved at the international and domestic levels only by discouraging sectarian, racial and ethnic biases which are violative  of  shared  values  and  fundamental  rights,  and  by  the promotion of and strict compliance with these values and rights.

 37.    For what  has  been  discussed  above,  we  hold,  declare and direct:-

 (i)  the Federal Government should constitute a taskforce tasked  with  developing  a  strategy  of  religious tolerance;

 (ii)  appropriate  curricula  be  developed  at  school  and college  levels  to  promote  a  culture  of  religious  and social  tolerance.  In  1981  in  one  of  its  seminal declarations,  the  United  Nations  resolved  that  “the child shall be protected from any form of discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief. He shall be brought up in the spirit of understanding, tolerance, friendship among peoples, peace and universal brotherhood, respect for freedom of religion or belief of others, and in full consciousness that his energy and talents should be devoted to the service of his fellow men.”  (UN Declaration on the Elimination on All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief)

 (iii)  the Federal Government should take appropriate steps to  ensure  that  hate  speeches  in  social  media  are discouraged and the delinquents are brought to justice under the law;

 (iv)  a National Council for minorities’ rights be constituted. The function of the said Council should inter alia be to monitor  the  practical  realization  of  the  rights  and safeguards  provided  to  the  minorities  under  the Constitution  and  law.  The  Council  should  also  be mandated  to  frame  policy  recommendations  for safeguarding  and  protecting  minorities’  rights  by  the Provincial and Federal Government;

 (v)  A Special Police Force be established with professional training to protect the places of worship of minorities.

 (vi)  In  view  of  the  statement  made  by  learned  Attorney General  for  Pakistan  and  learned  Additional  Advocate Generals  of  Punjab,  KPK  and  Balochistan  regarding reservation  of  quota  for  minorities  in  the  federal  and provincial  services,  it  is  directed  that  the  Federal Government  and  all  Provincial  Governments  shall ensure  the  enforcement  of  the  relevant  policy directives regarding reservation of quota for minorities in all services.

 (vii)  in all cases of violation of any of the rights guaranteed under  the  law  or  desecration  of  the  places  of  worship of  minorities,  the  concerned  Law  Enforcing  Agencies should promptly take action including the registration of criminal cases against the delinquents.

 (viii)  The office shall open a separate file to be placed before a  three  Members  Bench  to  ensure  that  this  judgment is given effect to in letter and spirit and the said Bench may  also  entertain  complaints  /  petitions  relatable  to violation  of  Fundamental  Rights  of  minorities  in the country.

 38.    These proceedings stand disposed of having fructified in terms noted above.

 CHIEF JUSTICE

JUDGE

JUDGE

Islamabad, the 19th of June, 2014

Approved For Reporting

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