ICC Note: Christians and other religious minorities are concerned about the Islamabad High Court’s new ruling which orders prospective candidates to declare their faith before they can join the Pakistani army or any civil and judiciary entities. Religious minorities are already under attack with several discriminatory laws and many fear that these new changes will increase hostility towards them.
3/19/2018 Pakistan (Christians in Pakistan) – Religious minorities and rights activists feel apprehensive about Islamabad High Court’s verdict ordering declaration of faith compulsory before joining judiciary, Pakistan army and civil services. IHC on March 9, announced its ruling in a case related to amendments to the Khatam-e-Nabuwat oath in Election Act 2017. This ruling has generated a wave of anxiety as it is deemed as a blow to the religious minorities nestled in the country.
Islamabad High Court Judge Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, stated that in line with Article 5 of the Constitution every citizen must abide by the rules of the law and Constitution. On the other he said that the Constitution guarantees religious freedom to the minorities and that the Constitution grants all basic rights to the Non-Muslim Pakistanis while it is the duty of the state to protect their life, wealth, property, dignity and their assets.
The ruling demanded declaring “true faith” mandatory failure to do so could make one guilty of “betraying the State” and “exploiting the Constitution”. All citizens must have their faith mentioned on their birth certificates, National Identity cards, passports and voter’s lists. Justice Siddiqui in his order further ordered that the educational institutions should make sure that Muslim teachers must be appointed to teach Islamiyat and religious studies.
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