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Islam and Politics ( 8 Dec 2012, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Objectives Resolution and Secularism—Part 8: Jafri Conference Demands Inclusion of Shias in Pakistan’s Legislative Body



By Wajahat Masood

(Translated from Urdu by Sohail Arshad, New Age Islam)

In February 1948, Maulvi Shabbir Ahmad Usmani gave a notice to the speaker of the Legislative Assembly to present two resolutions. The first resolution said," Since the Muslims had demanded Pakistan with the purpose to establish an independent state where they could live according to Islamic laws and Sharia and shape their society based on them and since the citizens of Pakistan have been waiting to achieve these noble objectives anxiously and the constitution will be based on Islamic Sharia, the Assembly presents this resolution that an advisory committee should be constituted comprising prominent Ulema and Islamic thinkers which will make recommendations for the preparation of the constitution according to Islamic Sharia."

It should be mentioned that February 1948 was the time when the serious differences on the question of the national language had come to the fore and Qaid-e-Azam had faced harsh criticism on this issue during his visit to the East Pakistan in the first week of February.

It is interesting to note that the resolution presented by Shabbir Ahmad Usmani did not mention federal units, economy, education and the foreign policy because the understanding of these complexities was not expected from an imam of Hyderabad Deccan. This is to put the historical records straight that the proposal to include Qaid-e-Azam's name in the address of Friday prayers also occurred to Maulana's mind. Maulana's second proposal was also in direct accordance with the interests of the religious peshwas. Please have a look at the text:

"To take the first immediate step towards the fulfilment of the desire of the people of Pakistan to mould their life according to the Islamic Sharia, the Legislature presents the resolution that a legislative body be constituted which will perform duties relating to the functioning of Islamic religious institutions and Awquaaf, the advancement and propagation of Islamic education and other affairs."

Please pay attention to the term 'legislative body'. People wrongly pull Maulvi Zafar Ahmad Ansari's leg. Maulana did not think it necessary to explain when and where the people of Pakistan expressed their 'desire' to Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani. Today the TV channels are unjustifiably criticised for presenting their own 'desires' as the people's demands.

On March 29, 1948, a resolution was passed in a conference at Jama Masjid Kalan Wazirabad, presided by Maulvi Baha ul Haque Quasmi Amritsari (famous columnist Ata ul Haque Quasmi's father) in which it was demanded that foremost it should accept this basic principle that Pakistan was an Islamic state, its official religion will be Islam and the Quran will be its law.

It was a surprising demand. Faith is something which belongs to human conscience and understanding. Inanimate objects and living beings other than human beings cannot be blessed with faith. State is only the name of a collective arrangement and within the confines of a state, citizens having different beliefs live. The establishment of a state comes into existence with the help of a social agreement of individuals, groups and logics inhabiting within a particular geographical limit. In this social agreement, the followers of different beliefs have the status of constituents. The official religion of a state is synonymous with discriminatory treatment of citizens having beliefs in religions other than the official religion.

The other angle of this issue is that in every ancient and organised religion in the world internal differences in beliefs are found. This gives birth to sects. These sectarian differences cannot be ignored as superficial. These sects come into existence because one sect considers the beliefs of the other wrong and against its own beliefs. In Christian history the Catholics and the Protestants fought with each other for centuries. In Muslim history, different Muslim groups have shed each other’s blood without blinking an eye due to the differences in beliefs. It's not surprising then that in a meeting under the Jafri Conference in Lyallpur in March 1948, it was demanded that "While working on the Constitution of Pakistan, the Shia Fiqh (jurisprudence) should also be kept in mind and two Shia Ulema should be included in the Legislative body."

On this occasion the leader of the Jama'at-e-Islami, Abul Ala Maududi also thought it necessary to revise his stand that "Pakistan will necessarily be formed as a democratic secular state". His view was that after the evacuation of non-Muslims from West Pakistan, an Islamic government based on his concept of the government of Allah could be established. Later when the committee investigating the Punjab riots in 1953 asked him the reasons of his political somersault, he replied, "In 1946 the percentage of the non-Muslim population was 26 (in Punjab it was 44--W. Masood).Now these non-Muslims have gone from here. Moreover, in East Pakistan too, the proportion of non-Muslims has come down. If a separate state was established out of the East Pakistan, it would be difficult to impose Islamic system because the non-Muslim population is still 25%."

URL of Part 1 of the Series:’s-dream-of-a-secular-pakistan-was-shattered/d/9489

URL of Part 2 of the Series:

URL of Part 3 of the Series:’s-secularism-was-undermined-by-the-mullahs/d/9526

URL of Part 4 of the Series:’s-secularism-was-undermined-by-the-mullahs/d/9539

URL of Part 5 of the Series:

URL of Part 6 of the Series:

URL of Part 7 of the Series:’s-prophetic-dream-about-jinnah/d/9576