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National
 
 
Tahir Khalil
Friday, January 20, 2012
From Print Edition
 
 

 

ISLAMABAD: The secret parliamentary record, declaring Ahmedis as a minority was declassified here on Thursday.

 

National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza has approved the opening of the secret record of the constitutional amendment after 38 years. The entire record of the secret Ahmedi Amendment Bill has, therefore, been declassified.

 

The third constitutional amendment, declaring Qadianis as minority, was passed by the National Assembly during the tenure of Prime Minister ZA Bhutto on September 17, 1974. The entire house was declared as standing committee for the purpose, and its sessions were held in camera.

 

During four sessions, the then head of Jamat-e-Ahmadiya Mirza Tahir Ahmed had given arguments in support of his stance, and the Attorney General Yahya Bakhtiar had conducted his detailed cross arguments.

 

The written record was kept sealed as the entire proceedings were held in camera. Under the Official Secret Act, any document can be held secret for 30 years before it is opened. Sources have revealed that audio records pertaining to the secret Ahmedi Amendment Bill had gutted during a fire in 1993 during Benazir tenure.

 

The preparation and printing the secret record of declaring Ahmedis as minority has cost the National Assembly Rs4.6 million, which has been declassified and kept in the Parliament House Library.

 

Meanwhile, the Leader of Opposition in the Senate Abdul Ghafoor Haidary has also formally contacted the National Assembly Secretariat for access to the parliamentary record pertaining to declaring Ahmedis as minority.