Sunday March 03, 2024

Zafar committee vaguely points the finger at two ministers

November 27, 2017

ISLAMABAD: The Raja Zafarul Haq probe committee report is though inconclusive with regard to the question whether objectionable amendments in the election law were a conspiracy or a mistake, it recommends that action “must be” taken against the responsible.

The report vaguely reflects on two ministers’ role but does not even conclude in clear terms if they were responsible. The News has the copy of the report which is being reproduced but without the names of the two ministers.

Following is the text of the report:

“You were kind enough to appoint a three-members committee comprising Mr Mushahid Ullah, Mr Ahsan Iqbal and myself, to inquire into the circumstances leading to the amendment of the declaration relating to Khatam-e-Nabuwat nomination, attached with the affidavit under the Election Act 2017. I contacted the other two members but Mr Ahsan iqbal had gone to his constituency in district Narowal and he said that he will return back a day later.

In the meantime I collected the original bill; its amended form as well as the verbatim of the proceedings of the Senate, to know exactly the wording of the speakers of the various parties and the amendments which were proposed in the bill. There were several amendments which were proposed during the proceedings of the Standing Committee on Law and Justice of the Senate but none related to the solemn affirmation of the candidate regarding his belief and the finality of the Prophethood of Hazrat Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon Him).

It was only after the bill was sent by the Standing Committee to the House that Hafiz Hamdullah, a senator from JUI, objected to the change in the language of the solemn affirmation and he demanded that the original affirmation should be retained which speaks of the solemn affirmation on which I stood up and supported him. The law minister also said that he was not opposed to the amendment of Hafiz Hamdullah but somehow he did not accept the amendment then and there. I prevailed upon Hafiz Hamdullah that PML-N supported his amendment for which he was grateful and remained in the house and supported us at the time of voting on Section 203 which related to your election as President of the party, despite the decision of the Supreme Court. Almighty ALLAH had been very kind that we won by a single vote and it was a great relief. This bill was sent again to the National Assembly as there were amendments to the original text of the bill sent to the Senate by the National Assembly, as per the constitutional procedure. By the time the bill was being tabled in the National Assembly, a general realisation dawned upon the members from all the parties that they had committed a wrong and that it has to be corrected but due to a rumpus created by the opposition regarding Section 203, the bill was passed as amended and then it was sent to the Senate for the final passage.

There was a great tension and tug of war for collecting members on each side in the Senate and ALHAMDULILLAH the amendments relating to the oath of members about the belief in the Khatam-e-Nabuwat (Peace and Blessings be upon Him) was passed unanimously in the Senate but there was opposition regarding Section 203.

The bill received assent of the President and became law.

It is a fact, it is a very sensitive issue, we wanted to probe, as to how and why the original affidavit was changed. For this, we consulted ......... (name deleted) two or three times. ........... (name deleted) was one of those who had prepared the draft at the committee level. Three or four meetings with ........... (name deleted) were also held during which he admitted that basically it was his primary responsibility to see that the draft does not contain anything controversial but somehow he felt that he could not perform his duty despite his legal acumen, experience and command of language.

With the announcement of the appointment of this committee, the severity of the reaction which it gained generally, and was building up, has now tapered down but it has not died out completely.

Today I read in the newspaper the statement of Maulana Fazlur Rehman that basically we were collectively responsible for not doing our duty during the debate on the affidavit.

We have a feeling that people are expecting action against those who changed the affirmation and caused this problem. In light of the above, we suggest that action must be taken against those responsible but we leave it to your vision and good sense.


Raja Muhammad Zafar Ul Haq

Mushahid Ullah Khan”