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August 20, 2015

PPP, PTI join hands against Islamic provisions of Article 62

National

August 20, 2015

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan People’s Party and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf have sought deletion of Islam related qualifications for MPs, as included in Article 62 of the Constitution, which were introduced during Gen Zia’s tenure and endorsed by the 18th Amendment.
Sources said during deliberations by the sub-committee of the Reforms Committee, these two parties joined hands to get deleted the following Islamic provisions in relation to the qualifications of MPs as reflected in Article 62: “62(1) (d) he is of good character and is not commonly known as one who violates Islamic Injunction; (e) he has adequate knowledge of Islamic teaching and practices obligatory duties prescribed by Islam as well as abstains from major sins; (f) he is sagacious, righteous and non-profligate, honest and ameen, there being no declaration to the contrary by a court of law.”
The sources said both the parties wanted to revert to the original “qualifications” for MPs as were framed by the authors of the 1973 Constitution. It was said in the meeting that these Islamic provisions were added during General Zia’s era and thus should be deleted through a constitutional amendment.
The Jamaat-e-Islami and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam opposed the deletion of these articles following which an effort was made for a compromise solution i.e. linking the implementation of all these Islamic provisions to court decisions.
Such a solution is considered making these provisions practically redundant for the protection of corrupt and badly reputed MPs.It is said that this important issue would now be discussed in the main Reforms Committee meeting, which will finally decide what to do in this case.
Although the JI and JUI-F had originally agreed to the proposed amendment as finalised by the sub-committee, the two parties showed reservations about endorsing these changes when the media raised this issue.
Contrary to the public demand that a mechanism be evolved for the implementation of

Islamic provisions in the election of members of Parliament so that only upright, honest and practicing Muslims could make it to the National Assembly and the Senate, the PPP and PTI demand total deletion of these provisions whereas the sub-committee has suggested a proposal that would practically make these provisions redundant.
Interestingly, the Reforms Committee was primarily constituted to reform the election process in order to ensure free, fair and transparent polls. However, in the garb of electoral reforms the sub-committee has opted to target the Islamic provisions of the Constitution.
These provisions of Article 62 ensure that only men of good character, not commonly known as who violate Islamic Injunctions, or those who have not adequate knowledge of Islamic teaching or those who don’t practice obligatory duties prescribed by Islam or don’t abstain from major sins, are not qualified to become member of Parliament (National Assembly and Senate) or provincial assemblies.
Knowing well that any mechanism for the implementation of these provisions would disqualify most of the present MPs, the sub-committee recommends that these provisions would only be applicable on the basis of a court verdict. It means a person, who does not offer regular prayers and yet is a member of parliament could not be disqualified unless it is ruled by a court of law. In the 18th Amendment such a linking of court’s decision was made only with regard to 62(1)(f) which provides for disqualification of a person who is not sagacious, righteous, non-profligate, honest and amen. Now, according to the sub-committee’s proposal, all Islamic provisions included in Article 62 should be linked with the court verdict.

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