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May 2, 2020

Undoing decision to include Qadiani in NCM: Religious ministry seeks cabinet’s approval

National

May 2, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Religious Affairs has moved a fresh summary for the federal cabinet seeking formation of National Commission for Minorities without giving representation to Qadianis.

This move is aimed at undoing 15th of April decision of the cabinet under which the forum had decided in principle that the Qadiani community, being a minority in accordance with the Constitution of Pakistan, should also be represented in the Commission. The fresh summary seeking review of the April 15 decision. The decision of the cabinet stirred controversy, which led to some federal minister denying that any such decision was ever taken.

Informed sources told The News that previously it was again the Ministry of Religious Affairs which had moved the summary for the constitution of the National Commission for Minorities. However, the previous summary of the Religious Ministry did not include any provision for including a Qadiani representative in the Commission.

The sources said that the provision of including a Qadiani in the Commission was included by another ministry before forwarding the summary for cabinet’s approval.

According to the minutes of the cabinet meeting, “The Cabinet considered the summary titled ‘Re-Constitution of National Commission for Minorities’ date April 15, 2020, submitted by Religious Affairs & Inter-faith Harmony Division, and approved the constitution of the commission, in principle, with the direction that it should be reconstituted while keeping following aspects in view:

a) The majority of members in the Commission shall be from the minority communities;

b) The Chairman of the Commission shall be from minority communities; and

c) The Ahmadi community, being a minority in accordance with the Constitution of Pakistan, should also be represented in the Commission.” The minutes added, “The Sponsoring Division shall move a summary seeking approval of the Cabinet, in light of the above direction, through circulation.”

After the latest controversy on the cabinet decision, which some federal minister denied, the Ministry of Religious Affairs moved a fresh summary for the cabinet approval recommending the constitution of the Commission but seeking exclusion of any Qadiani from being member of the Commission.

The summary in para 4 while referring to cabinet’s decision about giving Qadianis’ representation in the Commission, proposes, “Representative of Ahmadi community must not be included in the NCM, given the religious and historical sensitivity of the issue.”

The Religious Ministry proposes the following constitution of the Commission. Mr Chela Ram Kewlani (Hindu) as Chairman. Official members will be representatives of Ministries of Interior, Law, Human Rights, Federal Education and Professional Training Division, Chairman Council of Islamic Ideology and Secretary ministry of religious affairs.

The non-official members of the Commission will be Moulana Syed Muhammad Abdul Khabir Azad and Mufti Gulzar Ahmad Naeemi representing Muslims; Jaipal Chhabria, Vishno Raja Qavi and Chela Ram Kewlani representing Hindus; Dr Sarah Safdar, Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw and Albert David representing Christians; Dr Mimpal Singh and Saroop Singh representing Sikh religion; Ms Roshan Khurshed Bharucha representing Parsi faith; and Dawood Shah, a Kalash.

The Religious Ministry sought from the cabinet the approval of the above mentioned commission.

Meanwhile a federal minister on condition of anonymity confided to The News that the minutes of April 15 meeting were not the reflection of cabinet decision. The source said that the cabinet had not approved including a Qadiani in the commission.