Pakistan’s Blasphemy Law: Was Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri the author?
Recently the blasphemy law of Pakistan has again become an issue of controversy. Rimsha Masih a Christian minor living in Pakistan and suffering from Down’s Syndrome is accused of burning pages of the Holy Qur’an.
Some people have failed to understand two major points which are clarified here. The first is that Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri was a jurist-consult (advisor) to the “Federal Shariah Court” and not an advisor to General Zia-ul-Haq nor was he ever a member of his cabinet or his parliament; two very different things. He was summoned by the Federal Shariat Court to give his views on the blasphemy law but it was never taken on board completely because before the second hearing on this law General Zia-ul-Haq had denied the court the right to complete its judgement on this law and instead he took the whole matter of the Blasphemy law in his own hands for which he was dubbed that he was Islamising the country. If the court was allowed to complete the judgement and Dr Qadri was allowed to complete his arguments then procedural law would have been completely different and would have protected the rights of minorities and today people would have no misused this law. And second which is a basic point of law-making that every law has two aspects, a substantive law and procedural law. During the TV2 News interview, Dr Qadri eloquently explained that there was a difference between the substantive and the procedural aspect of the law. In one lecture he was talking about the substantive aspect and in the second clip he was referring to the procedural aspect; therefore there was absolutely no contradiction in his words.
Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri was on his tour in Denmark when the Danish Integration Minister refused to participate in an anti-Radicalisation conference. When asked by a Danish TV channel she remarked that Shaykh-ul-Islam is ‘a radical and extremist…an example is his advice to the Pakistani government when they had to make their blasphemy law’. Shaykh-ul-Islam denied this allegation in his interview with the Danish TV channel stating that he had no legislative or government responsibility in the time of General Zia-ul-Haq either as consultant, or as an advisor, or any parliamentary role. He commented that the Danish Minister was being given inaccurate information.
- Dr. Tahir ul Qadri promises to defend Rimsha against all forms of judicial injustice!
- Dr. Tahir ul Qadri never been adviser of General Zia ul Haq nor part of his Parliament!
- Tahir ul Qadri Interview on Danish TV( Rimsha Masih Case Blasphemy Law in Pakistan) 6 September-2012
Shaykh-ul-Islam is said to have given his scholarly opinion on the sentencing for blasphemy in a Pakistani court prior to it coming into existence. Thus, some circles have accused Shaykh-ul-Islam of being the author of the blasphemy law. The problem with this argument is that courts do not legislate rather this is the role of the parliament. Therefore, Shaykh-ul-Islam could never have drafted the articles of the blasphemy law. He was simply a legal expert giving his opinion on the punishment for blasphemy according to Islamic law. During the interview he stated “I have many reservations. I have difference of opinion and this law needs lot of reforms and changes. I do not support this law as it is being practiced in Pakistan”. With regard to Rimsha Masih he said “If any injustice is done to the Christian girl I would be the first person to go to Pakistan to fight for her right and to save her life, I oppose any law which is unjust law”.
The Guardian newspaper last year reported in 2010 that in the USA 46 people were executed under capital punishment. Under the blasphemy law in Pakistan not a single person has ever been sentenced with capital punishment. Rimsha Masih has now been released on bail and taken into protective custody.