ISLAMABAD – News agencies out of Pakistan reported today that a petition has been filed in the Supreme Court requesting the imposition of Sharia Law as the governing law in Pakistan. Meanwhile, 500 senior Muslim leaders signed the Islamabad Declaration which denounces Islamic terrorism, violence committed in the name of religion, and fatwas issued by radical Islamic scholars.
The petition to govern by Sharia law, another in a continuing list of similar petitions submitted annually before the court, named newly-elected Prime Minister Imran Khan as a co-respondent.
The petition requested converting the country to a lunar calendar, imposing a punishment of 80 lashes to consumers of alcohol and other crimes, and amending the Pakistani Constitution to comply with Islamic laws.
Previous petitions cited Sharia law as “the only solution to eliminate all evils and challenges in the realms of national security, societal cohesion, national economy, the war on terrorism, and political instability.” The court has refused to entertain each petition.
On the other hand, the Islamabad Declaration signed by the aforementioned 500 Islamic clerics on 6 January maintains that “the faithful of every religion or sect have the right to live in Pakistan. Nobody must be killed on the pretext of religion.”
Seven points comprise the Islamabad Declaration:
- Murder on the pretext of religious belief is against the teachings of Islam.
- No religious leader has the right to criticize the prophets.
- All ‘believers’ regardless of their religion or sects have a constitutional right to live in Pakistan and follow their cultural and religious norms.
- Religious groups have the right to organize autonomously without seeking the consent of local administrative officials.
- Books, pamphlets, and other materials that incite religious hatred should be prohibited.
- The government is responsible to ensure the protection of life and property of non-Muslims living in the country.
- The government must implement the existing National Action Plan against extremism.
The declaration appears to be an affirmation of a desire for religious freedom without retribution in Pakistan and is intended to be the platform upon which a 2019 campaign will be launched “to annihilate terrorism, extremism, and sectarian violence” in Pakistan.
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- The World News, Supreme Court moved to impose ‘Sharia law’ in the country
- Faith Wire, More Than 500 Pakistani Islamic Imams Sign Declaration Supporting Asia Bibi, Rebuking Terrorism
- Lahore Daily Times, ‘Islamabad Declaration’ will reinforce the struggle for annihilation of terrorism, extremism: Hafiz Tahir Ashrafi
- The Express Tribune, ‘Islamabad declaration’ to help fight terrorism, extremism: Tahir Ashrafi