Islamabad Bar Association Revokes Controversial Resolution; Abid Saqi, PBC Vice Chairman

Islamabad Bar Association’s (IBA) controversial resolution that aimed to make all members make a declaration of their faith, has now been revoked, voicepk.net has learnt.

Vice Chairman of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) Abid Saqi claims that the IBA’s resolution, which was issued on January 15, 2020, was ‘repugnant to the Constitution and the law’, and was therefore annulled on the orders of the Islamabad Bar Council on Thursday, January 23, 2020.

The IBA had circulated the notice, demanding that its members must submit an affidavit declaring their faith before January 31, 2020.

Muslims were further obligated to declare the finality of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and that they were not Ahmadi.

As news broke, the resolution came under serious criticism from all quarters and was actively denounced.

Zafar Khokar the President of the IBA vehemently defended the decision, while speaking exclusively to voicepk.net.

“Not a single member cast a vote against this resolution,” he stressed. “It was passed unanimously. The General Body had deliberated on this matter for nearly four hours.”

But, Umar Gilani, partner at The Law and Policy Chambers and also a member of the IBA, posited that people are usually wary of discussions on faith and religion.

“If people do not get involved in religious matters, it is not a bad thing,” he explained. “The Bar should also not get involved in such matters.”

According to senior lawyer Abid Saqi, the notice has now been suspended on orders of the IBC.

Along with the IBC, other legal bodies, including the PBC and the Women Lawyers Association (WLA), have commended the revocation, stating that it would dissuade other bar associations and councils from politicizing religion.

Despite immense criticism, Zafar Khokhar was adamant that the Bar’s resolution was in line with the Constitution and the law.

According to him, Article 260, Subsection 3 of the Constitution defines “Muslim” and a “non-Muslim”, and that the Bar’s decision was not opposed to these definitions. Umar Gilani however argued that the oath’s diction in the IBA notice was very different than that which was in the Constitution.

“The oath contained in the affidavit added some terms that were against the Ahmadiyya community,” he explained. “The declaration calls on the oath-taking member to also declare Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani an “apostate, liar and a hypocrite” which was not in the Constitution.”

 

Report by Ahmed Saeed

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