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Home Critical Analysis/Archives Report on the Situation of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan
Report on the Situation of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan

SUPREME COURT JUDGMENT - SUMMARY
“The majority … issued a ruling that is far outside acceptable bounds and sullies the judicial history of Pakistan.”
Dr. Karen Parker

On 3rd July 1993, the Supreme Court of Pakistan dismissed a set of eight appeals filed by Ahmadis. The question of law common to all these appeals was whether Martial Law Ordinance XX: "The Anti Islamic Activities of the Qadiani Group, Lahori Group and Ahmadis (Prohibition and Punishment) Ordinance, 1984" was ultra vires the constitution of Pakistan. These appeals had arisen out of proceedings initiated by or against certain individual Ahmadis.

The Ahmadiyya Community maintained that no legislative, judicial or executive authority in any country can decide, determine or prescribe religious beliefs for an individual or a group.

At the outset of the proceeding, the attorney for the appellants, Retired Judge Fakhruddin Ibrahim, told the court that he had come not to seek a judgment as to whether Ahmadis should be called Muslims or not. What the appellants sought from the Court was the restoration of their basic rights guaranteed under Article 20 of the Constitution of Pakistan. It was argued that the provisions of Ordinance XX of 1984 were:

  • against basic human rights,
  • oppressively unjust,
  • vague and unclear; and
  • blatantly discriminatory.

The Supreme Court dismissed the appeals on the grounds that:

  • Ahmadis follow a "new" religion which cannot progress or expand on its own strength but has to rely on "deception".
  • Ahmadis cannot "pass off" their religion as Islam and usurp Islamic terms and epithets.
  • Ahmadis are not forbidden to "coin" their own phrases and epithets, etc.

The majority judgment argues that

"They (Ahmadis) have no right to use the epithets etc. and the Shaair-i-Islam (customs and rites of Islam) which are exclusive to Muslims and they (Ahmadis) have been rightly denied their use by law."

The majority judgment further holds that

"The legislation was, therefore, necessary which in any way does not interfere with the religious freedom of Ahmadis, for it only prohibits them from using those epithets etc. on which they have no claim of any nature. It does not prohibit them from coining their own.

This advice confirms the opinion of the International Commission of Jurists:

"In effect, therefore, the religious freedom they are offered is for a religion which is not their own." (ICJ Report, 1987).

The judgment thus denies Ahmadis the religious practices which have earlier been declared by the courts to be their religious practices and effectively entrenches the persecution of Ahmadis in Pakistani law.

The five parts of section 10e that follow are the full text of the judgment of the court.

Previous -> Discriminatory Laws - D. Text of order Banning Centenary Celebrations Table of Contents Top of Page Next - Supreme Court Judgment - Comments of Justice Shafiur Rahman
Last modified: 4 November 1994
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