The National Assembly on Thursday unanimously passed 'The Election (Amendment) Bill, 2017' to restore original form of the nomination paper regarding Khatam-e-Nabuwat (Finality of Prophethood) and Clauses 7B and 7C of Conduct of the General Election Order 2002 relating to the status of Ahmadis.
Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid tabled 'The Election (Amendment) Bill, 2017' in the house for its passage. The house passed the amendment in 'Election Act, 2017' unanimously to restore the original Khatm-e-Nabuwat oath which the lawmakers are required to take. Zahid Hamid said the declaration contained in the nomination paper would be restored to its original form through the amendment in the Election Act, 2017.
He clarified that nobody can even think of impacting in any manner the provision regarding the Finality of Prophethood of Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH). He said the amendment in the Election Act 2017 will also restore Clauses 7B and 7C of Conduct of the General Election Order 2002 relating to status of Ahmadis. Zahid Hamid pointed out that the Election Bill 2017 was framed by a parliamentary committee, which held about 125 meetings in three years to reach the consensus document.
The original shape of Form-A relating to a candidate's belief in the Finality of the Prophethood of Muhammad (PBUH) will be restored through this amendment. The amendment passed by the Lower House of the Parliament would also restore the Clauses 7B and 7C of Conduct of the General Election Order 2002 in section 241 of the Election Act, 2017.
The Clauses 7B and 7C inserted in the Election Act 2017 read as:
"7B. Status of Ahmadis etc. to remain unchanged. - Notwithstanding anything contained in the Electoral Rolls Act, 1974, (XXI of 1974), the Electoral Rolls, Rules, 1974, or any other law for the time being in force, including the Forms prescribed for preparation of electoral rolls on joint electorate basis in pursuance of Article 7 of the Conduct of General Elections Order, 2002 (Chief Executive's Order No. 7 of 2002), the status of Quadiani Group or the Lahori Group (who call themselves 'Ahmadis' or by any other name) or a person who does not believe in the absolute and unqualified Finality of the Prophethood of Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him), the last of the prophets or claimed or claims to be a prophet, in any sense of the word or of any description whatsoever, after Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) or recognizes such a claimant as a prophet or a religious reformer shall remain the same as provided in the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973."
"7C.- If a person has got himself enrolled as voter and objection is filed before the Revising Authority notified under the Electoral Rolls Act, 1974, within ten days from issuance of the Conduct of General Elections (Second Amendment) Order, 2002, that such a voter is not a Muslim, the Revising Authority shall issue a notice to him to appear before it within fifteen days and require him to sign a declaration regarding his belief about the absolute and unqualified finality of the Prophethood of Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) in Form-IV prescribed under the Electoral Rolls Rules, 1974. In case he refuses to sign the declaration as aforesaid, he shall be deemed to be a non-Muslim and his name shall be deleted from the joint electoral rolls and added to a supplementary list of voters in the same electoral area as non-Muslim. In case the voter does not turn up in spite of service of notice, an ex party order may be passed against him."
Former Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Jamali of PML-N said, "I could not except that Law Minister Zahid Hamid will change the law regarding the Khatm-e-Nabuwat (Finality of Prophethood). The law minister was responsible for changing the law regarding Khatm-e-Nabuwat. Why didn't the minister read the bill thoroughly or was he instructed to change the law?"
Jamali said, "The minister has already said that he did not do this and the Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms has done so. If the committee did so then its members should be inquired bout it."
He said if the government has done so then the issue is no different from the Dawn Leaks. He said that responsibility must be fixed against those people who were responsible for changing the law.
Vice Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that any Muslim could not compromise on the issue of Khatam-e-Nabuwat. He also asked the government to determine who was responsible for it.
He said that Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif on Wednesday last asked Nawaz Sharif to sack those who were responsible for controversial changes in the law.
Sahibzada Tariq Ullah appreciated the government and all political parties for rectifying the mistake which was done intentionally or mistakenly. However, he also said that an inquiry should be conducted to fix responsibility.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2017