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July 17 2014 5 17 /07 /July /2014 19:01

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Americans celebrate Christmas still even though America’s Left has made inroads in eradicating the birth of Jesus Christ a holiday by law. Thank God most businesses close on Christmas day. However, largely due to the Constitution’s First Amendment, observing Christian as an act of faith is purely a voluntary decision. Hence even when a majority of businesses close on Christmas days a significant amount of restaurants open for service to take advantage of profiting from the majority of restaurants that close in observance of Christians. No one is jailed or fined for operating any business on Christmas day and neither is anyone tossed in jail or fined for being a consumer.

 

This not the case in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Of course Christmas is not a national holiday; however the Muslim observed month of Ramadan is. AND in Pakistan there is legal punishment involved for breaking the rules of the daytime fast encoded in Sharia Law. Pakistan’s constitution places certain exceptions which I won’t go into but one of those exceptions is that non-Muslims do not have to comply with the Ramadan (Ramzan in Pakistan) rules of fast. NONETHELESS, Christians are often subject to Ramadan enforcement anyway. Shamim Masih reports.

 

JRH 7/17/14

************************************

Enforcing Respect of Ramadan by Ordinance

 

By Shamim Masih

Sent: 7/16/2014 8:51 PM

 

ISLAMABAD: Islamic Republic of Pakistan, a sovereign country in South Asia with a population exceeding 180 million people, came into being as a result of the Pakistan movement led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah. It is the second most populous Muslim majority country and has the second largest Shia population in the world. After Islam, [both] Christianity and Hinduism are the largest religious minorities in the country. Religious minorities are around 5% of the total population. Pakistan is a democratic country but the common man remains deprived of the basic human rights, which is a sheer violation of the constitution.

 

During General Zia’s regime the “Ehtram-e-Ramzan ordinance 1981” [Reverence for Ramadan] was introduced and with the rise to power of PML-N, they brought back to some extent, the same straitjacket religiosity of dark years. This ordinance is one of the many incomprehensible laws that General Zia ul-Haq’s unconstitutional and illegal regime [The Islamization of the Legal System under General Zia ul Haq] inflicted upon Pakistan. It is perhaps very similar to the Sabbath laws of Jews and Christians, which at one point enjoyed state sanction in many secular western nations including the US. But most of these states have since then repealed these laws or have made them redundant. But this ordinance is there and the government reminds the public that it is unlawful to eat, drink or smoke publicly during the month of Ramazan [aka Ramadan]. The law states that any person who is under obligation to fast is not allowed to eat drink or smoke in public.

 

Now this in itself creates two exceptions: the first would be a person who is not under obligation i.e. a person who is either a non-Muslim, sick, elderly or is a woman who may be menstruating. However, the application of this law has more often than not targeted non-Muslims because, in practical terms, it is impossible to tell whether a person is ‘under obligation’ to ‘fast’ just by looking at the person. The second exception is for those people under obligation to not eat, drink or smoke in public. So, in other words, it is okay for a person under obligation to fast to eat, drink and smoke so long as he or she does it privately. Now the logical extension of this would be that a person not under obligation can eat, drink or smoke as he or she pleases. It goes without saying that this legal freedom is not honored by the police who target the poorest of the poor in enforcing this law. It is quite the sightseeing laborers being hauled into jail for a mere drink of water during these extremely hot months of June and July. Then there is the obvious question of whether or not the state has any right, constitutionally, legally or morally to determine who is under an obligation to fast or not. Pakistan’s constitution, in terms of its relationship with Islam, is an enabling and not an enforcing constitution. The state is required to enable Muslims to live Islamic lives but not to force them to do so. No article of the constitution empowers the state to force people to pray, fast or live according to the injunctions of Islam. Hence the question of whether a person is under any obligation to fast or not be a matter between him and God, and not between the state and the citizen.

 

Surely time has come for the people of Pakistan plus the government to realize that religious observance is usually personal matter but not insurance plan one. It really is time for you to bury Zia’s legacy along with his remains in Faisal mosque. The 1st step would be to scrap his illegal ordinance given cover from the eighth amendment.  

 

Be Blessed,

Shamim Masih

______________________________

Edited by John R. Houk.

All text and links enclosed by bracket are added by the Editor

 

© Shamim Masih

Special Correspondents

Daily Khabrian (PakBiz.com description) & Channel - 5

Human Rights Activist

 

Snapshot of Human Rights Activism from 2011

Christian Rights Activist
Freelance Journalist
 

Secretary General of Information 

Pakistan Christian Congress

 

Shamim Masih’s Donate/Support info:

 

Editor: For Americans especially, I have discovered the best way to donate to Shamim Masih is via Western Union sending to a Western Union agent in Islamabad. Include Shamim’s phone - +92-300-642-4560

 

FOR USD TRANSFER.
Intermediary Bank:
                        MASHREQ BANK, NEW YORK
Intermediary Bank SWIFT BIC:
        MSHQUS33
Beneficiary Bank:
                        JS BANK LIMITED
Beneficiary Bank SWIFT BIC:
                JSBLPKKA
Bank A/c # at Intermediary bank:
        70008227
Title Of a/c
                               Shamim Masih
Beneficiary Account Number:
                405527

Top of Form

IBAN #                                        pk80jsbl9530000000405227


FOR GBP TRANSFER.
Intermediary Bank:
                        MASHREQ BANK, LONDON
Intermediary Bank SWIFT BIC:
        MSHQGB2L
Beneficiary Bank:
                        JS BANK LIMITED
Beneficiary Bank SWIFT BIC:
                JSBLPKKA
Bank A/c # at Intermediary bank:
        00010855
Title Of a/c
                               Shamim Masih
Beneficiary Account Number:
                405527
IBAN #
                                       pk80jsbl9530000000405227



FOR EURO TRANSFER.
Intermediary Bank:
                        MASHREQ BANK, LONDON
Intermediary Bank SWIFT BIC:
        MSHQGB2L
Beneficiary Bank:
                        JS BANK LIMITED
Beneficiary Bank SWIFT BIC:
                JSBLPKKA
Bank A/c # at Intermediary bank:
        10847
Title Of a/c
                               Shamim Masih
Beneficiary Account Number:
                405527
IBAN #
                                     
 pk80jsbl9530000000405227 Bottom of Form

 

 

 

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