Pakistan Urdu Press: April 1-15, 2013
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  • The Ideology of Pakistan as well as Article 62 and 63 of Pakistani Constitution, (particularly clauses d, e and f of Article 62), have been the most debated issues in the country’s vernacular media during the last few weeks. Some candidates were disqualified by the Returning Officers, who scrutinize the nomination papers of candidates for 2013 general elections, for not conforming to Ideology of Pakistan and on the charges of violating Article 62 and 63. The Pakistani media and opinion columnist seemed divided over the issue; while some including Islamist leaning Ummat have favoured strict implementation of the Constitution, the Jang has suggested moderation and balanced approach on this issue. Hamid Mir suggests defining the Ideology of Pakistan while Ayaz Amir, whose nomination papers were rejected initially, calls for challenging the “old thoughts”.

    Select capable persons rather than angels for contesting elections: Jang

    Editorial, April 3, 2013.

    The Jang editorial on this controversy over the Article 62 and 63 says, “The general election is round the corner and all the political and religious parties are actively participating in it. Some of the political parties have some reservation on Article 62 and Article 63 of the Constitution and in their view some of the candidates do not qualify to contest election.” The Daily opines that there are provisions in the law to bar the corrupt people from elections but elections process may be affected if people would be “scrutinized on the basis of their views on religion and sects.” It states that “Islam has also taught us moderation and balanced approach. Extreme approach will not serve any purpose.” Against this backdrop, the Daily suggest the contesting parties not to take any step which could lead to disqualification of candidates of other groups. This will generate feeling of revenge among the parties and cause confrontations. In its concluding remarks the Daily opines that this issue should be approached moderately and focus should be on choosing “capable persons” rather than “angels” for the next elections.

    Pakistan’s secular class has ignored all the speeches of Jinnah except one: Ummat

    Editorial, April 8, 2013.

    The Ummat Urdu Daily has taken a contrary view. It writes, “By asking some unnecessary questions to those who filed nominations, some of the Returning Officers gave a chance to raise objections. Especially those who want to create a secular Pakistan seemed very upset. They had reservations about being tested on about basic tenets of Islam. They were angry as they were asked to explain Nazariya-e- Pakistan (ideology of Pakistan).” The Daily states that it is the view of those who oppose this move that the country does not have a basic ideology and Islam cannot be Pakistan’s ideology. This group quotes founder of Pakistan Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s one speeches where he said that after the establishment of Pakistan every citizen of Pakistan will have the right to observe their religions and visit their places of worships.

    The Daily opines that those who “hate Islam” quote from only one speech of Jinnah whereas in all of his other speeches and statements, Jinnah had stated that Pakistan would be founded on the teachings and ideals of Islam. The secular class has ignored all those speeches of founder of the nation.

    Strict implementation of Article 62 and 63 would have ensured entry of good politicians in Pakistani Parliament: Ummat

    Editorial, April 12, 2013.

    In yet another editorial, the Ummat Urdu Daily writes that since the start of the election process Article 62 and 63 were most debatable issue. It believes, “A strict implementation of these articles would have ensured entry of good politicians into the parliament.” Because of some unnecessary questioning of the candidates by the Returning Officers, the court intervened into the matter. As a result of this, “some of the drunkards, film heroines, and tax evaders as well as those who wrote columns against Nazariya-e-Pakistan are contesting elections. Certain sections of the people have started questioning the entire election process.”

    The next Pakistani Parliament must define Nazariya-e-Pakistan: Hamid Mir

    Jang, Opinion, April 8, 2013.

    Hamid Mir describes the circumstances under which Ideology of Pakistan was included in Pakistani Constitution in an op-ed in the Jang Urdu Daily. He writes that in 1981, under General Zia’s regime “study of Pakistan” was introduced as an essential subject in government schools but without defining the Nazariya-e-Pakistan (Ideology of Pakistan). In 1985, during the same Zia regime, Pakistan Assembly included some controversial Articles including Articles 62 and 63. These articles stipulated that those who do not believe in Ideology of Pakistan can not be trustworthy and honest and have no awareness of Islamic teachings. Further, it was declared that such person will be liable for Gunah-e- Kabira (larger sins) and cannot become a Member of Parliament. Mir points out that General Zia used Article 62 and 63 as instruments for denying the political opponents an entry in the Parliament.

    He opines, “It is sad that Assemblies after Zia maintained silence on this issue. In 2008, Pakistani Assembly amended some of the provisions from the Constitution that were added during Zia regime, but left the Articles 62 and 63 untouched. During the nomination process for 2013 elections, some of the Returning Officers have asked questions about Nazariya-e- Pakistan and they have rejected nomination papers of those candidates who could not give satisfactory answers. They also cancelled nomination paper of Muslim League (N) candidate Ayaz Amir on the basis that he has written two opinion articles that goes against Nazariya-e-Pakistan.

    Against the backdrop of these developments, Mir opines that Nazariya-e-Pakistan is neither secularism nor religious extremism. He states that Jinnah had “realized Pakistan through a democratic and political struggle and believed in supremacy of the Constitution and the law.” In his Pakistan “there is no scope of hating someone who espouses secularism and neither there is a place for issuing edicts in the name of Islam.” In Jinnah’s Nazariya-e-Pakistan safeguarding non-Muslims rights is one of the important responsibilities of the state and for this reason, Jogindernath Mandal, a Hindu was appointed as first law minister of Pakistan. He sums up by stating that Nazariya-e-Pakistan is in fact is a faith, unity and organization. Nazariya-e-Pakistan is also about tolerance and moderation. There is a need to further debate on Nazariya-e-Pakistan and the next “parliament must define it.”

    Let us challenge “old thoughts”: Ayaz Amir

    Jang, Opinion, April 13, 2013.

    Ayaz Amir, whose nomination papers were rejected for writing op-ed against Nazariya-e-Pakistan, writes in an opinion column in Jang Urdu Daily that “we have created an atmosphere in this country where people fear arguming on the basis of logic. This is a country where flower petals are showered on Mumtaz Qadri and where laws are misused.

    He adds that Pakistan is not a semi-tribal society but has an established judicial system that is why we approached the court to rectify the mistakes committed by the Returning Officers.”

    “The lesson from this episode”, Amir writes, “is that if laws are misused, we should not keep quite. We should not remain mute spectators but raise voices with full energy and should not fear to speak against the hardliners.” If we stand firm, we can win half the war but if we keep quite for short term interests then we will lose the war and we will have no arguments. Because of our silence, a few people promoting old thoughts have become self proclaimed leaders of Pakistan. There is no doubt that there are some provisions regarding the ideology and we could have deleted it had we thought of it.

    Concluding the article he states that “the founders of Pakistan had set some high goals for the country. Without going deep into those ideas we can run Pakistan in the light of Mr. Jinnah’s ideology. There is no need to dig up the past; we can establish country’s system based on positive attitude and ideals of justice. We should have some courage and firmness. As regards the group (promoting old thoughts) we should laugh them off. This is the only way to treat them.”

    Article 62 of the Pakistan Constitution

    Article 62 Qualifications for membership of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament).---(l) A person shall not be qualified to be elected or chosen as a member of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) unless
    (a) he is a citizen of Pakistan;
    (b) he is, in the case of the National Assembly, not less than twenty- five years of age and is enrolled as a voter in any -electoral roll in­---
    (i) any part of Pakistan, for election to a general seat or a seat reserved for a non-Muslims; and
    (ii) any area in a Province from which she seeks membership for election to a seat reserved for women.
    (c) he is, in the case of the Senate, not less than thirty years of age and is enrolled as a voter in any area in a Province or, as the case may be, the Federal Capital or the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, from where he seeks membership;
    (d) he is of good character and is not commonly known as one who violates Islamic Injunctions;
    (e) he has adequate knowledge of Islamic teachings and practices obligatory duties prescribed by Islam as well as well abstains from major sins;
    (f) he is sagacious, righteous, non-profligate, honest and ameen, there being no declaration to the contrary by a court of law; and
    (g) he has not, after the establishment of Pakistan, worked against the integrity of the country or opposed the ideology of Pakistan:
    (2) The disqualifications specified in paragraphs (d) and (e) shall not apply to a person who is a non-Muslim, but such a person shall have good moral reputation.]