…and a breath of fresh air for non-Muslims. “The Supreme Court annuls Islamic law,” from AsiaNews, with thanks to Nicolei:
Lahore (AsiaNews) — “We heartily welcome the Supreme Court’s decision to annul the Hasba Bill, a law against the freedom of the people,” said Archbishop Lawrence John Saldanha of Lahore archdiocese. Such was his reaction to a recent decision taken by Pakistan’s highest judicial body. He added that “this type of law goes against human nature and should always be condemned”.
On 4 August, the nine members of the court issued a judgement which nullified the law (a verdict elaborated later in a 106-page statement). The law had been approved on 14 July by the government of the North Western Frontier Province (NWFP, on the border with Afghanistan), establishing the figure of the mohtasib, a sort of religious ombudsman to monitor citizens” adherence to Islamic values. The prelate said: “In the detailed judgement, it is clearly written that no law can be allowed to interfere with the private life, personal thoughts and the individual beliefs of citizens.
“Islamic jurists are unanimous on the point that except for salat (prayer) and zakat (alms) no other religious obligation stipulated by Islam can be enforced by the state.”
The jurists defined the law as “discriminatory” and “unconstitutional” given that it allowed for the institution of an ombudsman “who interferes in the life of citizens” and that it foresaw “the setting up of judicial and executive offices on a par with those of the government”.