A constitutional petition was filed on Friday in the Supreme Court of Pakistan seeking the disqualification of Interior Minister, Senator Rehman Malik, over incorrect recitation of Quranic verses.
It is alleged that the interior minister, during a recent cabinet meeting reportedly created an embarrassing situation when he failed to recite Surah Ikhlas despite three attempts. The surah is one of the most well-known in the Holy Quran.
Advocate Tariq Asad has filed the petition under Article 184(3) of the Constitution, making the federal government, the prime minister, chief election commissioner, chairman senate and the interior minister respondents in the case.
He petitioned the apex court to declare Interior Minister Rehman Malik ineligible to be a member of the bi-cameral legislature. He does not qualify for senate, as he is ignorant of the fundamentals of Islam and should therefore be disqualified under article 62 and 63 of the Constitution, he has pleaded.
The advocate stated that in the cabinet meeting on December 29 when Rehman Malik was asked to recite the Holy Quran, the participants “burst into laughter” at his attempts.
The petitioner suspected that the Interior Minister may not be Muslim and therefore suggested that he be asked to recite Kalima Tauheed and Kalima Shahadat and say the obligatory prayers.
He further submitted that his ignorance of Kalima Tauheed had proven that the Interior Minister was not pre-qualified to contest parliamentary elections under Article 62 according to which a candidate’s eligibility to contest the elections for Senate hinges on his fulfilling all the qualifications including clause (e) which specifies that he has adequate knowledge of Islamic teachings and that he practises obligatory duties prescribed by Islam.
“He could not recite Surah Ikhlas even from the paper in front of him which proves that he is not is not well-versed with the Holy Quran nor can he say his prayers. He does not qualify, therefore, under Article 62 of the Constitution. After his election, he stands disqualified under Article 63 (1) (p) thereof”, the petitioner contended.
Advocate Asad argued that the Chief Election Commissioner is legally obliged under clause 2 of Article 63 of the Constitution to refer the matter to the Chairman Senate for Malik’s disqualification from the Senate.
He requested the apex court to direct the Prime Minister to remove Rehman Malik from the cabinet as well.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 1st, 2011.