JUI-F MNA questions why minorities could not be PM or president

Published: June 14, 2014
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Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) MNA Asiya Nasir. PHOTO: TMN

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) MNA Asiya Nasir. PHOTO: TMN

ISLAMABAD: Representation of minorities in the Parliament has been a topic of debate for quite some time and was discussed in the National Assembly session on Saturday.

The issue was raised by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) MNA Asiya Nasir, who questioned the constitutional provision that puts a bar on minorities from holding the office of prime minister as well as that of the president.

“Article 25 of the Constitution says all men and women are equal but at the same time non-Muslims cannot hold the office of prime minister as well as that of the president … this is not acceptable to us,” remarked the JUI-F MNA.

Addressing the National Assembly during the budget debate with empty treasury and opposition benches, Nasir said that she was the first minority member who was given the opportunity to speak on the budget but she was not interested as the government had presented a ‘traditional budget’.

She also stated that the budget was similar to previous budgets and did not have anything meaningful for minorities.

“Discrimination against minorities has no end and incidents of violence are on the rise. We have drifted away from Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s Pakistan,” she added.

The JUI-F MNA also pointed out that the 18th constitutional amendment had devolved their ministry to a provincial level due to which there was no uniform policy; all four provinces have different policies regarding minorities.  She suggested that the government should have a ministry for the minorities at the Centre.

The JUI-F member also referred to another constitutional provision, Article 22 and said that non-Muslim students were being taught subjects against their will and the school curriculum had hate material against minorities included in it.

Commenting on laws related to blasphemy, Nasir remarked that “Christians are being targeted”.

“Number of blasphemy cases against Christians was increasing every day but not a single person, who had misused the laws [against minorities], had ever been punished,” she added.

Terrorism

Earlier, Dr Nafisa Shah from the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) urged the government to increase the share of provinces who were fighting against terrorism by one percent. “The war has shifted from FATA to other parts of the country,” she stated.

“Quetta, Karachi and Peshawar are going to be the next Waziristan but the government has not allocated anything for internal security. Perhaps this is the reason that Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan was unhappy with his own government,” she added.

“It is difficult for the government to collect tax but easy for terrorists to collect extortion,” she lamented.

She said that the government did not have a National Security Policy and was confused whether or not to carry out an operation against the terrorists despite the fact that peace talks had virtually ended.

Budget

While talking about the budget, she said that it was nothing but dictates of International Monetary Fund (IMF) which has asked the government to reduce budget deficit, increase taxes and forex reserves, and to spend money on the poor through the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP).

Shah also criticized the government for collecting Rs140 billion for Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) rather than giving it to the provinces: “Depriving provinces of their rights is a violation of the constitution as we do not even know that this money will go to Pak-Iran gas pipeline,” she claimed.

Naveed Gabol from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) was another member from the opposition who censured the government. Referring to the budget documents as “big books”, he said: “I have never read such big books despite the fact I have witnessed the presentation of as much as 25 budgets.”

It was business as usual with opposition members criticizing the government and a handful of treasury members eulogizing their government’s achievements and praising their leader Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after every second sentence.

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Reader Comments (38)

  • Anon
    Jun 14, 2014 - 4:24PM

    The reason why non Muslims are cant be elected to the office of the President or PM is because of Religious intolerance of JUI, JI and other extremist religious fanatics who have hijacked what was supposed to be a secular democracy… And since there is something in scripture about not taking Jews and Christians (non-Muslims) as friends and protectors…. that rules out minorities from leadership positions… Recommend

  • Jibran
    Jun 14, 2014 - 4:48PM

    Very bold statement. On the other hand we had the radicals like Iftikhar Chaudhry, who had the nerves to call themselves jurists, but remarked that if the parliament makes it legal for the non-muslims to be the head of the state, they won’t allow it.

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  • Ashraf
    Jun 14, 2014 - 4:53PM

    Minorities should be happy they still have their life.

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  • PrasadDeccani
    Jun 14, 2014 - 4:59PM

    …..because you don’t even let those MNAs live, leave alone letting them become PM or President.

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  • Chachoo
    Jun 14, 2014 - 5:08PM

    Also in Pakistan we have a separate electorate System for Non Muslims and that is a sheer discrimination as well. Just imagine a Muslim living in America or Europe will be separated from the Normal Electorate system based on his or her religion ?
    Anyway It is pretty interesting that Muslims in Minority always love Secularism ( In Europe, America, India etc ) but in Majority ( Saudia, Iran, Pakistan , Yemen, Afghanistan etc) they become the biggest enemy of Secularism?

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  • Nikki
    Jun 14, 2014 - 5:09PM

    Understood, Islamic Republic Pakistan cnt have non-Muslim head.No debate

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  • Amanda
    Jun 14, 2014 - 5:14PM

    @JUI-F MNA n Article 25
    It’s interesting to note MNA A. Nasir’s out of all the important mess around country n her, choose debating Why a non-Muslim can’t be the President or PM, above all refer to Article 25. One should laugh or cry of this MNA’s logic. It would be much advisable for her to do her job n help minorities, at least earn her salaries n benefits as MNA than diverting important issues to such a odd issue.

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  • Jameel ur Rasheed
    Jun 14, 2014 - 5:18PM

    She was my teacher in High School. :)

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  • Ehsan
    Jun 14, 2014 - 5:23PM

    Madam ask maulana, He will answer you. It is an Islamic republic with 98% of Muslim population.

    @Indian trolls… I have not heard about any Muhammadan PM of republic of india. So shut up.

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  • Its (still) Economy Stupid
    Jun 14, 2014 - 5:31PM

    @Amanda:
    At least this MNA should apluaded for guts to ask question. I think she should also ask why Ahmadis are not accepted as Muslim. If religion and government are suppose to be arms length why the definition of Muslim should be under constitution.

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  • Chachoo
    Jun 14, 2014 - 5:34PM

    @Ehsan: I am a Pakistani and we cannot compare our country with India. In Indian constitution there is no such clause that hinders the development of Minorities ( Muslims, Christians, Atheists etc.). Indian Missile Program’s head was a Muslim and later he became the President of India. Also Indian Muslims are allowed to do Tableegh, Proselytizing and other activities but in Pakistan Proselytizing by Non Muslims is not allowed. Also Azaan is allowed in the whole of India but Christian churches are not allowed to ring the bells every hour in Pakistan. In the Pakistani Constitution we have simply closed the doors for Non Muslims to get any Top Position.

    Secondly the argument that if we have 98 percent Muslims then the talk of Minorities does not make sense is idiotic since countries like America have less than 2 percent Muslims but still they enjoy all the equal rights.

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  • Jun 14, 2014 - 5:49PM

    as per constitution .All men and Women are equal.
    As per gen Zia ul Haq’s Constitution non-muslims are not men-women. They are just something.

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  • water bottle
    Jun 14, 2014 - 5:54PM

    @Chachoo:

    Well said. You are a rare Pakistani with some meat between your ears.

    Respect.

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  • Zig
    Jun 14, 2014 - 5:55PM

    Minorities should have equal rights and should absolutely be allowed to become pm and prez,

    Well done lady, please pursue an amendment so pakistani minorities who have worked hard for the country can get the top job also

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  • Voice Of D.I.Khan
    Jun 14, 2014 - 6:50PM

    Minorities should be thankful that Pakistani Muslims especially from a particular sect are letting them live in Pakistan …!!!!

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  • vinsin
    Jun 14, 2014 - 7:06PM

    @Ehsan:
    No one has stand for it so how come you can see it. Also there is no guarantee that after coming to power he/she won’t wipe all non-muslims or funds jihad in India. Most the Indians Muslims MP support radical islam and forced conversion.

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  • Raj
    Jun 14, 2014 - 7:13PM

    @ehsan
    There has not been a Tamil, Keralite, Marati, Bengali Hindu PM in India. Very hard for Pakistani mindset to digest. If a Muslim leader arises, Indians will happily elect a Muslim PM.

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  • Saleem
    Jun 14, 2014 - 7:58PM

    Please give them a chance to live first. It is fanatics from JI and your party who are after their lives. If you have a courage and wants to do something about minorities then stand up and tell these two parties to change their way, or you should resign as a protest.

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  • Jun 14, 2014 - 8:53PM

    @Ehsan
    Every big position was occupied by minority person in just last decade(leave the 60 years, list will be huge) itself. President, Vice President, speaker, attorney general, Air chief, military chief, Chief justice, chief election commissioner, Constitution doesnt stop anyone to become PM.

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  • hammad
    Jun 14, 2014 - 10:17PM

    For your kind information this country is not a secular state and not meant to be either, it has been created to be an Islamic Republic

    Quaid-e-Azam Clearly stated that this is not going to be c=secular state
    Neither Allama Iqbal Gave the idea of a secular state

    In an islamic Republic the head of the state can not be non-muslim
    we can not give access of our most sensitive information and power to non-muslims

    so those who dont like it to be a islamic state i think they dont agree with the very existence of this country

    Thanks

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  • Jun 14, 2014 - 11:54PM

    Best thing is, she took oath to follow the same constitution right? Anyways, all Pakistani Christians know that it is just a political statement. Why didnt she speak about a seperate Christian education system or university… because she doesnt have a vision right :)

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  • Raj - USA
    Jun 15, 2014 - 2:45AM

    This provision in Pakistan’s constitution that says that only muslims can be PM or President of Pakistan is stupid. Pakistan is a country where muslims comprise 98% of its population. What realistic chances are there for a non-muslim who just form 2% of its population to become its PM or President? If anyone can break all these barriers and come up to that level, he/she should be praised and honored. Such a person would have taken Pakistan to unprecedented heights of success.

    Are the 98% muslims of Pakistan so much afraid of their 2% minority?

    MNA Asiya Nasir’s statement is good but I would rather be happy if she had said something to remove the hate for minorities that is preached in school text books, more so in government schools.

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  • Rashid Khan
    Jun 15, 2014 - 3:17AM

    [email protected] would she want a seperate education system or education. You seem to be missing the point about education, unfortunately you’ve been educated in system which promotes ignorance despite the degrees and certificate it churns out.

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  • Np
    Jun 15, 2014 - 7:10AM

    @Ehsan:
    Well there has been one non-Hindu Prime Minster – Manmohan Singh and there have been several non-Hindu Presidents of which 3 were Muslims and one was Sikh. Percentage of Sikhs in India is as small as non-Muslims in Pakistan. So your logic handed back to you.

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  • someone
    Jun 15, 2014 - 9:29AM

    @Ehsan:
    Ever heard of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. He was the Indian president, nominated by BJP. Now, could you please let me know last Hindu/Sikh/Christian/Ahmadi holding such high office in Pakistan?

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  • Mirza
    Jun 15, 2014 - 10:14AM

    It is great that A. Nasir is making bold statement while in JUI. Kudos to this brave lady to demand equality in a country “famous” for depriving its poor citizens, minorities and women their basic rights. I can empathize with this minority woman who is born with two strikes against her in our land of pure. What a shame it took a brave lady from JUI to raise her voice and not our “new leaders”. Of course one can hear the statements when it comes to the softness toward the TTP and other terrorist killers.

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  • water bottle
    Jun 15, 2014 - 11:18AM

    @someone:

    Thanks for turning pro-Indian. Good for you.

    Or are you someone who is someone other than someone?

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  • hella
    Jun 15, 2014 - 12:55PM

    Wonder why minorities aka non-muslims live in Pakistan, where in addition to constitutional discrimination even life, cultural and religious beliefs and property are at risk.

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  • INDIAN
    Jun 15, 2014 - 1:56PM

    @Ehsan:
    My dear friend, In India sikh is a minority with 2% population and we had MANMOHAN SINGH as PRIME MINISTER of INDIA for 10 years. Also we had Abdul kalam has president of india and there are many christian n muslims holding Governor post in India. So better educate yourself nand then comment on INDIAN DEMOCRACY plz.Recommend

  • Jun 15, 2014 - 2:04PM

    @Ehsan:
    My dear friend, In India sikh is a minority with 2% population and we had MANMOHAN SINGH as PRIME MINISTER of INDIA for 10 years. Also we had Abdul kalam as president of india and there are many christian n muslims holding Governor post in India. So better educate yourself and then comment on INDIAN DEMOCRACY plz.

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  • Jun 15, 2014 - 2:07PM

    @hammad:
    YET u want secularism in muslim minority nation…

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  • Indian Observer
    Jun 15, 2014 - 4:43PM

    @Ehsan:

    You don’t have any right to call yourself a democratic country if you practice what the world calls “religious apartheid”, except that the white South Africans practicing racial segregation were a much kinder and more liberal lot than cave people like you whose blindfolded mindset fail to see that you are becoming a nation of beggars and despotic barbarians (you have the temerity to tell people to “shut up” when your own house is in a mess, yet you talk about Muslim “persecution” in India when the Muslim population is, perhaps, the best looked after in the entire world because of the tolerance and liberal-mindedness of the majority). Also, show me one Muslim country today that is at peace with its own Muslims (let alone minorities who are systematically eliminated by subtle and not so subtle means). You have Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Syria, etc. Saudi Arabia would have long perished had it not been for its oil wealth. Pakistan, of course, shines out as the most “outstanding” amongst this group of nations. No wonder, the world shuns you. That should be a mirror to make you see your true face and, hopefully, have some effect on your peanut-sized brain.

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  • Shaikh Mohommad
    Jun 15, 2014 - 4:49PM

    Good Question. Are we living in cloud cuckoo land? Minorities have no rights. What about the majority? Have they rights? Every now and then civilian governments are over-thrown by the Military. We should first eliminate the possibility of Military takeovers and then we can discuss the issue of minorities and majorities. First thing first – as they say.

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  • Raj - USA
    Jun 15, 2014 - 7:19PM

    Continuing on my previous comment, Pakistanis do not know why Dr. Abdul Kalam is so much loved by all Indians in India. It is not because he was the man behind India’s missile technology. It is because of the inspiration he provided to all Indians through his thoughts. He was constantly motivating the children and youth tremendously in every speech he made and all his interactions with the general public. He came from a very humble background and was delivering newspapers house-to-house in the mornings to meet his ends ……. just like the humble beginning of the current Prime Minister Modi who many insultingly call “Chaiwala”. Like Modi, Dr. Kalam also had no property and was a bachelor. Dr. Kalam was the most powerful President India has ever had. No other President of India had wisely used the Presidential powers so diligently, wisely and impartially.

    Who knows how many hindu, christian or sikh Dr. Kalam’s Pakistan could have produced but missed out?

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  • Mega
    Jun 15, 2014 - 7:30PM

    @ehsan. Dude under indian constitution no religion/caste/creed/race/culture is barred from holding any office be govt post, judiciary,civil service,defence etc. Our constitution is secular in nature. Everyone is allowed to practice, follow propagate their religion or even convert people. Anyone can aspire to become what he wants in india. The current governor of delhi is Muslim. So is our Vice President, external affair spokesperson. Previous MMS govt had Muslim health and foreign minister. This apart from many who held president, civil service other field post from various religion.
    Google current and former Chief ministers of 30 states of india you will know how many woman,oppressed caste, tribals and different religion people were and are current CM of their state. Our current PM is also of backward caste just saying.

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  • Jun 15, 2014 - 11:31PM

    because they create a Syria for everyone, no wonder your party never wins … you guys are absolutely unaware or everything using the islamic tag to win votes and money

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  • Gurion
    Jun 16, 2014 - 11:08AM

    …because, Islam.

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  • raj
    Jun 16, 2014 - 1:48PM

    @ehsan.. forget about list of past, at present vice president of India, Shri M. Hamid Ansari is Muslim, deputy chairman of planning commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia belongs to Sikh community and chief of top intelligence agency of India i. e. IB is S.A. Ibrahim belongs to Muslim community……

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