1973 Constitution an uneasy marriage between socialism and Islam, govt tells SC

Published: May 18, 2015
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The National Museum of Pakistan, Karachi, is displaying the original copy of the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan, bearing the signatures of the members of the then National Assembly who signed it. PHOTO: AYSHA SALEEM/EXPRESS

The National Museum of Pakistan, Karachi, is displaying the original copy of the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan, bearing the signatures of the members of the then National Assembly who signed it. PHOTO: AYSHA SALEEM/EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: The federal government told the Supreme Court on Monday that the 1973 Constitution was an ‘uneasy marriage between socialism and Islam’ which could never be successful. 

A 17-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Pakistan Nasirul Mulk, hearing the constitutional amendment case was told by the counsel for the federal government, Khalid Anwar, that Pakistan Peoples Party was the founder of the 1973 Constitution and the party won a majority on the basis of socialism, not religion, especially with the roti, kapra, makan slogan gaining currency.

Read: SC ponders over whether Pakistan can be declared a secular state

The court was told that Article 2 of the Constitution mentions Islam while Article 3 stated the elimination of exploitation, which was copied from Article 12 of the Soviet Union’s 1936 constitution.

Monday’s hearing was an interesting exchange on political philosophy and Pakistan’s history. When Anwar referred to the sociological philosophies of Karl Marx, Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh pointed out that he should also mention  Quaid-e-Azam’s speeches. Moreover, while talking about a letter written by Allama Iqbal, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan said that egalitarianism is also a part of Islam.

Read: NA, Senate pass 21st Constitutional Amendment, Army Act Amendment

On military courts, Anwar questioned if military courts could be established in the US despite the US Supreme Courts having immense power, then why could they not be established in Pakistan, whereby the apex court takes power from the Constitution.

Read: Constitution’s basic structure must be protected: Supreme Court

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Reader Comments (10)

  • Layman
    May 18, 2015 - 3:49PM

    And what are we doing with what ever Constitution we have, we have amended it 22 times in 60 years mostly for the benefit of corrupt politicians like removing the three time prime ministerial clause. US constitution has been amended only 15 times over the last two centuries..Recommend

  • Tamer
    May 18, 2015 - 5:01PM

    The marriage has definitely been an uneasy one. We must confess, a personal definition of both Socialism and Islam was begrudgingly accepted even though enforced by one man. Time to give it a complete overhaul or suffering under its umbrella will be everlasting. The onus lies on the denizens.

    To set a democratic process in motion, lets start with getting rid of the bicameral system. One voter, one vote, one house. Recommend

  • Asif Khan
    May 18, 2015 - 5:38PM

    Please make it a Secular Democratic Welfare State.Recommend

  • umiff
    May 18, 2015 - 8:59PM

    No doubht that My beloved pakistani brothers and sisters Are living under a government which give Them No Hope and help. They Are presurized. But you must be aware of foregin countryies goal to devastated our country and they do everything possiable to male pk a secular state by showing you that destruction they create in pkRecommend

  • Rizwan
    May 19, 2015 - 1:23AM

    Secularism and free markets are the only things that can turn this country around. Socialism has failed, and countries that use sharia are the most oppressive in the world.Recommend

  • Aftab
    May 19, 2015 - 6:01AM

    Religion based states are less progressive while secular states are more realistic and progressive. we muslims have dual standards. we it comes to philosophy of state for India, we favor secularism but when it comes for Pakistan, we reverse our priorities. The reality is amalgmation of religion with state has proved sucessful no where in the world. Combination of religion with state, make the prior to be used for politicle gains. Resultantly more bloodshed and atrocracies.Recommend

  • Rizwan
    May 19, 2015 - 9:38AM

    @umiff:
    The people trying to destroy the state are not secularists, but are Islamist. In fact, those Islamists are doing much more to push Pakistan towards secularism than any purported outside forces. The people are not stupid – we can see what Sharia looks like, and we do not want it.Recommend

  • Saad
    May 19, 2015 - 11:25AM

    @Layman:

    Please learn facts before commenting. Pakistani Constitution has not been amended 22 times. 22 is the number of bills that have been presented before Parliament. Three of the bills were withdrawn or lapsed, two were passed by dictators to consolidate power, first one was necessary to recognise Bangladesh and two to revise the perks and salaries of Judiciary.

    US Constitution is not comparable to Pakistan as US is a Union with only residual powers being held by the Federal government. Each State has its own Constitution which is routinely revised. Despite this US Constitution is has been amended over 30 times. Just for the reference Indian Constitution has had over hundred amendments, Thailand gets a new Constitution every decade or two and Britain doesn’t have one so it is thus amended with every legislation that is passed by the Parliament at Westminster.Recommend

  • sam
    May 19, 2015 - 4:16PM

    nothing better to do than just criticising the only agreed upon constitution. secular or not! how long will this debate continue. its seems we r not ready to move forward. and of course the supreme court is an institution that looks after every evil on the society but will never succeed to get rid of any evil.Recommend

  • Zubair Khan
    May 19, 2015 - 7:04PM

    Not an uneasy but mismatch marriage. Earlier both depart better for country. Let state to be secular and leave the religion as a matter between creation and Creator.Recommend

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