Islamic Republic of Pakistan

President and Prime Minister are claiming that with the passage of 18th Amendment, the 1973 constitution has been restored to its original form. I think this is not true because as long as the 1973 constitution has the amendments that carry General Zias name, it cannot be termed as having been 'restored nor would it be proclaimed to correspond with Jinnahs vision of Pakistan. The Zia amendments were aimed at making Pakistan a theocratic state and had empowered the religious forces to dictate the policies of country. The constitution, even with the incorporation of the 18th Amendment, still does not guarantee that there be no discrimination among citizens on basis of their faith and sect. Pakistan is dominated by a bigoted brigade of religious leaders that have caused a disconnect between the state and citizens through discriminatory laws like blasphemy which institutionalize religious persecution but are still part of the constitution. The Charter of Medina, the worlds first written codecall it a constitution if you willgranted equal rights of citizenship to Muslims and Jews. The visionary who proposed and enforced it, the Prophet of Islam, is the ideal leader of Pakistani state in theory. But the concept of equality of citizens that he laid down has been ignored by our constitution and our political leaders. What we have right now is a document mutilated by various military dictators over time. It is time to purge the constitution of all clauses and articles that make religion business of the state and do not let it grant equal rights to all citizens, irrespective of their faith. -ENGR. S.T. HUSSAIN, Lahore, June 22.

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