Blasphamy law: Why it is “invalid” and and which non-muslim MNAs have been “instrumentalized” for “approval”
Article 295a (blasphay law) of the Pakitan Penal Code has been inherited from 1935 Indian Constitution Act and has never been modified except in 80’s which General Zia-ul-Haq ammended it unconstitutionally because he himself was not elected if not by only 10% of the vote holders who did cast their vote without their National Identity Cards.
Following are the facts published in the research “Separate vs Joint Electorates system in Pakistan” of the Pakistan Christian Study Centre, CSC Publications, Rawalpindi, 2008, p. 31-34:
“Actually General Zia, while imposing the system of separate electorates, had justified it by asserting that the minorities themselves preferred it to the other system… In the meantime Zia initiated a strange referendum in 1984, for which he chose the system of joint electorates in order to secure a greater number of votes, as also to show that the minorities favoured him as the nation’s leader. The single question asked in the referendum was, “The people of Pakistan want an Islamic system to prevail in the country. If the answer is in the affirmative it will be presumed that they have elected General Zia ul Haq as President for five years”. The intelligence agencies had predicted that the action of the people would not be favourable, so a number of precautionary measures were adopted. For example, members of the defence forces and para-military organisations, civil servants and employees of local bodies, etc. were made to vote in favoure of the proposal by post. Members of the Majlis-e-Shoora were deputed to go into their constituencies and convicne the people to cast their votes in favour of the plan. A day before the polling it was announced that production of the national ID card would not be necessary for voting. Since this announcement was made without the knowledge of the Chief Election Commissioner, the latter expressed surprise at it. His surprise was duly reported in the press.
Despite all these helpful measures and precautions, very few people turned up at the polling booths. According to cautions estimates, the number who cast their votes was not more than ten per cent of the voting strength in the country. But the Chief Election Commissioner and the media gave out the figure as 60%. General Zia immediately announced that the nation had elected him head of state for five years and also given him the authority to amend the constitution. This was a novel and bizarre method to make an entirely irrelevant process of eliciting public opinion to take on the appearance of an election. It becae a standing joke in all parts of the country but Zia remained unmoved by the public ridicule that is evoked…
By his Presidential Order No. 16 of 1985, Zia had provided ten seats for the minorities in the National Assembly. Of these four were for the Christians, four for the Hindus, one jointly for the Parsees and Sikhs and one for the Ahmadis. For the Sindh assembly there were nine seats, out of which five were reserved for the Hindus, two for the Christians and one each for the Ahmadis and combined Sikhs-Parsees. In Balochistan there were just wo seats for the minorities, one going to the Christians and the other jointly to the Hindus, Sikhs and Parsees.
The following were declared successful from these seats: From Christians, N.M. Khokhar, Emanuel Zafar, Colonel W. Herbert and Captain Sanaullah. From Hindus/Scheduled Castes, Seth Chamandas, Gulgi, Bhagwan Das and Paroomal. The member who was to represent the Sikh- Buddhist – Parsee- Others combine was M.P. Bhandara. Nobody filed the nomination papers for the sole Ahmadi seat, so it was decided to allocate it to a non-Muslim Woman. The lady chosen for the purpose was Mrs. Leela Vanti and she became member of the National Assembly.”