Sadiq and Ameen
Comment by S.R.H. Hashmi
Having seen Pakistan from inception and knowing the person that Quaid-e-Azam was, I would say his soul would be very unhappy in the grave over the detailed provisions of Articles 62 and 63.
Our misfortune has been that while Pakistanis started as moderate Muslims, our founding leaders soon departed or were made to depart. And over time, the Mullas who had even gone to the extent of calling Quaid-e-Azam a Kafir-e-Azam assumed the role of being custodians of Pakistan's ideology, with the maximum damage done to the country by the unbearded mulla Gen. Ziaul Haq who, among other ills, introduced extremism and terrorism in the country.
We know our religion has two distinct parts, namely duties to God and duties to people. And Quaid definiely believed, and so would the vast majority of thinking Pakistanis, that duties to God is more a matter between God and men or women. This becomes even more important in the present situation where religious matters have become the sole domain of narrow-minded, half-baked mullas. In such a situation, for worldly matters, these are duties to people which should really matter while determining the eligibility of Parliamentarians. And of course, the Parliamentarians which are the basic ingredient for government formation, must be judged far more rigidly because of their immense powers and control over state resources.
And on this basis, I would say that being Sadiq and Ameen should be fundamental qualification for Parliamentarians, as also for other important position holders.
And while Sadiq and Ameen were indeed the attributes of our Holy Prophet (PBUH), I would say that with a different wording or even in an implied form, they form part of the Constitutions of all countries. Remember, Iceland PM was forced to resign over Panama Papers issue. Also, Thailand's former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra (allegedly a partner of Nawaz Sharif, who had even come to see him) fled the country as a court was about to deliver a verdict in a two-year trial over agricultural subsidies. And there would be several similar examples.
But since in our country, most of the law enforcement and accountability institutions have been rendered toothless on purpose by our rulers, we need a precise description of what is meant by 'Sadiq and Ameen' in the context of our Constitution. And here again, I think the Supreme Court would have to step in and form a commission which, in consultation with other experts in the field, should develop in a questionnaire form the interpretation of Sadiq and Ameen, for ease of application. And the description should be both in positive as well as negative terms, which would be more appropriate in certain cases, like:
He or she can not be one who has been punished by courts for financial corruption.
In case of corruption cases proceeding against him, he must not be allowed to participate in elections on the strength of 'stay orders' for more than six months in total, and in case of an adverse verdict later, stand disqualified forthwith.
He or she did not get loans written off.
And so on.
I think it is quite possible to work it all out though, due to 'clash of interest' this job is hardly likely to be accomplished by the present Parliamentarians and this sacred duty must also be performed by the Supreme Court, like I have stated above.
And since the future of the country and its twenty crore residents depends on it, it is well worth doing the exercise soon.
I would request the Supreme Court to start the process, either through a suo notu notice, or on petition by any concerned person.