Pakistan Tells Minorities They Can’t Be PM, President

Islamabad: For all its criticism of India for denying rights to minorities, Pakistan’s parliament has shot down a minority Christian member’s constitutional amendment bill seeking to allow non-Muslims to become Prime Minister and President of Pakistan.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has been strident in his attack on India, alleging that New Delhi is denying Muslims their fundamental rights and that it is attempting to change the demography of Muslim-majority Kashmir valley.

However, in his own National Assembly, the House with majority voice, blocked minority member Dr Naveed Aamir Jeeva’s attempt to introduce the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019.

Jeeva sought an amendment to Article 41 and 91 of the Constitution to allow non-Muslims to become Prime Minister and President of Pakistan.

But Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad opposed the proposed legislation, saying that Pakistan is an Islamic Republic where only a Muslim can be elevated to the slots of President and Prime Minister.

He maintained that minorities in Pakistan are enjoying complete freedom, security and their rights are being protected.

Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) member Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali appreciated the stance taken by the minister, saying that “no law against Islamic values and teachings can be passed, introduced or even debated in the parliament”.

The deliberations of Pakistan’s National Assembly on Wednesday are another attempt to tell the minorities of Pakistan that they can never aspire to the highest position in the country.

India, conversely, has had two Muslim Presidents, Zakir Husain and Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed. Mohammad Hidayatullah for a time was the acting President. Hidayatullah not only served as the Vice President of India, he was also the 11th Chief Justice of India. Mohammad Hamid Ansari served for 10 years as the Vice President of India.