Freedom of Religion & Religious Minorities in Pakistan: a Study of Judicial Practice
61 Pages Posted: 8 May 2007
This article explores the practice of the superior judiciary of Pakistan as it relates to freedom of religion and rights of religious minorities. Pakistan's successive constitutions, which guarantee fundamental rights and provide for separation of powers and judicial review, contemplate judicial protection against unlawful executive and legislative actions. The record of Pakistan's judiciary about protection of the rights of religious minorities is uneven and has gone through three phases. The first phase is remarkable for unequivocal protection of freedom of religion and religious minorities. The second phase contracted this protection through undue deference to the legislature. In the last phase the judiciary capitulated before ascendant forces of religious reaction and abdicated its protective role. By bringing into relief the remarkably divergent pronouncements of Pakistan's judiciary regarding the religious status and freedom of religion of one particular religious group, the Ahmadis, this article examines the context, nature, and doctrinal determinants of judicial practice in all the three phases.
Keywords: Freedom of religion, religious minorities, Ahmadis, Pakistan, Judicial review, human rights, postcolonial, judicial practice, Zaheeruddin v. State
JEL Classification: K 10, K 19, K 33, K 40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation