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(Cross posted from Pak Tea House. )

Over the past 7 months I have desperately tried to get some enlightened politician or political party to adopt these two pieces of legislation but without any credible response. Therefore I am bringing this to the public at large. If anyone can put them to good use, please use them by all means -YLH

BILL 1:

PAKISTAN REDRESSAL OF MINORITIES’ GRIEVANCES ACT, 2011

An Act to provide for the establishment of tribunals to exercise jurisdiction in respect of matters relating to Minority grievances and to amend the Pakistan Penal Code to introduce new punishable offences.

Whereas Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, on several occasions laid down that no civilized government can be unmindful of the concerns of its citizens that belong to a minority community and that the religious beliefs, lives and properties of minorities should be fully protected to allay their fears and to enable them to play their rightful role as equal citizens of Pakistan;

Whereas in view of prevailing circumstances, it is necessary to provide relief and protection to Minorities against misuse to prevent their exploitation;

Whereas the objective of this Act is to provide Minorities a sense of security and religious, cultural and social freedom in conformity with the stated objectives of the Constitution; and whereas it is expedient further to establish a tribunal for protection of Minorities’ rights and to safeguard their lives, properties and religious beliefs.

It is hereby enacted as follows:-

  1.       Short title, extent, commencement and applications:-    (1)     This   Act may be called the Pakistan Redressal of Minorities’ Grievances Act, 2011.

(2)               It applies throughout Pakistan.

(3)               It shall come into force at once.

2.         Definitions:-   (1)      In this Act, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context:-

(a)        “Act” means the Pakistan Redressal Of Minorities’ Grievances Act, 2011

;

(b)               “Federal Government” means Government of the Pakistan;

(c)                “Tribunal” means the Minorities’ Protection Tribunal;

(d)              “Bench” means a bench of the Tribunal comprising the Chairperson and at least one other Member;

(e)               “Chairperson” means chairperson of the Tribunal;

(f)                 “Member” means member of the Tribunal;

(g)               “Minority” includes all religious minorities living in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, inter alia, Christians, Ahmadis whether of Qadiani or Lahori group, Hindus, Bahais, Sikhs, Parsis, any other group that identifies itself as a minority community or a group that the Federal Government deems to be a religious minority in Pakistan;

(h)               “Section “ means a section of the Act;

(i)                 “Service of Pakistan” shall have the same meaning as defined in clause (1) of Article 260 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973.

3.         The following clause 295-D is, hereby, added to the Pakistan Penal Code:

295-AA:  Malicious Attacks on Minorities’ Religious Beliefs

“Any Muslim citizen of Pakistan, with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any Minority community, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representations or otherwise, insults or attempts to insult the religion or the religious beliefs of that class, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, or with fine, or with both.”

 

4. Tribunals:-            (1)        The Prime Minister may by notification in the official Gazette, establish one or more Minorities’  Tribunals in Pakistan and where there are established more than one Tribunal, the Federal Government shall specify in the notification the territorial limits within which, each such Tribunal shall exercise jurisdiction under this Act.

(2)        A Tribunal shall have exclusive jurisdiction in respect of all civil and criminal cases and disputes pertaining to religious freedom, discrimination on religious grounds, harassment on religious grounds or injustices in Pakistan under the laws of Pakistan wherein one or more members of Minority communities are subjected.

(3)                           Subject to the Constitution, a Tribunal may, if it is satisfied that no other adequate remedy is provided by law,

(a)        on the application of any aggrieved party, make an order;

(i)        directing a person performing, within the legal jurisdiction of the Tribunal, functions in connection with the affairs of the Federation, a Province or a local authority, to refrain from doing anything he is not permitted by law to do, or to do anything he is required by law to do; or

(ii)       declaring that any act done or proceeding taken within the legal jurisdiction of the Tribunal, by a person performing functions in connection with the affairs of the Federation, a Province or a local authority, has been done or taken without lawful authority and is of no legal effect; or

(b)               on the application of any aggrieved person, or its own make an order giving such directions to any person or authority, including any government exercising any power or performing any function in, or in relation to legal jurisdiction of the Tribunal as may be appropriate for the enforcement of any of the Fundamental Rights conferred by the Constitution.

(4)        A Tribunal shall consist of-

(a)        a Chairperson, who  [ is, or] has been, qualified to be judge of a High Court; and

(b)      such number of members [ not less than three] with such qualifications as may be prescribed for the judge of a High Court at least two of whom shall be from a minority community.

 

(5)        The term of office of the Chairperson and members shall not exceed three years. Provided that the Federal GovernmentFederal Government may extend the term of office of the Chairperson or any Member for such period, not exceeding three years, as it may deem fit.

(6)        The Chairperson or Member may resign his office by writing under his hand addressed to the Prime Minister.

5.         Benches of the Tribunal:-        (1)        The powers and functions of a Tribunal may be exercised or performed by Benches consisting of not less than two members of Tribunal, including the Chairperson, constituted by the Chairperson.

(2)        If the members of a bench differ in opinion as to the decision to be given on any point:-

(a)               the point shall be decided according to the opinion of the majority;

(b)               if the members are equally divided and the Chairperson of the Tribunal is not himself a member of the bench, the case shall be referred to the Chairperson and the decision of the Tribunal shall be expressed in terms of the opinion of the Chairperson; and

(c)                if the members are equally divided and the Chairperson of the Tribunal is himself a member of the bench, the opinion of the Chairperson shall prevail and the decision of the Tribunal shall be expressed in terms of the opinion of the Chairperson.

6.         Abatement of suit and other proceedings:- All suits, appeals or applications regarding any matter within the jurisdiction of a Tribunal pending in any court immediately before the commencement of this Act shall abate forthwith:

Provided that any party to such a suit, appeal or application may, within ninety days of the establishment of the appropriate Tribunal, prefer an appeal to it in respect of any such matter which is in issue in such suit, appeal or application.

7.        Rules:- (1) The Federal Government may, if, necessary by notification in the official Gazette make rules for carrying out of the purposes of this Act.

 

(2)        In particular and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power, such rules may provide for all or any of the following matters namely:-

(a)        requirements as to the number of members of the Tribunal necessary for hearings before, or order or decision by, a Tribunal or a Bench thereof and

(b)       filling for a specified period any vacancy in the office of the Chairperson or a member of the Tribunal caused by the absence on leave or otherwise of the Chairperson or, as the case may be, a member.

8.         (1)        The permanent seat of a Tribunal shall be at a place which the Federal Government may, by notification in the official Gazette, appoint.

(2)        A Tribunal shall ordinarily hold its sittings at its permanent seat but it may hold its sittings at any other place within its jurisdiction if in its opinion the holding of sittings at such other place will be convenient to the parties to the proceedings before it.

9.         (1)        A Tribunal shall ordinarily observe the same hours as are observed by the offices of the Federal Government.

(2)        A Tribunal shall observe the holidays notified by the Federal Government.

Bill 2:

Anti Incitement Act of 2011

Whereas the state alone is the protector of the principle of the Namoos-e-risalat and religion in the territorial limits of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan;

And whereas intolerance, anarchy and the propensity to resort to violence in the name of religion has become commonplace in Pakistani society;

And whereas it is the state’s responsibility to protect all its citizens and ensure that the principle of innocent till proven guilty is upheld under Pakistani law with particular regard to offences pertaining to religion;

And whereas the state must also secure the fundamental principle that academics and persons involved in bona fide research on religion or other creative expression must be protected as promised by founder of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah;

Now therefore it is expedient further to amend the Pakistan Penal Code (Act XLV of 1860):

The following clause 295-D is, hereby, added to the Pakistan Penal Code:

295-D:  Safety of innocent persons against false and frivolous accusations of blasphemy and other offences against religion:

(1) Anyone making a false or frivolous accusation under any of the sections of 295-B and 295-C, of the Pakistan Penal Code shall be punished in accordance with similar punishments prescribed in the section under which the false or frivolous accusation was made.”

(2) Any advocacy of religious hatred against any person or class of persons that constitutes an incitement to discrimination or violence shall be punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extent to seven years, or with fine or with both.

(3) Any incitement of violence of public in general against any person, or class of persons, whether accused of blasphemy of any kind or not, under the pretext of the Islamic principle of Namoos-e-Rasalat, which is fully protected by 295C of the Pakistan Penal Code, shall be punishable by death or life imprisonment and a fine of five million rupees.

(4) Any attempt to threaten or pressurize by any means a court of competent jurisdiction presiding over a case under 295-B and 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code, shall be deemed an act of rebellion against the state ofPakistanand shall be punishable by death or life imprisonment along with a fine of 10 million rupees.

(5) Any incitement to violence in the name of religion of the general public against any person or academic or university professor or teacher involved in bona fide research on science, religion, culture or society shall be punishable by fifteen (15) years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of five million rupees.

(6) Any religious edict or fatwa calling upon the general public to resort to violence against any artist, musician, singer, actor or any other person involved in creative process shall be punishable by seven years rigorous punishment and a fine of three million rupees.”

(YLH Yasser Latif Hamdani is Lawyer by Profession)

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