Islamic law & new budget
Justice M B Ahmed was an ICS officer who served in the judiciary in UP till partition. On independence he was made (first) Secretary of the National Assembly by the Quid. The Research Board was chaired by Justice Sir Shah Mohammed Suleman, who had been the Chief of Justice of Allahabad High Court and Judge of the Federal Court of India (before it was named Supreme Court). Its Vice Chairman was (Allama) Yusuf AliSir Sir Abdul Qadir of Lahore, Syed Sulemn Nadvi, to name a few.. Justice Sir Shah M Suleman was once a top judicial authority, a brilliant star in the legal galaxy of India, and others are legends in Islamic subjects. Reproduced here are some views stated at Chapter II of the book titled “Conception of Justice in Muslim States – Meaning of Sovereignty. Particular attention is invited to the item “ Rulers & Law Courts” (pps 65 – 95). It says “ The Muslim sovereigns in India even at the zenith of their power and influence seldom, if at all, attempted to temper with the day to day administration of justice. Historical research has not so far established any such instance. On the contrary there have been cases in which they have bowed to the authority of the Law Courts, sometimes against their will. In State versus Qazi Mir (Storia IV, p 119) a Canon Law case, the Court reused to award the sentence of death which Aurengzeb had directed the Public Prosecutor to press .It is true that there were rulers like Mohammed Tughlaq who filled a libel suit in the Qazi,s Court and on losing it put the defendant under arrest on some other excuse, but this attitude was resented by the community. There were Qazis like Mir Mir Saiyed Muhammed , Miaji or Shaikh ul Islam Abdullah who held themselves subordinate to none but God in giving judgments. It is said of Qazi Sadruddin Sharif, Chief Justice of Bahamai Kingdom, that he refused to join his post after having gone on leave, until the King (Muhammed Shah) undertook to permit judges to execute the law against the guilty.” Amir Ali ha pointed out that the early Caliphs of Islam could not alter or act contrary to the judgments of the constitutional courts” “ There are several foot notes quoting court decisions and commentaries to support this statements. (page 70-71.)
Again the same book under title “King’s Position” (p 78) states: “ As an individual he had no privileged position through the combination of the functions in one person “ as God’s shadow on earth.” inclined some of the Sultans to consider themselves above the Law. There is however no evidence that it was the general practice. The Sharia did not recognize the theory that the King could do no wrong. A monarch could be sued in Court and could also sue. Dr Vasey-Firzgerald refers to cases in Arabia where the Calph Omar and Rashid submitted to decrees passed against them.” (p 79). In addition may be quoted Imam El-Ghazzali in his book Nasihat ul Muluk (printed by El-Azhar, Cairo in 1931) In it he has quoted Hadith that doing one day’s justice is equal to sixty years continuous worship, Hazrat Ali’s instruction on supremacy of Justice over even faith that a country can survive despite prevalence in it of Kufr ( infidelity) but not with injustice. Perhaps it may be stated that according to our belief the angels would question the buried body in the grave whether he lived unjustly or justly and not whether it was in favour of democracy or not that is democracy is a worldly matter but justice is accountable even after death. Fauzia Wahab had claimed that all these Islamic practices (and perhaps theories) pre-date the 1973 Constitution which grants immunity to the President, but omitted to mention that the Holy Qur’an and Sunnat have been sited in it as the source of all law in Pakistan ,. How much ignorance of law can be ignored is a question that cannot be ignored. . Perhaps it is not expected of a PPP minister to be well educated, or consult experts before making statements on technical matters, and indulge in statements which border blasphemy.
Coming to the other topic connected with social justice or attempted economic justice is the Budget announced by the new Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafiz Shaikh. His Budget speech was impressive and showed an innovative approach to the handling of financial problems, which was quite a departure from the previous practice of confining to the figures and presentation of the allocations in highly technical terms. He seemed to be reaching to the public outside the National Assembly and explaining the results of his very difficult exercise. I should not go into the details of the budget but to giving my own impressions of the speech. He created an impression in it that he first feels like a citizen, and is not a trickster politician. He did not present propagandistic apologia for government’s miserable economic performance during the last three years, which has caused the present grave economic crisis, he appeared to share the serious concerns the public has on horrible price- rise lack of employment opportunities, lack of electricity for homes and factories- although he was not right in creating the impression that these problems are a global phenomenon Pak s problem is far more acute than of other countries, for example Pak Rupee is the cheapest currency in South Asia , less than even Bangladesh. Prices are perhaps the highest in South Asia, unemployment is perhaps the highest in this region. Perhaps the worst economy in Asia is that of Pakistan. Once — in Ayub era, Pakistan was one of the most prosperous countries in Asia. Let us not recall those days when five point thirty Pak Rupee was a dollar.
After a long time we heard the word “Self reliance” and awareness of the fact that a begging bowl is a curse. Also he understood the need to freeze government expenditure But the problem will not be solved merely by freezing the expenditure as it is at present but to drastically cut the lavish style and living on national treasury The expenses of President and Prime Minister houses remain extraordinarily high. Does the ‘poor’ Indian President and Indian Prime Minister have similarly lavish style and grants, and an army of staff is employed for servicing the celestial bodies.. Will the Finance Minister find out their allocations and the strength of their staffs. Further this freeze on Government expenditure should not mean continuation of the practice of taking barats on foreign tours of Prime Ministers etc. He took an impressive delegation of 60 persons to his European tour. .His mission of obtaining EU’s charity with an entourage of sixty worthies reminded me of the days when people in donor countries used to laugh at the huge Cadillacs limousines of Pakistani ambassadors’ official cars in Washington, London, Paris while pleading for aid. However, for the first time, the lowest paid government employee from Grade 1 to 16 was given 50% raise as against officers of grade 17 to 22 about half of that. Imagine a stenographer getting a pittance of a pay in the Secretariat Now still after 50% increase he will not get any where equal to what a stenographer in commercial organization gets .
By raising the pay of the miserably low paid staff in Grade 1 to 16 by 50% he has given them some relief from the miserable life competent finance managers have made great difference in improving economy of our people in the tradition of Zahid Hussain, Shaoib, Ch Mohammed Ali in the early days who in fact produced the so-called Liaquat Ali Khan’s Poorman Budget, later the team of Shaoib-MM Ahmed-Uqaili- SS Jasfri had createdthe prosperity of Ayub era. Hafiz Dhaikh seems to be a technical; expert of the style of those financial giants, but it remains to be proved. Budget making in Pakistan is the most difficult task anybody can handle and it is a thankless job for any one to try his hands on it.