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Senate committee shelves bill to amend oath taken by non-Muslim lawmakers – Pakistan

The Senate’s Standing Committee on Law on Monday shelved Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Senator Azam Swati’s proposed legislation that would have changed an oath taken by non-Muslim members of parliament upon being sworn in.

Swati had tabled the bill to modify Article 255 of the Constitution in order to amend the oath administered to non-Muslim members of the parliament.

His bill sought to omit the tasmia (beginning the oath in the name of Allah) from non-Muslim parliamentarians’ oaths.

“We cannot ask non-Muslim members of the Parliament to recite the first kalimah,” Swati explained while presenting the bill.

The oath for non-Muslim members should also replace the term ‘Ideology of Islam’ with ‘Ideology of Pakistan’, his bill suggested.

Upon reading that clause, the head of the committee remarked that “there is no difference between the ideology of Islam and the ideology of Pakistan.”

“There may be no difference between the two for us Muslims, but you should ask non-Muslims what the difference is,” Swati responded.

However, members of the law ministry objected to the bill saying it was touching on what is currently a highly sensitive matter.

“This is a dangerous issue. Let us postpone it for now,” the chairman of the committee said in agreement.

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