Islamabad: The newly elected body of the Islamabad District Bar Association has made it mandatory for each bar member to declare his/her faith through an affidavit before January 31, 2020.
Muslim members of the bar are particularly asked by the Bar to submit an affidavit by the above-mentioned date that they believe in “Finality of the Last Prophet.”
In case of non-compliance their membership will stand cancelled.
In a letter issued on January 15, 2020, to Bar members, president of the Islamabad Bar Zafar Malik Khokhar, and Secretary Nabeel Mirza, informed all members that they are required to submit their affidavits in line with a resolution passed in the general body meeting on January 6, 2020.
“In the said resolution it was decided that declaration of the members’ faith was mandatory,” says the letter.
For Muslim lawyers, the letter adds, submission of an affidavit that they believe in Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) as the Last Prophet of God is a must.
“In case of non-compliance their membership will be cancelled and their names will be put on the notice board of the Bar,” the letter reads.
While talking to Gulf News on Sunday, a number of the members of the Islamabad Bar expressed concerns over the notice, saying they would resist such a biased directive.
“It is hard to believe that the Bar President and the Secretary have issued such an order,” a lawyer said.
“I will not submit any such a declaration, even if [it means] I lose my membership,” Advocate Khalid Chaudhry, a senior lawyer and former office-bearer of the District Bar, said.
Another lawyer, requesting anonymity, said recently far-right elements have influenced the entire bar by taking such religion-based measures.
Sadly the District Bar of Islamabad, whose membership exceeds 2,000, had been hijacked by these handful elements, he said.
Advocate Chaudhry said so far none of the bar members had complied with the directions of the District Bar president and secretary.
“Religion,” he said, “Is everyone’s personal matter and one doesn’t need a certificate from any president or the secretary of the bar to prove one’s religious ideals.”
It has also been made mandatory for the lawyers interested in bar elections to submit affidavit on “Finality of Prophethood.”
Meanwhile, a Senator of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and spokesperson for PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, has announced his resignation from bar membership in protest over the “prejudiced order”.
In a tweet, Khokhar said the direction by the bar was in violation of one’s right to exercise one’s faith according to one’s choice.
Khokhar in his tweet said, “Clearly Jinnah’s Pakistan remains a distant dream! His 11th August speech buried in heaps of paranoia, intolerance and bigotry. Being a member of the Islamabad Bar, I am deeply saddened to b put under the spotlight to prove my faith. Suppose will b losing my membership after the 31st.”