The role of the judiciary in the Islamisation of Pakistan’s legal system has not received much attention by legal scholars. This book aims to fill this gap. Starting in 1947, it examines the way Pakistani judges have dealt with the controversial issue of Islam in the past 50 years. The book’s focus on reported case-law offers a new perspective on the Islamisation of Pakistan’s legal system in which Islam emerges as more than just a challenge to Western conceptions of human rights.
The first part examines the emergence of Islamic arguments in the period up to 1977 when General Zia ul Haq embarked on an ambitious project to turn Pakistan into a truly Islamic state. In these early years of Pakistan judges increasingly turned to Islam as a source of law to preserve judicial independence and to protect the country’s faltering democracy. The second part examines in detail the features and effects of Zia’s Islamisation programme especially the workings of the newly created Federal Shariat Court. The third part reviews the legal developments in the post-Zia period when the judicial gates of Islamization which were first wide opened, have gradually been closed by a series of landmark decisions.
What emerges from this analysis is an image of Islam as a source of law which is rich, complex and varied. Depending on the judge and the court, Islam was applied to varying effects ranging from liberal to extremely conservative attitudes. However, they share a common feature, namely that the role of Islam in the legal system of Pakistan is to a large degree determined by its higher judiciary.
This book offers an exploration of aspects of the subject, Islam and Human Rights, which is the focus of considerable scholarship in recent years predominantly from Western scholars. Thus it is interesting and important to have the field addressed from a non -Western perspective and by an Iranian scholar. The study draws on Persian language literature that addresses both theological and legal dimensions of the theme. The work is also distinctive in that it tackles three areas that have been largely ignored in the literature. It undertakes a comparative study of the laws of several Muslim States with respect to religious freedom, minorities and the rights of the child. The study offers an optimistic vision of the fundamental compatibility of Islam and international human rights standards.