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Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion and Islam

A Review of Laws Regarding ‘Offences Relating to Religion’ in Pakistan from a Domestic and International Law Perspective

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2014
Keywords blasphemy, apostasy, freedom of religion, Ahmadi, minority rights in Pakistan
Authors Ujala Akram
AbstractAuthor's information

    During the struggle for a separate homeland, named Pakistan, for Muslims who were the then religious minority in British India, a promise was inevitably made that the religious minorities will enjoy freedom to hold and practice their belief in this new country. The promise was kept in all three Constitutions of Pakistan where minorities were given the right to practice their religion. However, the subsequent amendments to the Constitution were made with the presumption that Pakistan was created to establish an Islamic State, which stifled the freedom of religion and belief of the religious minorities. In the absence of a domestic mechanism to protect the freedom of religion in Pakistan, international law was supposed to play a major role in the protection of the same. Unfortunately, international law, owing to the lack of sanctions and mechanism to implement the law, proved to be weak in this case. However, through an amalgamation of international law, international pressure, amendments to existing laws and promulgation of new laws to protect the religious freedom of minorities in Pakistan – the minorities may be able to enjoy the freedom of religion as it was envisioned while fighting for the independence of Pakistan.


Ujala Akram
LLM 2007, S.J.D. Candidate, Indiana University McKinney School of Law.

Alice Clapman
Yale Law School; former teaching assistant at the Jagiellonian University Law Clinic.

Benjamin J. Richardson
School of Law, University of Manchester, UK.

Maria O'Neill
BCL, LLM, Solicitor (Republic of Ireland, England & Wales) Lecturer in Law, University of Abertay Dundee, Bell Street, Dundee.

Michael Coester
Professor at the University of Munich


Lord President of the Court of Sessions and Lord-Justice General of Scotland, 1989 to 1996; Lord of Appeal in Ordinary, 1996 to present.

Daniel Greenberg
Of Lincoln's Inn, Barrister; Parliamentary Counsel. This article is based on observations made by the author in the course of a lecture on statutory construction to the legal advisers to the Lord Chancellor on 10 October 2005. The author is greatly indebted to Saira Salimi of the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel for her comments on a troublesomely lengthy series of drafts

Geoffrey Bowman
The article “The Art of Legislative Drafting” was written by Sir Geoffrey Bowman of the Parliamentary Counsel Office. It is published with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and The Queen's Printer for Scotland. This is a slightly revised version of the Sir William Dale Memorial Lecture for 2005. It was given in the Senate House of London University on 7 November 2005 by Sir Geoffrey Bowman KCB, the First Parliamentary Counsel and a Bencher of Lincoln's Inn.

Andrea Schulz
First Secretary at the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference on Private International Law. Since the beginning of 2002, the author has been in charge of the negotiations which led to the Convention on Choice of Court Agreements. This article is an updated reprint of an earlier publication by the same author, The Hague Convention of 30 June 2005 on Choice of Court Agreements, VII Yearbook of Private International Law 1 (2005).

Ole Lando
Professor of Law, Copenhagen Business School; Chairman of the Commission on European Contract Law.

Adam (Adomas) Siudika
Candidate New York State Bar (USA). LL.B. Law University of Lithuania, Vilnius, (Lithuania), LL.M. Indiana University School of Law, Indianapolis, (USA). The author would like to thank Prof. Antony Page, Prof. Eleanor Kinney and Prof. Frank Emmert at Indiana University School of Law Indianapolis for their valuable remarks and encouragement. My deep appreciation to Domanskis' family from Western Springs, IL (USA) for their constant support and care.

Lydia Clapinska
Lydia Clapinska is a barrister and is currently a member of the Public Law team at the Law Commission for England and Wales. This paper reflects the views of the author alone and not those of any organisation. The author is grateful to the following people for providing information and inspiration: Mr William Robinson, Legal Reviser, European Commission Legal Service, Mr Lars Mitek-Pedersen, Head of the Better Regulation and Impact Assessment Unit, European Commission Secretariat General; Mr Robert Bray, Legal Administrator to the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament; Mr Bevis Clarke-Smith, Head of the Legal Revisers Group, European Commission Legal Service; Marie-Hélène Fandel, Analyst, European Policy Centre, Brussels.

Rehema Mkuye
Drafter at the Ministry of Justice in Tanzania.

Terence Sir Etherton
Chairman of the Law Commision.

Ulrich Karpen
Prof. Dr. iur., Universitätsprofessor at the Faculty of Law, University of Hamburg, Germany.

Catherine Skinner
LL.M., University of London, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies.

Ulrich Karpen
Prof. Dr. iur., Universitätsprofessor at the Faculty of Law, University of Hamburg, Gerrmany.

Ingeborg Schwenzer
Dr. iur., Prof. of Private Law, University of Basel, Switzerland.

Pascal Hachem
Dr. iur., Research Assistant and Lecturer, University of Basel, Switzerland.
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