On December 2, 1978, General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq
delivered a nationwide address on the occasion of the first day of the Hijra
calendar. He did this in order to usher in an Islamic system to Pakistan. In the speech, he accused politicians of exploiting the name of Islam
, saying that "many a ruler did what they pleased in the name of Islam."
After assuming power the task that the government set to was its public commitment to enforce Nizam-e-Mustafa
(Islamic System) a 180 degree turn from Pakistan's predominantly Common Law. As a preliminary measure to establish an Islamic society in Pakistan, General Zia announced the establishment of Sharia Benches
. Speaking about the jurisdiction of the Sharia Benches, he remarked, "Every citizen will have the right to present any law enforced by the government before the 'Sharia Bench' and obtain its verdict whether the law is wholly or partly Islamic or un-Islamic."
But General Zia did not mention that the Sharia Benches' jurisdiction was curtailed by the following overriding clause: "(Any) law does not include the constitution, Muslim personal law, any law relating to the procedure of any court or tribunal or, until the expiration of three years, any fiscal law, or any law relating to the collection of taxes and fees or insurance practice and procedure." It meant that all important laws which affect each and every individual directly remained outside the purview of the Sharia Benches. However, he did not have... Read More