Conjoined Twins: Human Rights and Islam in the Constitutional System of Pakistan

By Zubair Abbasi Ever since Pakistan’s creation as an independent state in 1947, Islam has continued to permeate its constitutional and legal system. From the confines of the personal law of Muslims at the time of independence, Islam has become the grundnorm of Pakistan’s constitutional system.[1] Curiously, the gradual elevation of Islam in the formal … Continue reading Conjoined Twins: Human Rights and Islam in the Constitutional System of Pakistan

Islamic Judicial Review in Practice (3): Sharia and State Law

By Zubair Abbasi The enthusiasm of the Shariat Benches to judicially Islamize laws is best reflected in the judgment of the Shariat Bench of the Peshawar High Court in Mst. Farishta v Federation of Pakistan.[1] In this judgment, the Shariat Bench reviewed the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance 1961 (MFLO). Pakistan’s first military ruler, Ayub Khan … Continue reading Islamic Judicial Review in Practice (3): Sharia and State Law

Islamic Judicial Review in Practice (2): Strategic Islamization of Laws

By Zubair Abbasi The most significant impact of Islamic judicial review is the incorporation of qiṣāṣ and dīyah in the legal system of Pakistan. During the colonial period, the British replaced Islamic criminal law with the Indian Penal Code 1860. There are two important components of Islamic criminal law: ḥudūd and qiṣāṣ. Ḥudūd are fixed … Continue reading Islamic Judicial Review in Practice (2): Strategic Islamization of Laws

Islamic Judicial Review in Practice (1): Decolonization through Islamization of Laws

By Zubair Abbasi In my previous blog posts, I identified Islamic judicial review as the distinctive feature of Pakistan’s legal system. In my next three posts, I shall scrutinize how Islamic judicial review works in practice through the analysis of a few important judgments related to criminal law and family law. In this first post, … Continue reading Islamic Judicial Review in Practice (1): Decolonization through Islamization of Laws

The Impact of Islamic Judicial Review in Pakistan  

By Zubair Abbasi Since its beginning in 1979, Islamic judicial review was unlikely to cause major constitutional and legal changes because of its inherent design to maintain the status quo. This can be explained by a number of factors. Firstly, the Federal Shariat Court (FSC) did not have jurisdiction over the provisions of the Constitution. … Continue reading The Impact of Islamic Judicial Review in Pakistan  

Islamic Constitutionalism in Pakistan: Is it Theocratic?

By Zubair Abbasi Despite assigning a significant role to Islam, the Pakistani constitutional model does not propose a theocratic order. Rather, the theocratic tendencies resulting from the substantial role of Islam in the legal system are checked by a curious synthesis of Islamic constitutionalism and liberal constitutionalism. Instead of assigning the interpretative authority of Islamic … Continue reading Islamic Constitutionalism in Pakistan: Is it Theocratic?

Islamic Constitutionalism in Pakistan: Does it Matter?

Pakistan came into being through a constitutionally governed election when Muslims in British India voted for an independent state that comprised the Muslim-majority parts of India. It had two wings: East Pakistan (currently Bangladesh) and West Pakistan, geographically separated by more than a thousand kilometers. Since Islam was the only common link between the two … Continue reading Islamic Constitutionalism in Pakistan: Does it Matter?

Marriage as Children’s Play: Unregistered Islamic Marriages under English Law

That marriage creates certain rights and obligations goes without saying. The legal definition of marriage, however, remains contentious, especially in multicultural, religiously diverse and legally pluralistic states and societies where legal and religious definitions of marriage may differ. The complexity of the issue is exacerbated when courts have to balance private and public interests while … Continue reading Marriage as Children’s Play: Unregistered Islamic Marriages under English Law

Commentary :: Criminalization of Triple Ṭalāq in India: A Dilemma for Religiously Divorced but Legally Married Muslim Women

Photograph of Indian flag flowing in the wind

India’s legislature has criminalized instant divorce (triple ṭalāq) through the enactment of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019. This piece of legislation is a result of the Supreme Court judgment in the Shayara Bano case two years ago. In this judgment, the Court declared the practice of triple ṭalāq a violation … Continue reading Commentary :: Criminalization of Triple Ṭalāq in India: A Dilemma for Religiously Divorced but Legally Married Muslim Women

Reasserting the Authority of State: Comment on Asia Bibi v The State

Editor Zubair Abbasi comments on the Pakistan Supreme Court decision for Asia Bibi v. The State. The Pakistan Supreme Court's decision to acquit Asia Bibi of blasphemy charges brought forth questions about evidence, judicial independence, procedure, and the state's authority in matters of law and religion. Summary While acquitting Asia Bibi after finding inconsistencies in the statements … Continue reading Reasserting the Authority of State: Comment on Asia Bibi v The State