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An appeal to the Supreme Court of Pakistan
For a public interest Suo moto notice

Honourable Lordships,

The Supreme Court of Pakistan in a landmark judgment on March 9, 1999 gave a ruling that members of all ‘Fiqhs’ were entitled to exemption from compulsory deduction of Zakat, and the Federal Government had no authority to reject the declaration of any Muslim seeking exemption from Zakat, if it was made on a prescribed form. This judgment enables any Muslim to declare his / her ‘Fiqh” and thus seek exemption from compulsory deduction of Zakat. Defacto it also recognizes the right of individuals to practice their faith according to their own fiqhs, and not be dictated by the government’s interpretation.

The historic judgment while so well recognizing the right of individuals in matters of their faith, made an irritating mess on how this right was to be practiced. Firstly it requires Muslims to declare their “Fiqh”. The great Prophet of Islam did not subscribe to any ‘sect’ or ‘fiqh’. For his followers to be forced to invent, be branded and be divided by sects and ‘fiqhs’ is therefore an absolutely unethical and undesirable demand on the part of the government.

The second irritant relates to the requirement of making this declaration on a prescribed format, thus creating a serious bureaucratic and procedural difficulty for the ordinary citizens. They are required to fill a judicial stamped paper of Rs.20 (available for Rs.120), have it signed by a notary public and two witnesses before making a completely unnecessary declaration of their ‘fiqh’. The form is also called CZ-50 affidavit.

This anomaly could be easily rectified if the Supreme Court through a public interest suo moto notice, clarify its original judgment by requiring only those Muslims to give in writing (on a plain piece of paper) who do wish their Zakat to be deducted by a bank. This would truly be in keeping with the SC verdict that all Muslims are entitled to exemption from compulsory deduction of Zakat.

Naeem Sadiq
A citizen of Pakistan

11 July 2009