Parliamentary question by Marco Cappato (NI), Maurizio Turco (NI), Marco Pannella (NI), Olivier Dupuis (NI), Gianfranco Dell'Alba (NI) and Benedetto Della Vedova (NI) to the Council




Parliamentary questions
WRITTEN QUESTION E-2068/03
by Marco Cappato (NI), Maurizio Turco (NI), Marco Pannella (NI), Olivier Dupuis (NI), Gianfranco Dell'Alba (NI) and Benedetto Della Vedova (NI) to the Council
(11 June 2003)

Subject: Introduction of the Sharia in a province of Pakistan


The assembly of the Pakistani province of North-West Frontier has approved a draft law providing for the imposition of the Sharia. All that is needed now is the signature of the provincial governor, because, in this Pakistani province on the border with Afghanistan, Islamic law takes precedence over secular provincial legislation and all Muslims are required to observe it. Moreover, in this Pakistani province the authorities recently announced the establishment of a department of virtue and vice, which inevitably calls to mind similar bodies set up by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Analysts regard the signing of the draft law by the provincial governor as a mere formality, so that, in a few days' time, Pakistanis living in North-West Frontier Province will be required to observe Islamic law, as was the case in Afghanistan prior to the intervention by British and US forces.

Can the Council state:

1. What information it has regarding this situation?

2. What diplomatic representations it intends to make to the Pakistan Government with a view to preventing the imposition of the Sharia in a province of that country?

3. What measures it intends to take to protect the fundamental principle of secularism against the risk of abolition by majority fundamentalist groups, in some cases by means of "democratic" procedures, a step which serves to restrict or do away with the fundamental right to religious freedom recognised by Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?