February 10, 2014 at 00:00

1. Religion and how I choose to practice it is my business and not that of the State.

2. Enforcing Shariah will not make me a better Muslim nor will it make Pakistan a welfare state. The world’s welfare states are all governed by secular governments.

3. I reject the idea that Shariah in any form can be enforced by those who have raped and plundered my country, blown up schools and mosques and beheaded soldiers. I will not give these criminals the right to dictate to me.

4. I will not give up my civil rights, including freedom of thought and expression, under the guise of Shariah.

5. I stand against acts like wife beating and the premise that rape requires 4 witnesses, all of which can be justified under Shariah law. Virtually anything can be justified by quoting religious scripture, and the context or interpretation of quoted text is usually not questioned. An example is a heinous crime like the Peshawar church blast being declared “in accordance with Shariah” by the TTP.

6. I abhor the notion that under Sharia law the State will be classifying its citizens into those who practice Islam and those who don’t. There should be NO minority, and NO majority, everyone should be equal citizens with equal rights under the law.

7. I believe that draconian laws under the guise of religion will push Pakistan back socioeconomically and isolate it from the rest of the world. This must not be allowed to happen.

8. Imposing religion in a country that is already torn apart by religious extremism and sectarianism is like adding fuel to the fire.The criminals who are demanding Shariah are the ones who have taken responsibility for sectarian killings across the country.

9. We live in a modern world that uses rational thinking, information and science to frame laws which don’t necessarily derive inspiration from religion or religious text. These laws can be amended according to the will of the people. Laws based on religion take away the freedom to choose, criticize or amend. An example is the relegation of scientific and forensic evidence as secondary in cases of rape.

10. I believe the actual reason for the demand for Shariah is to simply grab power and territory under religious pretense. I will not give up any part of my country to anyone for any reason.

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