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Home Critical Analysis/Archives Persecution of the Ahmadiyya …
Persecution Of The Ahmadiyya Community In Pakistan: An Analysis Under International Law
V. THE ANTI-BLASPHEMY PROVISIONS AND
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

D. The Constructivist Paradigm *85

Under the constructivist model, Pakistan, during its founding era, expressed a felt obligation to grant the fundamental right of religious freedom to minorities. Pakistan's prevailing social norms evolved to reflect a more restrictive Shari'a-based government protective of Islam's integrity. The rise of President Musharraf and the devastating impact of September 11 again re-shaped the social norms in Pakistan, so that militant Islam's hold on Pakistan was cast into doubt. The United States, or any nation, should therefore work discursively with Pakistan's leadership to repeal the anti-blasphemy provisions in Pakistan's constitution.

By affirming the UDHR, Pakistan advocated a norm of international religious freedom. Its founding visionaries, led by Jinnah, deliberated over the construction of an Islamic Republic respectful of non-Muslims. Indeed, as the mouthpiece for millions of Muslims jaded by their brutal conflict with Hindu India, Jinnah constructed the basis for a constitution that ensured the right to profess freely one's faith. Interestingly, this fundamental protection afforded to non-Muslims and Muslims alike was part of a patently secular impulse prevailing in Pakistan, at least up until 1953. Norms, however, are built up and broken down by state actors. The hegemonic discourse of the mullahs, essentially legislating from the pulpit, eviscerated the advancement of international norms in Pakistan. Sure enough, one such norm, that of basic freedom for religious minorities, eroded, leading to the institutionalized persecution of Ahmadis.

Perhaps the only consistent pattern to glean from Pakistan's brief and tumultuous history is that the norms that shape its government have constantly changed. Five military coups are testimony enough that Pakistan's citizens are unsettled. They assault retrogression and champion an Islam not manipulated for political gains. Now, with Pakistan's newfound responsibility to the ‘civilized’ world to uproot militant Islam from within, a significant next step by the international community would be to include experts on religious liberty on delegations to Pakistan and appropriate regional and international meetings, to decry Pakistan's punishment of quotidian religious observances by its minority Ahmadis, and also to work with those within Pakistan who advocate new legal norms and who hold a more broad-minded attitude toward Islam.


85
Taking the liberalist view of the state as a composition of individual actors one step further, the constructivist paradigm recognizes that the realities of international politics are shaped by the social structures that govern individual actors. Individual actors are discursively competent and, therefore, construct norms over time. SLAUGHTER, supra note 80, at 23 - 26.
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