ISLAMABAD – The National Assembly on Thursday passed “The Elections (Amendment) Bill 2017” to restore Khatm-i-Nabuwwat laws to their original form and make sections relating to it “more effective.”

The bill was presented by Law Minister Zahid Hamid.

The bill seeks to incorporate and reaffirm the provisions of Articles 7-B and 7-C of the Conduced of General Elections Order, 2002 through the addition of a new section 48-A in the Election Act, 2017.

Speaking on the occasion, Zahid Hamid said that the status of Qadiyani or Lahori group will continue as non-Muslims.

He said if a person gets himself or herself enrolled as Muslim in the voters’ list, any other person can challenge this before the revising authority, then he or she is required to sign the declaration of the finality of the Prophethood.

The minister for law said if the person refuses to sign that declaration then he shall be deemed as non-Muslim and his vote will be expunged from the list for Muslim voters and be included in the non-Muslim list.

Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal stepped in to support the beleaguered lawmaker, assuring him that: “In a state, faith and connection to God is a matter between him and God. No person can make a decision on anyone’s faith.”

“I will ask my brother [Zahid Hamid] that your faith is your personal matter and you do not need to present any clarifications regarding your faith,” he added.

Sections 7B and 7C of the Conduct of General Elections Order, 2002 were also restored to their original form via the bill.

Section 7B states that the status of Ahmedis remains as stated in the Constitution of Pakistan, while section 7C states that if an enrolled voter’s belief in the finality of Prophet Muhammad’s prophethood is contended, they shall have to sign a declaration reaffirming their belief, failing which their “name shall be deleted from the joint electoral rolls and added to a supplementary list of voters in the same electoral area as non-Muslim.”

Zahid Hamid said that the new, amended bill will make the said sections more effective, adding that a separate voters list shall be created for Ahmadis as they will not be included in the list for Muslims.

The Khatm-i-Nabuwat declaration has also been restored to original form in both English and Urdu, he assured.