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Re-conceptualising the right to development in Islamic law

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This article focuses on the national dimension of the right to development (RTD) in Pakistan in the perspective of Islamic Law (Shari'ah). Assuming the RTD as a human right, it explores the role of Islamic law in the promotion of the RTD and the implications of the struggles for Islamisation on the promotion of the RTD in Pakistan. The article argues that the purpose of Islamic law is maslahah (promotion of public interest and prevention of harm). It further argues that the principles and institutions of Islamic law may promote the RTD even if there remain some differences between the two. However, the Islamisation movement of the military regime of General Zia-ul-Haq (1977-1988) was incompatible with the main features of the RTD, such as respect for human rights, participation and a comprehensive concept of development. Currently, the Taliban factor in the Islamisation process has made Pakistan the most dangerous place in the world. The article concludes that the Islamic law doctrine of maslahah may promote the RTD in Pakistan provided Islamic law is widely interpreted and any Islamisation movement is pursued in light of the features of the RTD. It further concludes that in the Islamisation efforts, only the judiciary has gained limited success to achieve maslahah.
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Keywords: Islamic law; Maslahah; Pakistan; development; human rights; participation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Additional District and Sessions Judge,Law College, University of Peshawar, Pakistan

Publication date: December 1, 2010

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