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The Application of Human Rights Treaties in Dualist Muslim States: The Practice of Pakistan

Shah, Niaz A.



I argue that Islamic law treats ratified human rights treaties as part of the law of the land and as directly applicable in courts in Muslim states such as Pakistan where Sharia is the main source of law. The Islamic approach is the better and more effective approach for the enjoyment of human rights. Article 227(1) of the 1973 constitution of Pakistan demands Islamization of all existing laws and prohibits the enactment of laws incompatible with Islamic law. Pakistan has failed to Islamize its constitutional provisions on the ratification and status of ratified treaties and continues to practice the dualist doctrine inherited from the British colonial era. Pakistan has acceded to seven core human rights treaties, but they are not incorporated in the legal system of Pakistan. This has led to a legal culture where human rights treaties are seen as applicable on the international plane only. I make a case for the Islamization of the constitutional provisions in relation to human rights and other treaties and until the constitution is amended under Article 227(1), I propose an ad hoc framework for relying on unincorporated human rights treaties and customary international law based on the developed British dualist doctrine which will contribute to the enjoyment of human rights in Pakistan.


Shah, N. A. (2022). The Application of Human Rights Treaties in Dualist Muslim States: The Practice of Pakistan. Human rights quarterly, 44(2), 257-285.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 2, 2022
Online Publication Date Apr 29, 2022
Publication Date 2022-05
Deposit Date May 3, 2022
Publicly Available Date May 4, 2022
Journal Human Rights Quarterly
Print ISSN 0275-0392
Publisher Johns Hopkins University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 44
Issue 2
Pages 257-285
Keywords Social Sciences (miscellaneous); Sociology and Political Science
Public URL


Accepted manuscript (372 Kb)

Copyright Statement
©2022 Johns Hopkins University Press.

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