Pakistan, Cornelius

Document Type



Over the past twenty-five years, academics in Europe and the United States have written a great deal about the relationship between Islam and democracy, and between Islam and human rights. This scholarship often fails to acknowledge or take into account similar debates that occurred earlier during a period of decolonization. This article discusses the work of a Christian judge who served on the Supreme Court of Pakistan. This judge, A.R. Cornelius, was a famous Cambridge-educated legal liberal who courageously tried in the 1950s and 60s to protect human rights as Pakistan came under martial rule. Cornelius came to argue shockingly and controversially in the 1960s and 70s that Islamizing the law of the state not only permits the liberal rule of law to survive, but, under certain narrow circumstances, it can help promote a version of the liberal rule of law. This article discusses the genesis of his thinking, the criticism that it received in Pakistan and discusses briefly how Pakistan's recent history does and does not support his theory.



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