Borhras and reform
Dawoodi Bohras - Borhras and reform

Canadian Senate foils Sayedna's plans - Part 1

In summer 1992, a notice by the Clerk of the Canadian Senate appeared in various Canadian Newspapers advising the citizens that the Sayedna had petitioned to the Senate to pass an Act (Bill S-13) to incorporate the Dai al-Mutlaq as a corporation sole in Canada.

Among other things, the Sayedna through his Canadian lawyers, Borden & Elliot asserted:

“That, for the continuing and better control and guidance of the administration and management of those assets, funds, properties, investments and other affairs in Canada, it is desirable that the Dai al-Mutlaq be incorporated in Canada as a ‘Corporate sole' with perpetual succession.”

A corporation sole is a corporation consisting of one person only, usually a person of high office who together with his successors in his office is incorporated by law. In this way, the officer obtains the legal capacities and benefits of a corporation which, as a natural person, he would not otherwise enjoy.

A private petition was necessary as neither the Canada Corporation Act nor the Canada Business Corporation Act provides for the creation of a corporate sole. As Canada has separate various provincial jurisdictions where the Bohras reside, it would be expedient and convenient to blend the control of Sayedna over his adherents and their properties etc.

One of the objectives was also to indemnify the Sayedna, in his personal or individual capacity, or any emissary, servant, nominee, employee or attorney of Dawat-e-Hadiyah (Canada), to the extent permitted by applicable law.

At the time the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada (Tories) was at the helm of the Federal Government and one of the partners of the Sayedna lawyers, Borden & Elliot, was the main campaign/finance managers. The Bill was sponsored by the Hon. Senator Atkins whose constituency happened to be situated at Richmond Hill in Ontario where the Bohra Mosque is.

As soon as the notice appeared in various newspapers, some of the members of the Association of Progressive Dawoodi Bohras in Ontario (APDBO) began to prepare for the Senate hearings and lobbying the opposition Liberal Party Senators.

The first Reading of the Bill S-13 took place on September 17, 1992. The second Reading was on September 22, 1992.

Hon. Senator Phillippe Gigantes refused to adopt the motion and opposed the Bill at this crucial Reading. The debates were adjourned till the next day and again until December 3, 1992.

Some excerpts from the debates of December 3, 1992:

Senator Gigantes:

“This is a weird, contentious, querulous sect from Bombay. It is proposed in this Bill that the tyrannical and much opposed leader of this sect be recognized by the Senate of Canada as a corporation sole, to be able to handle money of this sect without any control by a board of directors. Why? Because he has paid a fat fee to a Tory lawyer in Toronto, who happens to know the Leader of the Government, who has asked Senator Atkins to push this thing on us.

“They fiddle, while Rome burns, doing favours for dubious characters, for dubious clients of dubious Tory lawyers, instead of dealing with more important issues. They want us to send this bill to a committee, taking up the time of senators and Parliament and wasting money in order to do a favour for somebody whom half of his followers (question the system he presides over).”

Opposition Senator Corbin:
“ I have even greater and more serious reasons for opposing this group. I will fight them to the end.”


Excerpts from the debates of December 14, 1992:

Senator Gignates:

“Large quantities of evidence has been sent to us in the form of respected publications in India and Pakistan which have reported on this Dai al-Mutlaq and the things he has been doing.

“In principle, we should not touch with a barge pole a controversial institution that is bitterly divided. We are talking about a kind of religious mafia. Those who are sending letters to us are alleging that the Dai al-Mutlaq has taken control of properties accumulated by chapters of this brotherhood and is now administering them without giving an account to any of the people who put up their money to build the community centres and so on.

“Those people are protesting against this undemocratic, tyrannical and arbitrary rule by this one person (and his priesthood) who in interviews has said he considers himself to be God, no less. In one interview he watered it down and said that he was equivalent to God. If he is God or the equivalent he certainly does not need the Canadian Senate. He should be able to arrange things the way he wants.

“Do not tell me that the lawyer is doing this for nothing. Are you really suggesting that Borden & Elliot helping this particular Bombay billionaire, are not charging him anything out of the kindness of their hearts. Just because a Tory lawyer wants to charge a big fat fee the Canadian Senate must get into the murk of this particular situation.

“Why should we give the imprimatur of the Senate to somebody who is not even a Canadian citizen, who will have the right to administer property here in Canada, property accumulated by people who are Canadian citizens, and who will probably be able to take this property out of the country, to the detriment of those citizens, to the detriment of Canada, and, in a small way, to the detriment of the Canadian dollar.

“We will sanction a Shite sect by allowing this man to come here and apply in this country the practices that have him in trouble with the authorities in India and Pakistan where he is accused, among other things, of smuggling diamonds and of desecrating cemeteries.

“Surely that Tory lawyer can make money doing something else. There must be some Canadian-born criminals that he can defend. Does he have to go overseas to find clients? Is business that bad in the law in Toronto that he has to find a character of dubious past who claims to be God, and defend him? Since when does God need a lawyer?”

(Debate adjourned until March 2, 1993 and March 3, 1993)

March 3, 1993

Senator Gigantes:

There are two stages here. The first is this:

“Do we accept the principle of your bill, which will give corporation sole status to someone who is not a Canadian resident? That is a precedent.

“After we accept this principle, we can then bring up your other point; namely, that they should come before the Senate Committee and face their accusers. The accusers will come here in large numbers and from India, and you will not like what they will say. ”

Senator Corbin:

“We are dealing with a request that comes to us from a person who is the head of an Islamic sect, and who considers himself all powerful. He feels that he has to answer no one for his actions and deeds, and that he can throw out of his community any one he wishes at any time. He has been the object of great controversy in India.

“These are not fictitious allegations dreamed up by someone who, for some reason, would be opposed to the Dai al-Mutlaq. These are papers, public pieces of information which came out of magazines and newspapers. They are signed and dated. They carry a continuing story of molestation, of persecution on the part of the person who seeks to be incorporated in Canada by way of corporation sole.

“Example from an article in a newspaper or magazine called Caravan of September 1979 by Mohan Deep:

“The Bohras are finally beginning to rebel. Their tiny reformist movement, however, has come under ferocious attack by the religious despot who is unwilling to relinquish his hold.”

“Girls, young women, have been told they could not marry because the boss said they could not marry. They have been told to postpone their wedding for two and three years. These are not fairly tales.

“I have received documents which were not signed. I have not used them, and I cannot even quote from them, but they are blood-curdling documents nevertheless. If and when we do get to committee, I intend to ask questions with respect to those allegations. I doubt very much that they are fairly tales.

“There is opposition in Canada. It is not a large community, but it is extremely divided over this. A lot of people are hurt. Their feelings are hurt. Their lives are being disturbed; their collective, individual and family lives. You would not believe the sort of thing that is going on.

“I do not like to distinguish between male and female in the Senate, but I think that our honourable colleagues, the women in the Senate, should have a particular concern in what has been going on in the way that women are being treated by this despot.”

The second Reading was not approved and the subject-matter was referred to the Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs which met on May 4, 1993.

Soon after this a large contingent of Kotharis from India, the U.K., Canada and U.S.A. met with Sayedna's lawyer in Toronto to devise their strategy.

The Kothari Amil of Toronto, Quresh Shiabuddin (Sayedna's nephew) was relieved of his plum job in Toronto and absconded to Chennai (Madras). The reason why Quresh B.S. (Prince Koresh Wacko) is absconding is because he was allegedly under investigations together with his henchmen! The Canada custodian of Dawate Hadiyah, Sheikh Zulfiqar Zakir (Patwa) absconded to the U.S.A.

The Canadian Senate Bill S-13 failed to go through the second Reading and died on the order paper.

The Federal Government of Canada under the Prime Ministership of Kim Campbell (the Tories), friends of the Sayedna, lost the general election miserably to the Liberals. Their majority of over 200 seats was reduced to winning just two seats in Canada. What a sweet poetic justice!!

If you need complete copies of the Bill S-13 (1991-92) together with the debates, Please write to:

Canada Communications Group - Publishing
Supply and Services of Canada
Ottawa Ont K1A 0S9