Cairo: Amid a political deadlock between Islamist and secular forces in Egypt, the prestigious Al-Azhar University has come up with a draft of the country's new constitution, retaining the nation's secular character.

The institution -- the highest Sunni Islamic seminary -- has suggested that the draft could be considered when the new parliament is elected.

Though the military dominated ruling Supreme Council has given no firm date for elections, it has indicated that fresh polls could be held any time later this year.

The intervention by the seminary has come amidst pressure by Islamists calling that a new constitution should be based on strict Sharia law.

The force behind the move is the Muslim Brotherhood who are sensing that the party - allowed recently to come over ground - has a fair chance of securing a majority in any
future polls.

The Islamists have started muscle-flexing by organising a massive march of million on March 29 in a show of strength that sent ripples among the secular forces and non-Muslims.

After the march, the army is attempting to press for retaining the secular character of the largest Arab country.

The army wants to reinstate the civil nature of the state, equal rights among citizens as well as the freedom of creed and belief.

The move was opposed by activists who do not want the army to further meddle into politics.

The main principles of the Al-Azhar's blue print are the creation of a national constitutional democratic modern state where law governs the different estates and where non-Muslims may resort to their religions to rule their civil code.

It provides free democratic elections and the basic freedoms of opinion with complete respect for human rights, women and children.

The draft also advocates abiding by international charters and decisions, Safeguarding the dignity of the Egyptian people and prioritising combating poverty.

(Agencies)