The Islamabad High Court has raised questions over the absence of a woman member in the Council of Islamic Ideology.
The court has ordered the Law secretary and the CII chairman to respond to a petition filed by a citizen named Maham Ali Khan.
The lack of inclusion of women in the constitutional body that advises the legislature whether or not a certain law is in accordance to the Qur’an and Sunnah is against the Article 228 of the Constitution of Pakistan (composition, etc. of Islamic Council), Maham’s counsel Zainab Janjua told IHC judge Amir Farooq during a hearing on Tuesday.
The CII can’t have more than 20 or less than eight members. Zainab said that there are 12 members in the body currently, but none of them is a woman.
The petitioner has requested that a woman member be included in the council. The next hearing will be held after two weeks.
Earlier, Adviser to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan penned a letter to Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser suggesting that the Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Bill 2021 be sent to the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) to check if the proposed law is or is not “repugnant to the Injunctions of Islam”.
The bill was passed in a series of legislation passed with the Ministry of Human Rights efforts. Senate passed two key government bills related to human rights last month: Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Bill 2021 and the Islamabad Capital Territory Senior Citizens Bill 2021.
Earlier in 2016, the Punjab Assembly passed a women’s protection bill, which the CII and religious parties strongly rejected, declaring it ‘unIslamic’.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government sent a similar bill to the Council for review in the same year, which it rejected based on being “un-Islamic” and announced it would prepare a ‘model’ bill in response. The council said — in its model bill — that husbands had the right to “lightly” beat their wives.