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Senator questions constitutional status of Council of Islamic Ideology

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Says matter be referred to Law and Justice Committee
Islamabad January 12, 2016: During discussion on the annual report of the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) today, the first of its kind in the history of the Senate as well as the Council, Senator Farhatullah Babar questioned the constitutional and legal status of the Council itself and its reports and suggested that the matter be referred to the law and justice committee for expert legal opinion.
Quoting from the 2011-12 report he said that even the Council had frankly admitted that after the submission of its final report in December 1996 it was no longer constitutionally required to continue submitting annual reports to the Parliament.
However, the Council also unilaterally decided to keep submitting annual reports for what it says continuity of a tradition, he said and asked what obliges the parliament to accept the desire of following a tradition that is sanctioned neither by constitution, nor the law nor the parliament has asked for it
The fact that it is no longer a constitutional requirement for the Council to submit annual reports raises questions about its status which need to be looked into and clarified, he said.
He said that the Council was merely an advisory body that could neither make law nor strike down any law. The task assigned to it under the 1973 Constitution had been completed and further submission of annual reports was no longer a constitutional requirement.
On the other hand the Federal Shariat Court is tasked to examine and can even strike down any law on the touch stone of whether it was Islamic or not. Where then was the need for CII and its reports, he asked.
Furthermore according to its special 2008 report 90 % of the laws were not in conflict with Islam and that only 10 % may be reviewed by the Parliament. An examination of those remaining 10% laws was now in the domain of the Parliament and not the Council, he said.
He said that the Council had also made some very controversial pronouncements. Citing examples he said the Council has rejected a draft bill for establishing homes for the elderly saying that the idea was against the norms and traditions of society, rejected the Women Protection Bill, 2006 and declared that DNA test results as unacceptable as primary evidence in cases of rape.
Sometime back the Council first approved the draft of a resolution recommending amending the blasphemy law so as to discourage false allegations. However, soon the hardliners joined hands and struck down the proposed resolution.
In March 2014 the CII decreed that current laws forbidding child marriage were unIslamic.
Back in 1978 it recommended that Pakistan should include Kalima Tayyaba and inscribe Allah o Akbar on the national flag to inspire people for martyrdom and jehad.
Not surprisingly the flag of Taliban bears these symbols who have been carrying out what they call jehad.
Recommendations such as these demonstrate how dangerously conservative and out of touch with the times the CII is today, he said and demanded that the law and justice committee should examine the whole issue regarding constitutional and legal status of the Council.

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