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Recommendations on women by CII discussed

KARACHI, Dec 30: Most speakers at a meeting on Tuesday supported the recently formulated recommendations of the Council of Islamic Ideology, but at least one participant who belongs to a religious party termed them against the religion and rejected them.

They were speaking at the meeting organised by the Aurat Foundation to discuss the CII’s recommendations sent to parliament so that they could be debated and laws amended/ formulated accordingly.

CII member Dr Manzoor Ahmad said the CII had recommended that if a woman demanded a divorce in writing, the husband was bound to divorce her within 90 days. If he did not do that by then, the divorce would become effective unless the woman withdrew her demand.

The husband would also not have the right to “Rujoo”. After the divorce, if the woman so desired, the court could order the husband to provide maintenance to her. “It has also recommended that on the pattern of the nikahnama form, a divorce form should also be developed and its registration made mandatory to avoid subsequent complications. The CII has also recommended some benefits, such as keeping gifts etc by the woman in case of a divorce,” said Dr Ahmad.

“Another important CII recommendation deals with sighting of the moon and has recommended that a central place, preferably Makkah Mukarrama in Saudi Arabia, be made a central point, and a central Islamic calendar be designed on a scientific basis to avoid celebration of religious festivals in the same country or even sometimes in the same cities, on different days.”

Dr Ahmad said that these recommendation had been formulated after getting research done and recommendations sought from different ulema and then discussing them at CII meetings.

The Jamaat-i-Islami Sindh chief and religious scholar, Maulana Asadullah Bhutto, however termed the recommendations against the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah and rejected them.

Referring to the opinions sought from different ulema, he said the ulema could have their individual opinions on certain issues, but when laws for the entire country/ nation were to be formulated, opinions of a majority of ulema had to be followed, which in this case did not support the CII recommendations.

Explaining his point of view, he said that even in the superior courts when cases were heard by larger benches — comprising many judges — the decision taken by a majority of the judges was adopted, while the decision of the judges not agreeing with the majority was only recorded.

He said the procedure to get khula was already very simple and there was no reason for the CII to make such recommendations.

He also said the CII recommendations were not widely available and though he had tried, even sent his men to the CII, to get the recommendations, he could not obtain them.

Accusing the CII of not highlighting “the government’s un-Islamic steps” and working only on selective subjects, he said the CII remained tightlipped when the government was “selling” its citizens to the United States and getting funds for it, as was revealed by the then president Pervez Musharraf in his autobiography.

Retired Justice Shaiq Usmani said maintenance be given to the woman at least till she remarried.

He said as there was no restriction on women travelling alone for any purpose in the country or overseas, they be allowed to go to perform Haj without a mehram.

But since Haj is performed in Saudi Arabia, Saudi laws had to be followed.

Dr Shakeel Auj of Karachi University suggested that the period of 90 days recommended by the CII be extended to 120 days. Women be allowed to go and perform Haj without a mehram, etc.

Ruet-i-Hilal Committee chief Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman, who was to participate in the debate, did not turn up.

Earlier, Anis Haroon, Naheed Syed of the Aurat Foundation and others said that many of the laws were old and it was required that they be reviewed and made compatible with modern needs.

They said that they did not suggest that the West be followed blindly, but there was nothing wrong if some good practices of the West were adopted here to provide relief to the suppressed classes, including women, who are 50 per cent of the population.
Source: Dawn
Date:12/31/2008

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