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Shujaat to consult Ulema on women’s bill

SLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League President Ch Shujaat Hussain on Wednesday said he will meet country’s leading Ulema and religious scholars and seek their guidance about Islamic injunctions, which guaranteed rights to women and their protection. “I have decided to hold a meeting with leading Ulema and religious scholars, as the religio-politico Ulema are trying to exploit the situation arising out of the Women Protection Bill (WPB)’s passage by the assembly,” said the PML president. “I will be meeting Maulan Muhammad Taqi Usmai, on his return from abroad this week, to seek his views on the WPB, and this (meeting) will be followed by a series of meetings with top Ulama, like Maulana Mufti Munibur Rehmna, Maulana Hassan Jan, Maulana Mufti Ghulamur Rehman, Maulana Qari Mohammad Hanif Jalundri, Dr Sarfraz Naeemi and others,” Shujaat told The News.

Insiders in the government seem not completely satisfied with the ways the WPB was presented and passed as a number of reservations are still being expressed over the text of the bill and its conformity with Islamic provisions. The text of the passed WPB, said a senior PML leader, did not guarantee the women’s rights as it was, more or less, relating to adultery, Zina, and registration of such cases. An official said the ministry concerned rushed through the legislations in such haste that it did not entertained six amendments proposed by PML chief Shujaat Hussain, which irked the ruling party’s parliamentary leader. “I proposed six amendments, which were not taken into consideration,” confirmed Shujaat and lamented that the point of views of the parties like the PPP-Parliamentarians were fully entertained. Some circles confirmed that no full-fledged reference was sent to the constitutional body–Council for Islamic Ideological (CII)–after the government incorporated minor amendments to the original bill. “Only the consent of the council chief was secured and no formal reference was made to the IIC,” said a senior official.

However, in the backdrop of such a hasty legislation the PML president has moved a private bill—”Prevention of Anti-women Practices (Criminal Law) Amendment Bill, 2006”–in the National Assembly. When asked, Shujaat said this bill gives rights to women through provisions against preventing or obstructing a woman from receiving her share of inheritance, or forcing her to enter into marriage against her consent or forcing her to enter into nikah with the Holy Quran, or divorcing wife through the use of triple divorce. “There are certain practices in the country which are inhuman and lead to exploitation of and discrimination against women. These (practices) are also against the spirit of Islam, which should be abolished by making them offences under the Pakistan Panel Code. The bill intends to achieve these objectives,” said Ch Shujaat Hussain in his statement attached with the private bill he submitted to National Assembly Secretariat.

He also said: “If anything is found repugnant to the Holy Quran and Sunnah in the WPB and that provision is pin-pointed/identified before the current year is out, with my effort an amendment will be brought to that, and if that amendment is not through by the end of this year, I would step down as member of the parliament for which I have submitted my advance resignation to the Speaker National Assembly who is empowered to accept it at an appropriate time.” Shujaat said he would stand by his commitment and would strive to get through the private bill he has already moved in the National Assembly. On the political side, some ministers believe that the WPB move has not produced good result in the sense that the government and the ruling party is forced to play on the pitch of the key opposition–Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal. “It would all go to the advantage of the MMA if the situation is not fully addressed,” said a senior Leaguer, who expressed his annoyance saying that this issue should have not been brought at such a level.
Source: The News

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