What is with Maulana Sherani, anyways!

The latest in the series of imprudent remarks by Maulana Sherani is his comment this Sunday that the Panama Leaks were somehow a Western conspiracy aimed at destabilising Pakistani democracy and to ‘implement their nefarious designs in the country.’

This is of course not the first time Maulana Sherani has voiced any opinions that is not grounded in facts. His ignorance over the global state of affairs and controversial verdicts on various laws, insisting on men and women on unequal footing, makes one wonder how this advisory council could be held in high regard by most in the country.

In February, the provincial Punjab assembly passed a landmark women's protection bill, establishing hotlines and shelters for women to protect them from domestic, psychological and sexual violence. The harshest criticism against the legislation came from the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII).  Commenting on the bill, Maulana Sherani said: ‘The law is wrong and that the lawmakers had not taken the Islamic teachings about ‘family protection’ into consideration.’

Prior to this, Marvi Memon tabled a bill in the National Assembly in January. The bill was aimed to address the issue of child marriages. UNICEF estimates that about 3 percent of girls in Pakistan are married before they turn 15, and 21 percent before age 18. This bill though didn’t even see the light of day as the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) immediately shot it down.

The council also ruled in the past that DNA could not be used as evidence in rape cases, endorsing controversial ‘Hudood’ laws that mandate that a rape victim get four male witnesses to be able to testify in court.

The CII was formulated in 1962 under Ayub Khan as a constitutional body that would provide Islamic guidance when it came to lawmaking. Its ruling on bills however never was, nor is mandatory; rather just an opinion that should not decide the fate of any bill. Unfortunately this has not been the case.

The CII is a redundant organisation. Under the 73’ constitution it was supposed to submit an annual report up till 1996 after which it would no longer be necessary. But the council keeps on going, priding itself on speaking exclusively on issues relating to women.

Stopping important legislation that protects the rights of those who cannot protect themselves doesn’t only give Pakistan a very ‘negative image,’ it forces half of country’s population to live a life of fear, devoid of due self esteem.  This is what forces the world to reason that we are a country of misogynistic bigots.

Bushra
2237 hours
Saturday 30 April 2016

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