ISLAMABAD: The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) on Wednesday said that Article 6 of the Constitution, which deals with treason, could be applied against the Punjab Assembly for approving a bill without the council’s consent.

“Pakistan was established on the basis of the two nation theory and Islam is the religion of the country, and the council is a constitutional body to ensure that all the laws are formulated in accordance [with] Sharia,” Maulana Mohammad Khan Sherani, the council chairperson, told the media after the first of a two-day CII meeting.

He said the council has received the Protection of Women against Violence Bill 2015, with was recently passed by the Punjab Assembly, but the council has not yet reviewed it because it is in English.

CII chairperson claims Punjab Assembly violated Constitution by passing bill without council’s consent

“We are getting it translated, and then council’s deliberations will be issued over the said bill passed by the Punjab Assembly,” Maulana Sherani said.

“Now if any assembly passes a resolution calling to dissolve CII or approve laws without the Sharia vetting by the council is not actually following the Constitution,” he said.

The council has reviewed a draft of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Domestic Violence Bill, which Maulana Sherani said contained some inappropriate clauses.

“...There are some clauses that are not in compliance with Sharia norms and some were against other laws,” he said.

He added that council members will discuss the KP bill again.

Another council member, Noor Ahmed Shah, said that the Protection of Women against Violence Bill is currently popular in the media, but not many people have read it.

“This includes me, and most of the members of the council – therefore it is not appropriate for everybody who has not read it or [understood] the new law to say anything over it,” he said.

“But we say that all laws should be vetted by the council first to ensure that there is nothing contrary to Sharia in the bill.”

The bill was passed by the Punjab Assembly on Feb 24, 2016, and has since stirred controversy and criticism from religious circles. Clerics have come out in opposition to the bill irrespective of their sects.

The bill was passed unanimously by the Punjab Assembly. Although Jamaat-i-Islami Pakistan (JI) has a member in the aforementioned assembly, members of the party have openly rejected the bill on several television talk shows.

Ridiculing the bill, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, chief of Jamiat Ulema Islam (JUI-F) has gone as far as to call for a law to “protect the rights of husbands” in the country.

Speaking to the media, Maulana Sherani did not follow the party line when it came to Mumtaz Qadri, saying that while Qadri’s emotions and sentiments warranted praise, his actions were not “good” and he violated the law.

JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has openly expressed his support to Mumtaz Qadri and on the day he was hanged, he had said that his funeral will determine ‘who is right’.

Published in Dawn, March 3rd, 2016