ISLAMABAD: Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) Chairman Maulana Mohammad Khan Sheerani, while chairing the last meeting of his current tenure on Tuesday, criticised the prime minister for ignoring the recommendations of the council.

The meeting discussed a letter written to the PM Secretariat expressing concerns that the council was not given due respect by the top leadership of the country.

The letter said it had been a tradition that the president or the prime minister attended either the first session after the restructuring of the CII or the last meeting prior to the retirement of the chairman.

“We had requested President Mamnoon Hussain to chair any session of the ongoing three-day meeting but there is no reply so far,” said Maulana Sheerani, who is set to retire on December 17 after completing his three-year term.

Maulana Sheerani’s ‘swan song’ was joined by the lone female member of the council, Dr Samia Raheel Qazi. She said the CII was a constitutional body formed to make all the laws in the country ‘Sharia compliant’.

Maulana Sheerani says CII is not being given due weight by country’s top leadership

“If the rulers are not interested in implementing Sharia who will defend the ideological boundaries of the nation,” she said.

A senior official of the CII said an active lobbying had started not only to fill 10 vacant posts but also for the slot of the chairman.

“Raising concerns and writing the letter to the PM is also a part of this move by Maulana Sheerani to highlight his own case,” the official added.

With the retirement of Maulana Sheerani, the council will be left with nine members - Dr Samia Raheel Qazi, Allama Syed Iftikhar Hussain Naqvi, retired Justice M. Raza Khan, Dr Noor Ahmed Shahtaaz, Ali Mohammad Abu Turab, Mufti Zahid Mehmood Qasmi, Mr Abdullah, a former federal secretary, Maulana Imdadullah and retired Justice Manzoor Hussain Gillani.

All these members have around one-and-a-half years to retire.

Maulana Sheerani, an MNA of the JUI-F, had been a member of the CII in 1994-1997 and was elected as the member again in 2009 and became chairman of the council in November 2010 to November 2013.

He was re-elected on December 18, 2013.

As per law, the CII should have a minimum of eight and a maximum of 20 members, including the chairman, representing various schools of thought, having knowledge of the principles and philosophy of Islam.

There have to be at least two members either sitting or retired judges of the Supreme Court or a high court while one member has to be a woman.

The members are appointed by the prime minister for three years and are eligible for re-nomination.

The CII discussed several agenda items on the first day of its meeting. It is expected that the suggestion of Mufti Sahibzada Zahid Mehmood Qasmi for making a law to protect men from torture by their wives will be taken up on November 16 or 17.

Published in Dawn November 16th, 2016