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SC moved against Hasba Bill

November 16, 2006

ISLAMABAD, Nov 15: The Supreme Court was requested on Wednesday to restrain the NWFP governor from assenting the controversial Hasba Bill, passed by the NWFP Assembly to enforce Islamic morality in the province.

Petitioner Maulvi Iqbal Haider, chairman, Awami Himayat Tehrik, requested the apex court to declare the bill as against the constitution and contravening the judgment and guidelines provided by the apex court in its recommendations on a presidential reference in 2,005.

On Monday last, the NWFP government passed through a simple majority the bill, aimed at appointing an anti-vice ombudsman enjoying sweeping powers to protect Islamic values and prohibit persons, agencies and authorities working under the administrative control of the government to act against Shariat.

The re-introduction of the bill, the petitioner stated, would create serious constitutional issues entailing administrative anarchy among the federating units of the country. Repercussions of enforcing such a parallel system would create distortion and could result in the collapse of hierarchal structure of command and control, encouraging inter-provincial disharmony and chaos.

Without making appropriate changes in section 12, 23, 27, 25 (1 and 2) and section 28 of the original Hasba bill 2,005 as directed by the apex court earlier, he claimed, the present bill would again be violative of articles 2A (Objective Resolution), 4 (rights of individuals to be dealt with in accordance with law ), 9 (security of person), 14 (inviolability of dignity of man), 16 (freedom of assembly), 17 (freedom of association), 18 (freedom of trade, business or profession), 19 (freedom of speech), 20 (freedom to profess religion and to manage religious institutions), 25 (equality of citizens ) and 175 (establishment and jurisdiction of courts).On September 6, 2004, the petitioner recalled, the Council of Islamic Ideology after going through the draft of the bill had asked the provincial government to refrain from enacting it, saying that several provisions of the bill could be exploited for political ends.