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'No un-Islamic changes in Hudood laws': PM meets women lawmakers

Published Jun 16, 2004 12:00am

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ISLAMABAD June 15: Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali on Tuesday declared in unequivocal terms that the government will not make any un-Islamic amendment to the Hudood Ordinance under external or individual pressure.

Speaking at a meeting of women parliamentarians of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Q at the residence of party president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, the prime minister said: "Parliament is the proper platform for making or amending any law and whatever changes will be proposed in any law of the land, including the Hudood Ordinance, they will come through parliament."

Lawmaker Kishmala Tariq briefed the participants of the meeting on the controversy over the Hudood ordinance. Ms Kishmala, an advocate by profession from Lahore, has been asked by President Pervez Musharraf to make out a case for suitable amendments to the Hudood laws which had been enacted during former military dictator Gen Ziaul Haq's rule.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Jamali said that any decision about amendments to the ordinance would be taken through consultations with all coalition parliamentary groups.

He said the proposed amendments to the Hudood ordinance would first be sent to the Islamic Ideology Council for its advice before taking them to parliament's debate and approval.

He said that in a parliamentary democratic dispensation any amendment could only be brought about through parliament and the parliament itself was not authorized under constitution to pass any law repugnant to Islam.

He, however, said that any man-made law would be considered carefully for amendment for which the government was not in a hurry. He said the government would only follow those principles as had been laid down by Islam.

Referring to laws of inheritance, he said these laws already existed in Shariat which could not be altered. Party President and parliamentary leader in the National Assembly Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain said on this occasion that any decision about the Hudood ordinance must be taken through broader consensus of the party.

He said lobbying in this connection must end now since "we have to take a decision by consensus of the party and by keeping the Islamic injunctions in view." Earlier, the sources said, women lawmakers Prime Minister's Adviser Neelofar Bakhtiar, Mehnaz Rafi and Kishmala Tariq briefed the meeting about the situation after the publicity given to proposed amendments to the ordinance.

A majority of the women lawmakers, according to insiders, favoured amendments to the ordinance as was envisaged by President Gen Pervez Musharraf in a couple of his speeches.

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