ISLAMABAD - The latest pronouncement of Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) is condemned as an unacceptable attempt to foist the obscurantist agenda of the militants on the people of Pakistan in the name of religion.
The call for the restoration of child marriages and declaring the requirement of written permission from wife for a husband before contracting a second marriage as 'un-Islamic,' the CII has exposed itself to the charge that it is purveying 'medieval nonsense at public expense, said PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar in a statement issued here on Wednesday.
The CII had already reviewed all the laws and according to its special 2008 report it had declared that over 90 per cent of the laws, including the ones relating to the child marriages and family laws, were not in conflict with Islam. How can the Council now reverse its report? he asked.
The latest assertion made by the present Council, ignoring its 2008 report, is an echo of the Taliban's viewpoint and amounts to paving way for the prevalence of extremists' agendas. The Council has become an institution for purveying medieval and regressive views, he added.
Giving examples Senator Babar said that in May last it declared that DNA test results are not acceptable as primary evidence in cases of rape. Making this declaration the Council ignored that DNA test is admissible as evidence in courts across the world and DNA tests and preservation of DNA samples in rape cases have been made mandatory in Pakistan in the light of a recent Supreme Court's verdict, he said.
In September last the Council first approved the draft of a resolution recommending amendment in the blasphemy law, proposing punishment to those levelling false allegations but soon the hardliners joined hands and struck down the proposed resolution.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has strongly condemned the retrogressive move by the Council of Islamic Ideology to roll back the Muslim family laws and decided to give tough time in the defence of women's rights.
It would be a new debate among the different secular school of thoughts about the amendments in family laws, said a statement issued here on Wednesday.
"At a time when the state is trying to deal with a grave threat from extremists posing as religious soldiers and the humanitarian challenges in Thar, Maulana Shirani, the controversial head of the Council of Islamic Ideology, has chosen to fire a broadside at the disadvantaged women of the country," it said.
The edict aimed at giving parents/guardians a licence to give away little girls in marriage and freeing men of the need to secure the permission of their first wives before having second wives is nothing short of a vicious attack on women's and girls' fundamental rights.
The assumptions underlying the suggestions made by Maulana Shirani and his associates are open to challenge not only the constitution of Pakistan and universal human rights but also violative of the spirit of the religion.
"Quite obviously Maulana Shirani wishes to open a new front against women and to reinforce the militants ' siege of the state. In doing so he has furnished a good reason for a full-scale review of the CII 's functions, it powers, and the justification for its existence, the statement maintained.