LAHORE - The Nation Assembly Committee’s decision to bar women from performing haj without Mehram is as per one of the recommendations of the Council of Islamic Ideology, the ministry of religious affairs told the Lahore High Court yesterday.

A deputy attorney general appeared in the court on behalf of the ministry and submitted written reply, saying that the ministry itself did not seek opinion from the CII on the issue but a standing committee decided to follow the council’s advice to allow women to perform haj only in company of a Mehram.

He was arguing before Justice Ayesha A Malik on petition challenging discrimination with Shia pilgrims, especially with Shia women.

The law officer contended that in 2013, the Council of Islamic Ideology passed a decision which allowed women to perform haj with Mehram.

The petitioner’s counsel objected to the reply, saying that the decision of the CII was not mentioned in the Haj policy. Haj Director Malik Saeed was also present in the court.

The counsel told the court that the Council of Islamic Ideology recommendations cannot be enforced unless these were made laws.

She questioned as to why the decision was not implemented earlier. She said the council’s members of Fiqha Jafaria did not accept this decision.

At this, the judge asked the law officer about the name of the official who got the decision enforced.

The judge observed that how the implementation of such decision was possible legally and constitutionally. The judge also questioned the process of the decision making and deferred further proceedings until August 1.