Differing perspectives: CII voices concerns over K-P’s domestic violence bill

Published: March 3, 2016
Will take up Punjab’s Protection of Women Bill today. PHOTO: Waseem Niaz

Will take up Punjab’s Protection of Women Bill today. PHOTO: Waseem Niaz

ISLAMABAD: The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) has expressed concerns over the domestic violence bill – recently tabled in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Assembly – and declared some of its clauses as against the injunctions of Islam and the Constitution.

“A few clauses [of the bill] are against the Islamic laws and the Constitution which need to be reviewed,” said the CCI Chairman Muhammad Khan Sheerani while talking to media after chairing the council’s 202nd meeting on Wednesday.

“We will discuss the bill again on the second day of the meeting and then will decide whether it is to be rejected or not,” he said.

Sheerani said there are 33 clauses in the bill and a few penalties already exist in the federal law. “The bill is already being exercised at the federal level and there is no need to make another bill,” he added.

The CII chief said a few clauses of the bill were in conflict of the Constitution including Article 14, 25 (3) and 35. “On Thursday (today)) the council will be in a position to give its complete recommendation,” he added.

Talking to The Express Tribune, a CII member Dr Noor Ahmed Shahtaz said the council will give its alternative solutions with regard to the objectionable clauses. “The council will give its alternative solution after consultation and that alternative solution can be placed in the bill,” he said.

The bill was tabled in the K-P Assembly during the previous government, but the ruling PML-N and other parties resisted it. Due to opposition to the draft, the legislation was referred to a committee but later it lapsed as the government completed its term.

Last month the K-P government sent the bill to the council, which is a constitutional body that advises the legislature about the compatibility of proposed laws with Sharia.

Protection of Women Bill

The council will take up today Punjab Protection of Women against Violence Bill –unanimously passed by the Punjab Assembly last week – as some CII members believe that the bill is against the spirit of Islam.

Under the Constitution, the provincial government is bound to send the bill to CII for consideration.

A CII member, who requested not to be named, said the bill was passed in haste which indicated that there was something in it which is against the Islamic injunctions. The religious parties have already expressed their concerns over the bill, which has 31 clauses, provides a system for complaint registration as well as penalties for perpetrators of gender violence.

The defendant will have to show cause in the court in the same week. All complaints will be decided within 90 days from the day of their receipt. The law provides that victims of domestic violence cannot be evicted from their homes without their consent. If they are evicted, the court can intervene.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 3rd, 2016.

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