A government-backed special team will meet Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman tomorrow to address his party’s reservations over two recently enacted women-friendly bills.
The Anti-Honour Killings Laws (Criminal Laws Amendment) Bill and the Anti-Rape Laws (Criminal Laws Amendment) Bill were presented in the joint parliamentary session last month. The JUI-F, however, had raised objections over the bill, claiming a few clauses were against Islamic injunctions and needed to be reviewed.
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In order to remove the party’s reservations, the government formed a team headed by Barrister Zafarullah Khan, a special assistant to the prime minister. Law and Justice Minister Zahid Hamid is also a member of the team.
A senior member of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz told The Express Tribune the panel will meet the JUI-F chief to know about his concerns, which may be considered in the joint sitting of parliament scheduled for April 11.
The JUI-F’s legal team comprising former Supreme Court Bar Association president Kamran Murtaza, Advocate Muhammad Jalal, Fazlur Rehman’s younger brother Attaur Rehman and former Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa chief minister Akram Durrani will also meet the government’s team.
JUI-F lawmaker Naima Kishwar said the party wanted the clauses against Islamic injunctions removed and the bills to be sent to the Council of Islamic Ideology, which gives its recommendations to parliament.
Barrister Zafarullah said the meeting was expected on Sunday but Maulana Fazl was not available. The meeting has been rescheduled for Tuesday.
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He voiced hope that the JUI-F’s concerns would be removed after he had listened to the government’s views.
The two bills were initially introduced by former PPP senator Sughra Imam as private members bills passed by the Senate two years ago. The government could not get the National Assembly to adopt the laws within the stipulated 90 days and had to bring it before the joint parliament sitting held on March 15.
The honour killings bill aims to prevent murders of women in the name of honour by making the crime non-compoundable. The anti-rape bill seeks to make DNA test a compulsory part of evidence in investigating rape cases.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 4th, 2016.