ISLAMABAD: The deadlock between the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) has persisted over the anti-honour killing bill to be taken up by parliament during its joint sitting on April 11.
A senior JUI-F official told The Express Tribune on the condition of anonymity that negotiations between the JUI-F’s legal team and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Barrister Zafarullah Khan remained inconclusive as the former insisted that the government not change the clauses related to non-compound offences in the anti-honour killing bill.
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Non-compoundable offences are serious in nature and private parties as well as society at large are affected by such offences and no compromise is allowed. Even trial courts do not have the authority to compound such offences.
The official said that the JUI-F’s legal team accompanied by Kamran Murtaza, former president of the SCBA, advocate Muhammad Jalal, Senator Hafiz Hamdullah and Naima Kishwar, member national Assembly JUI-F, held a meeting with the government’s team headed by Barrister Zafarullah Khan. Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid was also present at the meeting.
The official who attended the meeting said that JUI-F continued to insist that the government not remove the ‘reconciliation element’ from the clauses of the bill and asked the ruling team to leave it at the discretion of judges. However, Barrister Zafarullah remained reluctant to amend the clauses.
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JUI-F lawmaker Naima Kishwar confirmed to The Express Tribune that the deadlock still persists over the honour killing bill adding that “negotiations remained inconclusive as the government seems reluctant to amend those clauses which are against Islamic injunctions,” she added.
However, regarding the anti-rape bill the government assured that they would amend all clauses which affected Islamic laws, explained the lawmaker, who was part of the JUI-F’s legal team.
Sources within JUI-F said that after the deadlock the government team called upon Fazlur Rehman and sought his time to make consensus over the issue before the passage of the bill by the joint sitting of Parliament. However, Maulana Fazl was out of the city on Tuesday and further development could not take place. Repeated attempts were made to contact Barrister Zafarullah Khan. However, he was not available for comment.
The Anti-Honour Killings Laws (Criminal Laws Amendment) Bill, 2015, and the Anti-Rape Laws (Criminal Laws Amendment) Bill, 2015, was presented in the joint session of Parliament last month. However, JUI-F had raised objections over the bill citing that few clauses of the bills were against the Islamic injunctions which need to be reviewed.
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Initially the bills were introduced by former PPP Senator Sughra Iman as private members bills passed by the senate two years back. However, government could not get these laws passed by the National Assembly within the stipulated 90 days and had to bring it before the joint sitting of Parliament held on March 15.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 6th, 2016.