Allow Shia women Hajj without mehram: LHC

Published: August 2, 2016
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The petitioner says that Shia pilgrims faced discriminatory treatment at the hands of the ministry officials. PHOTO: AFP

The petitioner says that Shia pilgrims faced discriminatory treatment at the hands of the ministry officials. PHOTO: AFP

LAHORE: Lahore High Court on Monday directed the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MORA) to accept this year Hajj applications from Shia women not accompanied by a mehram.

Justice Ayesha A Malik granted the interim relief to Shia women after the counsel for the ministry sought more time to disclose the name of the official who had decided to follow a 2013 decision by the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) prohibiting women pilgrims from performing Hajj without a mehram.

The hearing was then adjourned till October 14.

Justice Malik is hearing a petition challenging discriminatory treatment by the ministry with Shia citizens, particularly women.

At a previous hearing, the ministry had told the court that it had never sought advice in the matter from the CII. However, it said, a standing committee meeting had decided to follow the CII’s 2013 ruling in vetting applications for Hajj submitted by women. The ministry said the CII decision was not mentioned in the Hajj policy. The judge had then asked the ministry to disclose the name of the officials involved.

Petitioner’s counsel Barrister Maqsooma Zahra Bokhari had submitted that the CII was of an advisory body. Its recommendations could not be implemented unless they were enacted, she said. She also said that members representing Fiqh-i-Jafaria in the CII had recorded a note of dissent on the ruling.

The petitioner had said that Shia pilgrims faced discriminatory treatment at the hands of the ministry officials. He said the ministry was rejecting Hajj applications by Shia women not accompanied by mehrams. He sought a directive for the ministry to decide applications from Shia citizens in accordance with Fiqh-i-Jafaria.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 2nd, 2016.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • point
    Aug 2, 2016 - 9:32AM

    every type of woman is not allowed to go for Hajj without mahram. My mom is sunni and was not allowed!!Recommend

  • Jalbani Baloch
    Aug 2, 2016 - 9:45AM

    It is the requirement of Saudi Government that every women travelling to Saudi Arabia for whatsoever reasons including Hajja and Umrah should be accompanied by her muharram. This condition was also raised in official talks between the Iranian and Saudi Counterparts in their discussions on Hajj arrangements, but is not yet accepted by the Saudi Authorities. In such a situation, the Lahore High Court decision will not take hold. Recommend

  • Urban Legend
    Aug 2, 2016 - 10:13AM

    Why shias are to be treated differently?Recommend

  • Aug 2, 2016 - 10:43AM

    Shocked at such a decision by LHC…no wonder why people don’t get justice from these corrupt courts….

    Everybody knows that it’s a direction of Saudi Government that a woman can’t come to Umrah or Hajj without a Mehram irrespective of what sect she follows.

    And how come LHC segregate between women while issuing an order… PATHETIC !!Recommend

  • Abbas
    Aug 2, 2016 - 12:03PM

    KSA is the kingdom there fore saudi is no one to give direction on Religious MatterRecommend

  • Kam
    Aug 2, 2016 - 1:10PM

    Confused after reading the article. As per saudi law, no women is allowed to perform hajj without mehram. How can LHC decides saudi law?Recommend

  • Farhan Khan
    Aug 2, 2016 - 1:10PM

    For such relief, They need to go to Iran instead of Saudi Arabia.Recommend

  • Haji Atiya
    Aug 2, 2016 - 2:55PM

    @Kam:
    Previously Shia women were indeed allowed into Saudi from other countries to perform Hajj or Umrah unaccompanied, or in a group with other women. Think Pakistan is now trying to align its Shia affirmative action policies with those other countries although Saudi itself now has taken a contrary stand on this issue because of its loggerhead with Iran.Recommend

  • numbersnumbers
    Aug 3, 2016 - 1:11AM

    To all commenters, note that from website “performhajj.com”, under section “hajj-a women’s guide”, a woman may perform her first haj with a mehram OR “a group of trusted women”!Recommend

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