ISLAMABAD: The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) has recommended that the act of triple talaq (or instant divorce) should be deemed a punishable crime.
Replying to a question by Member of National Assembly (MNA) Bashir Virk, CII authorities informed the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Law and Justice that the divorce takes place when the word for it, talaq, is uttered thrice in one breath – even if it has been done in jest.
Federal Law Minister Farogh Naseem said that there was precedence in Islamic history of such an act being punished by the state, saying that the second caliph of Islam, Hazrat Umar (RA), had punished those who performed the act of instant divorce. “Therefore, the NA can make laws to make this action a punishable crime,” he said.
Endorsing the law minister, CII Chairman Dr Qibla Ayaz said triple talaq should be made punishable in Fiqah Hanafi.
When inquired about the punishment, Ayaz said that the CII had not determined that as yet. “If the ministry of law agrees to our suggestion to make it a punishable offence, the punishment can also be determined.”
Playing the devil’s advocate, the law minister warned that making triple talaq a punishable crime would open other means for police to demand bribes.
“If divorce is not a crime, then such legislation should be avoided,” he said. “But if there is precedence of the righteous Caliph, then we are bound to follow it as well,” he added.
The committee deferred the discussion on the bill about divorce as well as that on inheritance till the next meeting.
During the meeting, committee chairman Riaz Fatyana expressed displeasure with the ministries which had failed to provide the details of the more than 750 laws sought by the committee. He suggested that four or five relevant officials be called in to inquire why the required information had not been provided so far.
Law ministry officials said that out of 40 ministries, only “a few had replied to the queries of the committee”.
The law minister suggested to withhold for three months the salary of the secretary of the departments that fail to submit comply with the orders of the standing committee. Committee members suggested to summon the secretaries of the ministry that had failed to reply so far.
Speaking about legislation, Fatyana informed the committee that 51 bills had been tabled in the NA. “Of those, 39 are relevant to women and 30 are relevant to children.”
He also suggested to limit the number of laws that are enacted while calling for making each new addition comprehensive through sections. “A larger number of laws create ambiguity among the investigating officers and in courts.”