PML-Q calls for disbanding CII


Zia Khan June 19, 2010

ISLAMABAD: A senior opposition lawmaker has called for disbanding the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) for its “failure” in the ideological warfare against Talibanisation.

“Close down the CII…it is of no use,” PML-Q legislator Riaz Pirzada said during the ongoing debate on the federal budget for fiscal year 2010-11 in the National Assembly on Friday.

“Did the CII ever come up with an edict (fatwa) against suicide bombings or the Taliban,” he said. Pirzada questioned the role of an institution former military ruler General Ziaul Haq had established to Islamise Pakistan’s constitution and criminal justice system.

Pirzada’s demand appears to be first public call by lawmakers to do away with the CII.

Bushra Gohar of the Awami National Party (ANP) was quick to support Pirzada’s viewpoint, saying that the CII has never been an effective institution to block the spread of Taliban’s radical interpretation of Islam.

These calls coincide with a reported government plan to appoint a JUI-F man as head of the council – a move aimed at saving the fragile ruling coalition from falling apart.

The decision to appoint Senator Maulana Muhammad Khan Sherani as CII chief was taken by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani last week to allay the JUI-F’s concerns.

Bushra Gohar termed the proposed arrangement as a politically-motivated move and warned the government against going ahead with the “controversial” plan. Pirzada was also critical of the expected appointment.

For him, there was also no justification to have a Shariat court because it doesn’t serve either the religion or the state. Rather, he added, such institutions are adding to the spread of fundamentalism.

In an apparent reference to a recent rift between the government and the Supreme Court, Pirzada argued: “Courts have nothing to do with running the government. Their responsibility is to administer justice.”

Pirzada, who hails from South Punjab, urged the PPP to show what he called a national character.

He saw the party as being obsessed with its Sindhi nationalist outlook, saying that such a mentality could lead to a political disaster similar to the one that led to the fall of Dhaka in 1971.

Taking part in the debate earlier, PPP lawmaker Fauzia Wahab said Pakistan should seek a waiver of multinational and bilateral loans it owes to Western allies for Islamabad’s services as a frontline state in the “war on terror.”

As a lackluster and poorly attended debate headed for conclusion, lawmakers from urban and feudalistic background continue to put forward arguments in favour of and against taxing the agriculture sector.

Jamshed Dasti of the PPP claimed that former premier Nawaz Sharif was aware of a “secret deal” under which former military ruler Pervez Musharraf relinquished the presidency back in 2008.

The House would resume debate on Saturday.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 19th, 2010.

COMMENTS (1)

Muhammad Khalid Masud | 13 years ago | Reply The Council of Islamic Ideology is not a fatwa giving institution. However, it published two reports in Urdu: Islam awr Dahshat Gardi (2005) and Islam awr Intiha Pasandi (2008) in which the fatwas from the Muslim world and Pakistan on the subject were published. On the issue of Nifadh Shari'at (Islamic law and state legislation) the Council organized seminars, consultative groups with the lawyers, Ulama and Human Rights experts during 2008-2010. It published a special issue of its Journal Ijtihad on this subject. A comprehensive report on these issues is to be published Jointly by the Council and the Iqbal Institute this year. The real issue of religion and politics in Pakistan with reference to the Council of Islamic Ideology is how to Islamize the laws in Pakistan. The Constitution of Pakistan subscribes to the assumption that existing laws are Islamic unless repugnant to the teachings of the Qur'an and Sunna. The Constitution requires the Council to review the existing laws in view of that principle. Accordingly, the Council has completed the review of existing laws since the year 1726 up to 2007. Two reports in 1997 and 2008 have been submitted to the Government of Pakistan. Majority of the laws are not repugnant to the Qur'an and Sunna. Had the Parliament considered and discussed the CII Reports, the question of Islamization of the laws in Pakistan had been settled long time ago. The religious political parties, on the other hand define Islamization to mean application of the teachings of Fiqh schools, namely the Hanafi, the Shi'i and Ahl al-Hadith. That requires codifying books of these sects. The religious political parties have not codified these laws because they oppose any type of codification. Nor do they support modern legal system. Majority of the members of the Council do not read English and have no knowledge of Pakistan laws. For political purposes, the government keeps adding office bearers of religious political parties as members to the Council in defiance of the meaning of Islamization of laws prescribed in the constitution.
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