Senate panel defers review of bill about Jadhav

Committee on law rejects two bills about Muslim family law


Zulfikar Baig July 13, 2021
Kulbhushan Jadhav. VIDEO SCREENGRAB

ISLAMABAD:

The Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice unanimously rejected two bills pertaining to the Muslim family law under the Fiqh-e-Jafria, while deferred further deliberations on another bill for granting right to review appeal to convicted India spy Kulbhushan Jadhav.

During a meeting chaired by Barrister Ali Zafar, the members held the view that the bill about the Indian spy aimed at benefitting one person. The chair after discussion postponed the matter until next committee meeting because of the absence of the law minister and the parliamentary law secretary.

Committee member Farooq Naik said that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Review and Reconsideration Bill was about one person. Another committee member Kamran Murtaza pointed out that the bill grants such rights to a foreigner, which “even we don’t have”.

Chairman Committee Barrister Ali Zafar said that the bill was about one person and that the legislation should not be enacted for a single person. “Law should be for everyone. We cannot pass laws that apply to one person. Questions will be asked if we pass this bill,” he added.

Naik pointed out that Jadhav was convicted under the Army Act, but there was no amendment to the Army Act in this bill. He suggested that the Army Act could be amended. In that case, he added, everyone would get the right to review appeal. “The bill should take these things into account,” he said.

Senator Raza Rabbani said that Article 36 of the Vienna Convention dealt with consular access, while the bill was about the punishment. The chair observed that there were serious issues with this bill, adding that the aims and objectives of the bill were also questionable.

Barrister Ali Zafar later said that that since Law Minister Farogh Naseem and Parliamentary Law Secretary Maleeka Bokhari were both not present in the meeting, therefore, the bill would be reviewed in the next meeting.

Later, Muslim family law-related two bills were taken up for consideration. Most of the members objected that no law can be made on the basis of sect. Senator Naik said that this law was against Sharia because there were no sects in Islam.

Senator Rabbani said that if this law was made, it would open Pandora’s box, as people of other sects might also demand separate laws for themselves. “Law should be equal for all. We are all Pakistanis and we should respect each other’s faith,” he added.

“In the current situation when the Taliban are dominating Afghanistan and it will also have an effect on Pakistan, this law should not be touched,” Rabbani opined. Railways Minister Azam Swati said that many issues were in the open in country, “we should not create a new one”.

The committee chairman observed that there was this issue of sectarianism involved in this law. “The issue of inheritance is the overall problem in the legal system that decisions are not made for years.” The standing committee then unanimously rejected the bills.

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