July 9th, 2021
By Rehan Piracha
The National Assembly has yet to vote on the referral of the domestic violence bill to the Islamic Ideology Council as advised by the Prime Minister’s Advisor on Law and Justice Babar Awan in a letter to the lower house speaker.
On July 5, Babar Awan, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs, advised Asad Qaiser, Speaker of National Assembly, to refer the bill on domestic violence for a review by the Council of Islamic Ideology. Under the Constitution, the CII can advise the legislature on whether or not a certain law is repugnant to the injunctions of Islam.
According to the rules, the National Assembly has to approve the domestic violence bill’s referral to the Council of Islamic Ideology for a review. “The (domestic violence) bill has yet to be referred to the Council of Islamic Ideology,” Mehboob Ghurmani, Director General Media, of the National Assembly told Voicepk.net on Friday.
The bill’s referral to the CII was listed on the National Assembly’s session agenda on July 8. “Minister-in-Charge to move that the Bill to establish an effective system of protection, relief and rehabilitation of women, children and any vulnerable person against domestic violence [The Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Bill, 2021], as passed by the Senate with amendments, be referred to the Islamic Council for advice as to whether the Bill is or is not repugnant to the Injunctions of Islam under Article 229 of the Constitution read with Rule 125 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly, 2007],” reads the item no 4 on the agenda of National Assembly on July 8.
“It is to be referred by the House so it was placed on the agenda of yesterday’s sitting but it could not be taken up due to adjournment of the session due to quorum issue,” Ghurmani said.
The referral to the CII was not listed in the agenda on July 9. The National Assembly session on Friday was adjourned till Monday, July 12 after opposition members again pointed out a lack of quorum.
According to a news report, the Council of Islamic Ideology had recommended halting legislation on the domestic violence bill till the constitutional body completed its review.
The council had expressed its reservations about several provisions of the domestic violence bill in a letter to the Federal Human Rights Ministry. However, messages and calls to Qibla Ayaz, chairperson of the CII, to confirm whether the council had objected to the domestic violence bill went unanswered.
In 2016, the Council of Islamic Ideology had rejected the domestic violence bills in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa saying several sections of the bills were against Islamic injunctions.