CII advices piling up at Parliament House


ISLAMABAD – Recommendations of Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), on a number of legal and constitutional issues are piling up at the office of the speaker National Assembly and chairman senate as neither Musharraf regime nor the PPP-led government laid these reports before the parliament for discussion.
These reports swathed in dusty files at the parliament house for over a decade now have practically declared the council a redundant entity. The recommendations contain detailed guidance on how the parliament and the provincial assemblies can give legislative effect to particular injunctions of Islam. The reports also gave its opinion on the controversial issues as Blasphemy law but the successive governments did not give due considerations to them.
It is the prime function of the CII to make recommendations as to the measures for bringing existing laws into conformity with the injunctions of Islam and the stages by which such measures should be brought into effect. Article 230(4) of the Constitution says: The Islamic Council shall submit an annual interim report.
The report shall be laid for discussion before both houses and each provincial assembly within six months of its receipt, and parliament and the assembly, after considering the report, shall enact laws in respect thereof within a period of two years of the final report.
It was in 1996 when the CII reports were laid before the parliament last time and after that no government bothered to continue the practice. Since then, 24 reports containing hundreds of recommendations were sent to the speaker, chairman senate and speakers of the provincial assemblies, as was required under the constitution, for laying before the house for discussion, said a source in the CII.
The top advisory body on religious affairs had also offered a solution to the controversy on Blasphemy law. In 2001, the CII had recommended the death sentence for anyone misusing the blasphemy law and that blasphemy cases be heard by the Federal Shariat Court (FSC). The CII had held that the FSC, made up of five regular judges and three Islamic scholars, was better placed to decide on matters involving blasphemy.
The CII had opposed any amendment in the blasphemy law itself. It believed that capital punishment for misusing the law would almost certainly prevent use of section 295-C to settle petty scores. And given the reign of terror enforced by extremists, the FSC may be better placed to judge cases without provoking wrath from the fanatics. But what is shocking is that the CII recommendations have not been tabled before parliament since 1996.