MMA rejects ‘agreed’ draft: Impasse on Hudood bill persists
By Amir Wasim
ISLAMABAD, Sept 14: An impasse on the controversial women’s rights bill persisted on Thursday as the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal voiced its ‘reservations’ about an amended draft even after ruling Pakistan Muslim League chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain said the matter had been settled. Talking to Dawn, Maulana Syed Nasib Ali Shah and Asadullah Bhutto of the MMA said the government had not included in the new draft several points, which had been earlier, agreed in a meeting of a committee of Ulema nominated by the government and the MMA. Without elaborating his point, Maulana Nasib said the new draft, provided by the government, was in total violation of the agreement reached between the MMA and the government earlier in the day. He said the MMA committee in a meeting on Thursday afternoon apprised Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Maulana Fazlur Rehman about the main flaws in the new draft of the bill, which seeks to protect women from misuse of two Hudood laws. “We have told the government in categorical terms that the new draft of the bill is not acceptable to us,” the MMA leader said. Maulana Mohammad Khan Shirani, Sahibzada Abul Khair Zubair and Hafiz Hussain Ahmed also attended the meeting. Earlier in the morning, an MMA delegation headed by Maulana Fazlur Rehman met Chaudhry Shujaat and Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervez Elahi at the Punjab House here to give final touches to the agreement reached between the government and the religious alliance. The members of the governmentÂ’s Ulema committee were present on the occasion. A statement issued after the meeting quoted the PML president as saying the bill was in complete conformity with the Holy Quran and Sunnah. “After lengthy deliberations of the Ulema committee on the amended bill of protection of women’s rights and its scrutiny from every aspect of the Quran and Sunnah, leaders of all parties are of the opinion that there is nothing in the proposed bill which is against Quran and Sunnah,” he said. Ch Shujaat also appreciated ‘the cooperation of the MMA, the MQM, the PPP-Patriots, the PML (F) and other leaders in resolving this national issue amicably’. Ch Pervez Elahi said approval of the amended bill would provide more protection and a better atmosphere to women in Pakistan than in other parts of the world and would help in awarding deterrent punishment to the elements involved in torture against women. He said that the Ulema committee had played a positive role in resolving points of difference and demonstrated a constructive thinking.
A member of the Ulema committee, Maulana Muhammad Hanif Jalandhary, said that agreement had been reached on all basic points of the protection of women’s rights bill. He stressed that parliamentarians should consider the draft of the bill realistically, take a proper decision and avoid making it a political issue. Maulana Mufti Muhammad Taqi Osmani said all issues had been settled unanimously and there was delay in preparing the revised draft because every clause was considered in the light of Quran and Sunnah.
Maulana Mufti Munibur Rehman said that Chaudhry Shujaat and Chaudhry Parvez Elahi had invited Ulema from all over the country to consider the amended bill, as it was an important national issue, as well as a religious obligation. He said that the Ulema thoroughly reviewed the amended bill in the light of Fiqah and submitted useful proposals to ensure that no clause of the bill was in contravention of Quran and Sunnah.
Maulana Hassan Jan said that the Ulema had taken positive decisions and it was hoped that the bill would be unanimously approved by parliament.