Ruling party splits over bill on karo-kari
ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain on July 30 assured his coalition parliamentary group that any law not in accordance with the teachings of the Holy Quran and Sunnah would not be framed or enacted.
He was responding to criticism by the members on the proposed draft bill on ‘honour killing’ while presiding over a coalition parliamentary party meeting at the Parliament House before attending the National Assembly session.
The prime minister said the bill after its introduction in the house would go to the house standing committee. He assured that the views of every MP would be heard and accommodated while finalizing the bill.
Later, in a brief encounter with journalists, the premier evaded a question about the government’s decision on sending troops to Iraq saying: “Let us go to the house to listen to the debate on Iraq.”
He also refrained from responding to the separation of Functional League from the main PML which he heads and the tirade of veteran Sindhi politician Pir Pagaro against his person while parting of ways.
Earlier, Adviser to Prime Minister Neelofar Bakhtiar had briefed the parliamentary group on salient features of the bill on honour killing. Many members spoke in favour and against the bill, but the number of critics outnumbered the supporters, sources said.
According to insiders, a number of ruling coalition members, including Sardar Tufail, Pir Noorul Haq Qadri and Salim Jan Mazari, criticised the merits of the bill. But Kashmala Tariq of the PML and minority MNA M.P. Bhandara supported all contents of the bill, saying that it would fulfil the requirement of safeguarding the fundamental rights of the womenfolk in the country.
The opponents stressed on promotion of education and human development to discourage killing for honour practices from society instead of proposing harsh punishment alone. As a result of the division, the bill, which was scheduled to be introduced in the lower house, was withheld for next session or further debate in the party.
They said that in the presence of relevant punitive laws, there was no need of another bill. They also criticized taking the bill direct to parliament before its approval by the federal cabinet. Federal Minister for Water and Power Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao also briefed the parliamentary group on the proposed ‘anti terrorism act’.