Civil society outraged at CII’s pronouncements- after Ulema speak the Truth

LAHORE: Civil society networks, human rights activists, NGOs, students and academicians have expressed total outrage at the “barbaric, medieval, cruel, misogynist and inhuman mindset” demonstrated by the “shocking” pronouncements emanating from the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) Chairman.
We strongly condemn and outright reject him and both his statements against women and girls, regarding polygamy conditionality and early marriage criteria.  We, and almost all Pakistanis, do not take either his words or the CII seriously.  But, unfortunately, the Parliament does, as the CII has Constitutional protection, although its pronouncements can serve ONLY as advice and recommendations to the legislators.
We are not conspiracy theorists, but we are forced to wonder why such deliberately anti-women/girls advice comes NOW, 53 years after the MFLO/1961 was promulgated, at this critical juncture of the Government’s “talks/dialogue” (sic) with the Taliban and Jihadis.  Does the Government wish to further appease and placate the bloodthirsty killers of 60,000 Pakistanis with further “Islamization” and “Shariatization” (sic) measures?  If so, why does all so-called “Islamization” begin and end ONLY with a violation of Pakistani women’s and girls’ fundamental human rights, enshrined in the unanimously endorsed Constitution, and even before that, inherent in our humanity?
We have more than sufficient Islamic/Quranic and Constitutional arguments and evidence to strongly back our position, both against polygamy and early marriage; but since the Women’s Action Forum (WAF)’s case is still sub judice in the Shariat Appellate Bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, we choose to withhold our comments and respect the law.  However, the CII Chair deliberately makes these inflammatory statements in flagrant contempt of court.  We respectfully request the Honourable CJP to take urgent suo moto notice of this contempt of the Honourable SCP. We demand of the Government of Pakistan:
1.    An urgent Constitutional Amendment (CA) by a Joint Sitting of Parliament, to abolish the CII altogether.
2.    Meanwhile, awaiting the CA, Maulvi Sherani must immediately be removed from his post as CII Chairperson, and an educated, enlightened, progressive, moderate, real Islamic scholar who lives in the 21st Century, and who does not hate women and girls, must be appointed to replace him, such as his predecessor.
3.    Similarly, the CII’s retrogressive members must immediately be replaced by progressives, including 50% women scholars, judges and lawyers; as well as 5% non-Muslim citizens of Pakistan, who are impacted by the CII’s advice.
4.    Similarly, all the CII’s meetings must henceforth be made transparent and open to public and media participation; and all CII documents must be laid before the public for debate, comments and suggestions, before being sent as advice to the Parliament.
5.    All the institutional pillars of the State of Pakistan must jointly decide NOW, whether or not Pakistan wishes to become an obscurantist, pariah Taliban state, or to remain a member of the United Nations and the international community; thereby, continuing to be bound to comply with and adhere to its ratified Conventions (e.g. CEDAW, CRC); on pain of international sanctions and punitive actions if, as a State Party, Pakistan’s laws are in violation or non-compliance.
The ill-intentioned, uneducated, ignorant, misogynist, Maulvi Sherani MUST go NOW.  The PML(N) Government and its allies must NOW put their money where their mouth is, and walk the talk of their brave election manifesto promises and Women’s Day commitments.


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