The appointment of Maulana Muhammad Khan Sherani as Chairman of Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) was challenged in Islamabad High Court (IHC).
After the first hearing, IHC Justice Aamer Farooq issued a notice to the state, seeking a reply within 10 days.
The president appointed Maulana Sherani as CII Chairman in 2013. He is also an elected member of the National Assembly from NA-264 (Zhob-cum-Sherani-cum-Killa Saifullah) in Balochistan.
The petitioner, Moeen Hayat Cheema, who teaches law at Lahore University of Management Science (LUMS) and Australian National University (ANU) has filed the petition through Barrister Mirza Shahzad Akbar.
It argues that since the CII is a government-controlled body, Sherani could not have been validly appointed as he was already an MNA when he was appointed its chairman.
The CII is a constitutional institution with a mandate to advise legislatures on whether or not laws are Sharia-compliant. The CII has been used to make political appointments and provide perks and privileges to members of a minor party in successive coalition governments. The appointment of the current CII chairman is especially problematic as he lacks the necessary credentials to occupy such a constitutional office and during whose tenure the institution has been rendered an embarrassment to the Constitution and to Islam, the petition said.
Separately, in a press statement, Cheema said that the CII is a constitutional institution with the mandate to advise the legislatures on the Islamisation of laws. Unfortunately, the CII has been used to make political appointments and provide perks and privileges to members of a minor party in successive coalition governments.
The petition against the CII chief was filed at a time when the council is being criticised for allowing a husband to “lightly” beat his wife “if needed” and prohibits the mixing of the genders in schools, hospitals and offices.
The CII’s proposed bill for the ‘protection of women’ claims women will have all the rights given to them under Shariah, prohibits interaction between na-mehram men and women at recreational places and offices, and bans “dance, music and sculptures created in the name of art”.