ISLAMABAD: In order to get the recommendations of the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) implemented, the council is all set to start lobbying parliamentarians to ensure that the implementation is completed on time, it emerged on Wednesday.
CII is a constitutional body that advised the parliament on whether or not a certain law was repugnant to Islam. However, new CII Chairman Qibla Ayaz is all set to start lobbying and engage parliamentarians to ensure the implementation of the CII recommendations.
The council remained controversial in Muhammad Sherani’s tenure due to his close association with Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and for being considered a hardliner due to his rigid views.
Qibla Ayaz was appointed on the council’s chairman post on November 4, 2017. His liberal and progressive religious leanings allowed him to envision the future of the council as a think tank. “The world has become a global village and there are many challenges facing the country on both the external and internal levels. Therefore, CII will start a ‘Future Study’ programme that will play the role of a think tank,” he said.
In an informal meeting with journalists, the CII chairman said that since the past one year or so, the council had failed to conduct any meetings as the top post was left vacant during the same time period.
Before joining the CII as chairman, Ayaz had held several important positions in the University of Peshawar, including the Islamic and Oriental Studies Department dean. Talking about the future of the council, he said that CII would become a think tank through which various issues would be highlighted, including problems being faced by non-Muslims in Pakistan and abroad and the status of transgenders in the country.
“In the next couple of weeks, the world will see CII as an active and vibrant forum which will hold several discussions and seminars on minority rights, especially transgenders, and the state of madrassah education system in the country,” the chairman informed.
He also announced that on January 17, the council would take up Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2017, which was referred by the Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights. The bill was drafted by a national task force constituted by the federal ombudsman and approved by the Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights in December last year.
Several sections were recommended in the proposed bill which included giving transgenders equal rights in property, proper job quotas and other facilities. The council would give its recommendation after holding a detailed discussion over the bill.
Responding to a question, Ayaz said that the opinion and recommendations of the female members of the parliament would be taken up on priority basis. It merits mention here that earlier Dr Samia Raheel Qazi had expressed her concerns over the working of the council for ignoring her ‘point of view’.
According to the chairman, around 11 members of CII have been recently appointed by the government and at least 20 members were required to call the council meeting. “Out of the incumbent 20 members, nine members will retire on March 3,” Ayaz said. He urged the government to make sure that their replacement was ensured on a timely basis so as not to affect the performance of the council.