ISLAMABAD: The government is yet to finalise the status of the newly appointed Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) Chairman Dr Qibla Ayaz. The official decision has been pending because of the government’s indecisiveness regarding granting the new chairman the status of a federal minister or state minister, Pakistan Today has learned.
Dr Qibla Ayaz was appointed as CII chairman on November 4, 2017, after the retirement of his predecessor Muhammad Sherani on the completion of his three-year tenure.
The chairman of the council, along with his 20-member body that was handpicked by the Prime Minister Office, enjoyed the offer of a lucrative salary package and other perks.
Sources in the federal government told Pakistan Today that since the appointment of Dr Ayaz, the government had yet to finalise his status either as a federal or state minister, adding that the government usually granted the council’s chairman as a minister. They also said the council chairman had access to the same facilities that were enjoyed by ministers.
“Almost four months have passed since the appointment of Dr Ayaz but his status has yet to be decided, which clearly indicates that the government seems least interested in CII’s affairs,” a senior govt official said on the condition of anonymity.
Former CII chairman Sherani was a member of the National Assembly (MNA) from Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and used all those facilities that were available to an MNA. During his tenure, Sherani requested the government that CII chairman should be given a status of NA speaker which was not accepted by the government.
Similarly, Dr Khalid Masood, who remained the chairman of the council from 2008 to 2010, enjoyed the status of a state minister.
CII is a constitutional body that advises the parliament on whether or not a certain law is repugnant to Islam. However, some Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) lawmakers have been questioning the constitutional and legal status of the CII since 2013.
A PPP senator said that the task assigned to the CII under the 1973 Constitution had been completed and submission of annual reports was no longer a constitutional requirement.
When contacted Dr Ayaz claimed that the Secretary to the Prime Minister Fawad Hassan Fawad had assured him that the process would be finalised soon. “The issue would be resolved by next week,” he claimed.