ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has been asked to order for the appointment of at least one woman in the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII). Maham Ali Khan, member of civil society filed a petition through her counsels, Salaar Khan advocate and Zainab Janjua advocate and cited the Federation of Pakistan through the secretary President House, Ministry of Law and Justice and chairperson of the CII as respondents.
The petitioner requested the court to declare that the Council should endeavour to treat the requirement of "at least" one woman as a minimum requirement and to seek out more diverse representation building on the requirements under Article 228.
The petitioner stated that the significance of the Council has not only been affirmed repeatedly by the superior courts but its recommendations are regularly incorporated in matters of far-reaching significance.
"The importance and urgency of such matters is underscored by the federal government's recent recommendation that the Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Bill 2021 having already been passed by the National Assembly, now be reviewed by the council," maintained Maham.
She further said that this is just one example of the many instances, where the Council would and has required a female perspective, even aside from the constitutional mandate. She added that other such examples include the Zina Ordinance, DNA evidence in rape cases, and provincial variants of domestic violence legislation.
The petitioner's counsel adopted that given the nature and impact of its functions, there is clear legislative intent through Article 228(3) that the Council be representative of a wide range of interests and backgrounds.
She contended that in order to provide representation to half of Pakistan's population, Article 228(3)(d) provides for the appointment of at least one woman. She argued that whereas, the Council was appointed by Respondent No 1 on April 16, two months later, no female has yet been elected to the Council and the same is continuing violation of the constitutional imperative.
Therefore, the petitioner prayed before the court to direct the Respondent No 1 to appoint members to the Council in compliance with the constitutional obligation enunciated in Article 228 of the Constitution and declare that the collective requirements under Article 228 are minimum requirements that must be met at all times for the Council to be properly constituted.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021