The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) demanded that the government enhance punishments for those clerics (muftis) who misuse their powers to issue religious decrees (fatwas).
Presiding over a meeting of the CII, its chairman Dr Qibla Ayaz said the council had prepared a comprehensive document — Paigham-e-Pakistan — in January this year that had been acknowledged by senior clergymen belonging to all four mainstream schools of thoughts in the country.
The document signed by 1,829 religious scholars declares several actions un-Islamic — including suicide attacks against the state, spreading sectarianism and anarchy in the name of religion and issuing a call to jihad without the consent of the state.
“The responsibility to implement recommendations of the CII is with the government and we want severe punishments for those clerics who misuse their powers and issue fatwas declaring Muslims non-believer or non-Muslim and pronounce them liable to be killed as per Sharia law,” Dr Ayaz said, adding: “All such decrees have been rejected by the council.”
The CII suspended its agenda regarding triple talaq [divorce] in one sitting to discuss a request by the government for devising an implementation framework to replicate the ‘State of Madina’ in Pakistan.
The request was forwarded by Minister for Religious Affairs Dr Noorul Haq Qadri and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad Khan who arrived in the meeting hall at around 11am and remained there for more than two hours. The ministers conveyed a message of Prime Minister Imran Khan seeking the CII’s guidance for making Pakistan an Islamic welfare state on the pattern of that established by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in Madina.
The ministers also invited the CII members to participate in the opening of the Kartarpur border crossing scheduled for Wednesday (today). The members were informed that the prime minister would soon attend a meeting of the council and discuss the proposed framework after it was finalised.
The council was scheduled to take up the issue of announcing triple talaq at one go, but suspended the agenda due to the presence of the two ministers and continued to discuss the government request for devising the implementation framework after the ministers left the meeting.
Although matters discussed between the cabinet members and the Islamic scholars were not shared with the media, a CII member told Dawn that the issues being faced by the council had been conveyed to the ministers.
The ministers were told that the general impression during tenures of the previous two governments was that the CII was only an “obligatory burden”.
Ali Mohammad Khan sought the council’s support for eliminating religious extremism from the country and suggested that there should be regular interactions between Islamic scholars and legislators.
Later talking to the media, the religious affairs minister said the government wanted to eradicate interest-based economy in the country. “The government wants to eliminate this menace, but during the time we want to encourage non-interest-based banking in the country,” Dr Qadri said.
The CII will take up the issue of triple talaq at its next meeting.