Women Protection Law and secular Pakistan!

LAW-MAKING is a serious business and that is why in some countries it takes even years to enact a piece of legislation, as undue and indecent haste leads to a situation as we find ourselves in the case of Women Protection Bill passed by the Punjab Assembly. It has created a situation in which the Government can neither stick to it nor undo it because two extreme lobbies are at work now.
The issue seems to be taking a serious turn as it brought together 25 religious parties of the country at Mansoora giving an ultimatum to the Government to rescind the law by March 27 or they would launch a movement. They believe that the law was against the Constitution and un-Islamic and must be withdrawn. The reaction of the religious parties is surprising in that both Chief Minister Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif have given firm assurances to review the law and incorporate amendments in consultation with religious leaders and scholars. On the face of it, the bill seems to be a step in the right direction as it envisages protection of women against violence, a cause that is dear to all. But it is also a fact that the bill is certainly not a revealed or sacrosanct document and should be subject to reconsideration, amendment and even revocation if it is really against the spirit of Islam or the Constitution. In normal circumstances, these aspects should have been considered before adoption of the bill but there is no harm in its review even now. There are reports that the bill has been borrowed from some Western country and adopted as such without caring about ground realities and local culture and traditions. It is, perhaps, because of this that the religious parties are expressing apprehensions that the Government is drifting Pakistan towards a modern but secular state. Modernity is something else but no Pakistani would ever accept Pakistan as a secular state. Pakistan is indeed an Islamic and ideological state and if there are some elements in the wings of the Government that are thinking on these lines then they are inviting wrath of Allah Almighty and people of Pakistan. However, we may clarify that Pakistan is an ideological state based on the vision of Quaid-e-Azam that wanted to see Pakistan as a modern, democratic, Islamic welfare state.

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