Hudood Ordinance: a new front for the govt
17 July, 2006
By Qazi Bilal
Hudood system has been prevalent in the Muslim world, ever since the inception of the first Islamic government in Madina, and has remained prevalent for 14 centuries. It was gradually replaced by the colonial English masters who ruled over almost the entire world including the Islamic countries.
This colonial rule slowly eroded all Islamic values, gradually replacing them with western laws. As a result of this degradation, the Muslims who are somehow alienated to the Hudood set of laws, began opposing it, alongside foreign-funded NGOs, whose women CEOs were vociferously opposing these laws.
The Arabic word of Hadd refers to "stopping something", and it pertains to punishment promulgated by Allah and his Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The countries which employ these laws have a lower ratio of social evils and crimes.
The word Hadd occurs 14 times in the Holy Quran, and various religions have prescribed severe punishments for adultery.
The Hindu religion declares that an adulteress to be roasted and publicly fed to dogs for her participation in the heinous crime, whereas the adulterous male be tied to a steel bed and burned alive. Similarly Buddhism prescribes death for adultery.
In Surah Noor, it is openly and clearly advised to confer 100 lashes on both sexes involved in adultery. The Hudood Ordinance was first promulgated by late Gen Ziaul Haq, and contains nothing objectionable.
According to MNA Dr Farida Ahmad Siddiqui, the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan also guarantees that no legislation that conflicts with Quran and Sunnah be promulgated. Generally speaking there is nothing wrong with Hudood ordinance, but they do have some administrative anomalies, which can be easily contained.
Political parties are also against these laws and are divided over the issue. PPP labels the ordinance as "dramatics" by (late) Gen Ziaul Haq, who held his "despotic sway" over the country for 11 years, while PML-N and MMA have almost identical views on the issue, stressing for amendments and corrections in the ordinance, but not to abolish it altogether.
Only the NGOs are bent upon a severe campaign against the Hudood Ordinance. They are strongly opposed to these laws, and ridicule the idea of producing four adult males to testify against a woman accused of adultery.
This very clause has provided an excellent loophole for those lambasting Hudood making it controversial.
The government has handed over the issue to Council for Islamic Ideology (CII) for necessary verifications. More than three members of the CII simply abstained from giving any opinion or verdict and various TV channels (both official and private) aired numerous programmes and segments to inform the public about the issue (of Hudood). Participants of the programmes, including liberal intelligentsia and Ulema, often indulged in fiery debates that ended with inconclusive results.
One mutual objection of various political parties and platforms pertains to the most common setup, which implements Hudood Ordinance in everyday life: the police themselves. Virtually everybody agrees that most of the police were aware of the legal and moral implications of the Ordinance. Most often the police use this law as a weapon to intimidate and blackmail.
Many jailed inmates who had been booked under Hadd do not even have an iota of idea about Hudood Ordinance. On July 8, 2006, President Musharraf promulgated an ordinance under which all women inmates except those involved in serious and heinous crimes of terrorism, sabotage and murder would be released immediately. As many as 1,300 women inmates would benefit from this promulgation throughout the country.
President Musharraf's act of kindness was lauded by both the official and opposition benches, while other segments of opposition and society considered it as a step towards termination of the Ordinance. Currently the issue about the ordinance does not pertain to its dissolution, rather the way they have been legislated and promulgated is the bane.
Such religious and social luminaries as Mufti Muneebur Rahman, Ahmad Javed, Dr Javed Iqbal, Dr Israr Ahmad, Javed Ghamdi and Mahmood Ghazi have expressed their reservations about the issue. According to Javed Ghamdi this ordinance has become the cause of embracement for the country.
A joint declaration about the government's bid to terminate the ordinance was strongly condemned by a nationwide conference of Ulema and Mushaikh held at the Ahle Hadith Mosque located in G-6/1 sector. All participants vowed to protect and safeguard the ordinance.
The participants contended that punishments under Hudood for sinful acts as adultery, alcohol consumption and Qazaf had been verified and proved through Hadith and Quranic verses. Such punishments are aimed at safeguarding the honour and dignity of women.
The convention also lambasted the CII for its lacklustre attitude, demanding its immediate dissolution and replacement by more authentic scholars. They also denounced the chief justice of Federal Shariat Court, terming him a controversial person who views all laws of Shariah according to western standards and norms. The participants demanded his immediate replacement.
The agenda of this convention was signed by eminent scholars and political leaders like MNA Liaquat Baloch, Maulana Hafeez Jallandahari, Qari Gul Rahman, Dr Sarfaraz Naeemi, Maulana Naseeb Ali Shah, Abdul Waheed Qasmi, Maulana Zahoor Ahmad Alvi and numerous other Ulema.