Banish the CII

Published: March 13, 2014

This ‘advisory’ body – which has remained dormant until its ineptness surfaced – has proved itself to only serve as a control mechanism as to how people should live and conduct their lives, as is the case with all religiously sanctioned forums. PHOTO: INP / FILE

In a more civilised society where progress is equated with innovation, technological advancement and competitiveness, the recent ‘suggestions’ put forth by the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) and its band of brothers would certainly have been political suicide.

This ‘advisory’ body – which has remained dormant until its ineptness surfaced – has proved itself to only serve as a control mechanism as to how people should live and conduct their lives, as is the case with all religiously sanctioned forums. The clerics, who constitute the CII, and many of their kind elsewhere, have served one and one purpose only: societal control for self-fulfilment.

Because they know that there is no way they could ever win the public’s trust through the ballot, they employ arguments of divine intervention to further their case; play and incite people through their religiosity to either control and oppress them, or do the same through them. Through this control mechanism, they have doled out their ‘suggestion’ or ‘advice’ of how the fate of two lives must be determined – such people this country has given birth to, I dare say.

Reaching puberty – which varies from individual to individual – is in no way a measure of attaining maturity. Despite the lack (zero to be correct) of female representation (47% of our population), the CII and its very composition is that only of ostriches, who bury their heads in the sand before suggesting guidelines of how people should conduct their personal life, particularly in their bedrooms.

This good-for-nothing body, which is mandated to play an advisory role, only champions the hollow glory of the viewpoints of prehistoric men who absolutely have no positive contribution in the development of this country. The CII, born in the ‘good old days’ of Ziaul Haq as a result of his Islamisation spree, only serves the purpose of the outdated and out-of-favour clergymen who insist on making themselves relevant.

We cannot afford their toxic influence on young minds and a largely illiterate population who already remain exposed to extremist ideologies. Such statements and ‘policy suggestions’ will only help to perpetuate and solidify beliefs in those households that are adamant and find no qualms in marrying off their young. The end result will be: producing ever-more less productive members of society, boosting unneeded population growth with less and less resources to share and hunkering down an already burdened economy.

Let me dare say this: faith is not judged by its principles but the actions of its followers. The best way to preserve it is to make it individualistic, rather than mandating it through the state, for the imposition of religion leads to superficial observance. And when it comes to the clergy in this country, the faith itself has become superficial since it is being preached by superficial men.

Perhaps those suggesting early marriages are immature themselves.

Not only are they further tainting this country’s images but are also pushing our dismal human rights and human development rankings to a point of no return. As the Daily Times editorial suggests, the CII must be disbanded and relayed to the dustbin of history, where it belongs.

Shahzeb Shaikha

Shahzeb Shaikha

A staffer at The Express Tribune who is a graduate in the field of Security Studies from the University of Pittsburgh. He tweets @shahzebshaikha (

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Supriya Arcot

    Jaan why blame these men in the typical attire . On both sides of the border , when they say ‘religion’ ( religious rules of living like the Sharia or Manu neeti ) these men with long beards , white ( or saffron ) long maxi clothes , the usual beads necklace etc., come out ( of the woodworks – if I may add ) and say the usual cliched lines . They come out and ‘talk’ because we the middle class, the intellegensia , the working class chose to keep quite . So its ‘us’ who have unwittingly created these monsters.Recommend

  • hina

    Thumbs up..Recommend

  • Thinker

    The CII, born in the ‘good old days’ of Ziaul Haq as a result of his Islamisation spree. Are you sure? It’s website says something different. The Council was established in 1962, designated as Islamic Advisory Council. It was re-designated in 1973 as Council of Islamic Ideology. The Council started working with its office in Lahore and moved to its own building in Islamabad in 1977.Recommend

  • anil

    Damn right . But is there any such organization in India who can dare to say such things ? Indian society avoids polygamy . Having 4 ,5 or 6 kids per couple is a matter of past , except certain section of society . Female education and representation is being encouraged . Let us call a spade a spade . Let us appreciate whatever good we have and condemn whatever bad we have.Recommend

  • irfan

    i dnt knw abt supriya arcot, i cant guess who she is .. if shes a muslim then this reply is for her too but if she is hindo its ok .. but by name u seem muslim hina,, can u tell me what wrong have they said.. n if u say they have said
    somthing wrong plz bring ur evidence from Quran and Sunnah.. if u cant
    then plz think abt ur heart? is there any point u have in ur heart that
    can say yes to Allah’s orders ..Recommend

  • knightridrr

    Ban not only CII but every religious party. They only cause and promote violent views and behaviour.Recommend

  • Ahmed

    There is no set criterion for reaching maturity. In New Hampshire , USA 13 is the minimum age of marriage for girls. In Spain also 13 is the minimum age of marriage. That is almost the same age as puberty .

    Secondly, many 18 year old girls are still not mature enough to make their own decisions and get married. So that can’t be made the age of marriage.

    Maturity is a relative thing. Many so called intellectuals f Pakistan who are way above 40 are still not mature in any way according to many people. So please get your definitions straight and then we will talk further.Recommend

  • Moiz Omar

    The CII should be disbanded.Recommend

  • MrRollsRoyce

    Shazeb, very well written, and boldly too. Thank you stating what should be the bleeding obvious, but alas in our country the obvious is turned 180 degrees; all thanks to the notion that “faith” is good and “reason” and “truth” are bad. A country of brainwashed people looking towards iron age warlords for wisdom and progress!Recommend

  • Authort

    Actually these clerics have no vision, interest, or will to identify the problems in society or guide the mis -lead population,.. however they don’t miss a chance to keep marriage/gender control issue as their top priority… they have to understand people who are arranging these marriages in here are only two types one type: poorest of poor which can hardly recite Kalma, Namaz , or understand religion etc, and live beyound poverty line, they will do it to shed their weight, or trade a rishta, or fast cash solution. Second: group is the landed people to keep wealth in their control , so as adults kids have no choice to take their lands out of their hands.actually all religious parties should be banned from politics, and these councils should start an entry/ test to add some merit to their participants.Recommend

  • Leila Rage

    @Author of this blog: High five! Completely agree with whatever you’ve said! My sentiments exactlyRecommend

  • hina

    So what you are saying is that it is exactly islamic to marry off 10 year olds. And some how God would want man to have 4 child brides. tsk tsk tsk..Recommend

  • Bushra Naz

    They should literally change their name from Council of Islamic Ideology to Council of Sexist ideology. Have blogged on that, to pay my tribute to such a display of intelligence by CII.

  • JayMankind

    Can’t believe people are allowed to make such sweeping decisions that affect the lives of millions!!Recommend

  • Neo

    The question is who actually decides for them what to discuss and at what time? Its a shame they even sit and talk about nikah and stuff when so much more is going on around us. i also doubt the media’s interest in airing such nonsense.Recommend

  • JayMankind

    Did you know children these days attain puberty as early as 9 years of age? Are you saying that these children are capable of bearing children?Recommend

  • Haris Javed

    Yes!!! any patronage must be withdrawn!
    A preacher is nothing without his audience, just snatch away microphones from the members of CII and just wind it up!!! Nobody is going to miss their absurd recommendations.Recommend

  • Parvez

    The CII is simply an advisory body and over the years it appears that it has been quite ineffective except to stirr up controversies. Closing it down would be logical but political expediency will not let that happen.Recommend

  • fze

    Its human nature to get control of things. These mullahs are no different. Since no one will give them the authority to control so they use Allah’s name to get control of our lives. Since my childhood all I heard from any mumber was that “don’t do this, Allah will send you to dozakh. Do this, Allah will send you to jannat.” Have they ever told us that Allah is Rehman, He will forgive you. He is Meharban, He looks after you and forgive you when you least expect it. In my life I discovered Allah to be much more magnanimous than he is ever potrayed. Lessons? Don’t listen to these mullahs, look inside yourself and you’ll discover right and wrong as Allah Himsef says “I’m closer to you than your jugular vein.”Recommend

  • s111

    Incorrect, age in Spain is 16. In New Hampshire, only 13-17 years boys and girls may marry with parental consent, a 13-17 girl cannot be married to an 18+ adult … please check your facts before quoting …. plus, what is your point any way, because maturity is a relative thing, marriage should be permitted at any age?Recommend

  • Gp65

    The difference is that in India the Godmen do not dictate how the law should function. In Pakistan CII’s rulings have an impact not just about age of marriage but evidence requirements in a rape trial (4 good Muslim men need to be witness).

    So your attempt to establish equivalence in the situation across the border while well meaning was not grounded in reality.Recommend

  • Gp65

    Fyi- Hina is not just a name that Muslims have, Hindus too have that name.

    Secondly, what they have said would lead to increased mortality of women while giving birth and increased child mortalty which are consequences of these marriages. If you consider these to be unacceptable outcomes, then you mist oppose such edicts.

    Finally, I am not a Muslim, so please tell me has Allah ordered that women must get married as soon as they attain puberty? If answer is no, then any law that increases the age for marriage is not against Quran. So given the adverse medical consequences of such early marriage and if there is no requirement for early marriages in Quran, these people are absolutely wrong to push for a change in the existing law.Recommend

  • Adil

    CII was not formed by Zia but through 1973 constitution as result of negotiations between Zulifqar Ali Bhutto and clerics.Recommend

  • Supriya Arcot

    Err GP65 , dear I was speaking about religion in general ( not just marriageable age in particular ) . When they say translation of religious texts or some discussion on TV on religious laws , then only ‘such’ typical people come . They should ask the opinions of the middle class more on both sides of the border .Recommend

  • fze

    Quranic verses and hadith can be interpreted wrongly. In fact has been done ever since. Have you ever heard of the word “common sense?” Then apply it here. Marriage is a serious business rather it is a contract between 2 persons which they willingly enter into, right? Can a 10 year old do that? Islam is all about rationality and commom sense, please, don’t turn it into a joke by hiding behind Allah’s order.Recommend

  • saad

    I thought Islam was a religion for all times. Even if girls in those days did get married at an early age, does not mean we should be doing what used to happen back then.

    Secondly, we are Pakistanis. Not Arabs. It’s high time we stop trying to copy and mimic everything that they do. Just because they did these things does not mean we should too.Recommend

  • Hassan

    The council of Islamic Ideology is an advisory body. Its recommendations are not binding on the parliament.Recommend

  • Dr Asad Iqbal

    So that reveals the hypocritic motives behind runing away from islam under shield of ‘constitution’.
    if someone calls jihad against enemy of islamic way of life like us we become innocent and call that “terrorism’. when ulama e haq demand to implement quran and sunnah,so called liberals say we already have islamic constitution and CII also!.
    And when CII guides us acc to quran and sunnah,we reject it by labeling unprogressive and uninnovative!. Do you consider muslims ugly ignorant fools?
    if you have some character come forth and demand “islamic republic” to be changed to “peoples republic” where you can implement your thoughts over limitations and orders guided by ALLAH,and wait for your reward like people with such motives before you! Recommend

  • Spock

    These guys are afraid of women. If women are to be made free and given the choices to them, no women will every marry them. Forget about two wives, they would not even get one wife.Recommend

  • Pappu

    Prophet of Islam married Ayesha when she was only 9 years old. He was 52 years old.Recommend

  • Abdul Latif

    The opposite it should be strengthened. CII performs an essential role in progress towards strong Islamic values in this time of attacks against Islam.Recommend

  • Landhi wala

    Parliament?…What Parliament?…where is this
    Parliament,…?…never heard of it….Is it a secret society?Recommend

  • bigsaf

    This is an example of religious self-righteous hypocrisy, blackmail and judgemental shaming.

    I don’t know much details about this particular ruling, but I’m pretty sure the CII are the same ideological geniuses that twisted a Quranic verse, which was progressive and pragmatic for its time, that’s meant to protect women’s honour from slander, by needing 4 witnesses – which makes adultery impossible to prove. But now 4 witnesses are needed to be produced by rape victims for proving the crime of rape against them instead. Honour, justice, compassion or any rational thought, has been abandoned.

    I’m pretty sure the comment above and such rulings aren’t exemplary examples of Allah’s (swt) orders.Recommend

  • bigsaf

    A good number of times they seem to successfully impose their advise through religious intimidation. The parliament tried to update the laws in line with today to give women more protection from human rights abuse and the CII protested. The parliament had to withdraw.

    And again, the PM cannot say ‘no’ to this otherwise his religious credentials gets questioned.Recommend

  • fze

    Prophet had 11 wives but he said not to follow his example. His marriages were all for different reasons. How can you people compare yourself with prophet? You didn’t answer my common sense question and as usual tried to hide behind religious excuses.The problem is that there is no thinking process involved and we accept things on face value. Answer the question that how can you enter somebody into a contract when that person doesn’t even understand what it means? Isn’t it called tricking somebody? to do fraud with somebody? Islam does not allow such a contract. Our Ulema need to do ijtihad to be with present day times. But they won’t do that because then they won’t be able to control our lives. They love to play God and pronounce “jahanam” for us.Recommend

  • Moiz Omar

    This country doesn’t need the Islamic values of child marriages and needing four male witnesses to rape. Or the Islamic value of preventing modern scientific research and development.Recommend

  • frustrated

    Dear Dr Asad,
    I do wish we could be a people republic but if i start to make this demand publicly, your pious friends will put a bullet in my head. You talk of character, but all of the Islamization had do be done by force and anyone who feels/felt differently either got murdered or thrown in jail for denying the ‘ideology of Pakistan’ whatever the hell that means.
    Also you might think that you are advocating for ideas that are divine in their nature, but there is nothing divine about our state sponsored Islam it is a creation also of some jahil bedouins jo khud bhi jahanam main jain gay aur hamain bhi saath le ker jain gai.
    Furthermore, this entire idea of imposing Quran and Sunnah is riddiculous to begin with, Islam is a religon of personal responsibility and freedom. Everything i have read points clearly to the fact that in Islam a human being has a direct relationship with Allah, and ultimately he will be held responsible for the decisions he makes on this planet. So what is the role of CII,GOP,Mullahs and mad Dr’s like you about what i do in my life?

    Please dont respond with a comment like Pakistan Islam ke naam per bana tha, kyun kai Pakistan Musalmanon ke NAAM aur jagir daron ke mufaad per bana tha.Recommend

  • frustrated

    Also Ulema e Haq is the funniest joke i have ever heard in my life.Recommend

  • Nobody

    Ditto Moiz’s response to you. These men are irrelevant and obsolete in today’s world.Recommend

  • Syed Owais Mukhtar

    I appreciate your opinion, it must be strengthened, as people of Pakistan wants Shariah law in Pakistan according to latest gallop survey!Recommend

  • Syed Owais Mukhtar

    Islam does not depend upon agreeableness of majority, if a person wants
    to go against Islamic law, either how much majority, he will be
    considered as wrong. So I appreciate this opinion of CII, they are
    researchers, they are doing right to make this a real “Islamic”

  • Gp65

    They should be obsolete and irrelevant but are they? 70%+ Pakistanis in a recent poll said they want shariah implemented.Recommend

  • Gp65

    I too was talking generally about how much influence religious findos have on law making and my point was that the situation in India and Pakistan are absolutely not comparable.Recommend

  • Umar Farooq

    CII has done the things which are according to the islamic principles. This country cannot become the secular state due to the will of 5% population.Recommend

  • Umar Farooq

    The author has given the reference of american newspaper according to which CII should be disbanded.
    He is taking the support of american newspaper in resolving such problems not that of CII that is resolving issues according to islam.Recommend

  • nishantsirohi123

    well statements may be different, but the “manu neeti” parties you are talking about have no partake in government activities, or formulation of laws and policies.Recommend

  • Imran Ahmed

    Non consensual sexual contact is rape, aqd nikah or a legal contract to engage in sex where one of the two individuals has not given informed consent is sexual slavery, actual intercourse with a minor is pedophilia. All these are capital crimes.
    To allow a major world religion to be associated with revolting immorality is a major slur and blasphemy.Recommend

  • Allah Rakkha Khan wala

    Not true. These numbers are suspect.
    They must be from an Indian newspaper.
    Which is pro modiRecommend

  • Indian

    Thank God for partition!Recommend

  • Moiz Omar

    What survey was this? I’m a Pakistani citizen and they never polled me.Recommend

  • Shahryar Khan

    The CII ideologues are grossly incompatible with the ideals of modern society, it is high time that we accept this truth. I don’t blame commenters like Mr. Abdul Latif because I too was no less disillusioned just a few years back. All one needs to do is think, and study the ideas of progressive men and compare them to what we are trying to endorse here. The CII bases its praise-worthy revelations on traditions that are hundreds of years old. Nowadays, you cannot deem scientific methods ineffective when they’ve proven unprecedented success in singling out perpetrators of rape. Nor can you destroy little girls’ lives by confining them to a life of marriage at an age when they are yet to learn what being an adult even means. Religion is okay so long as it is kept within the sphere of personal life.Recommend

  • Nupur Chowdhury

    The Shiv Sena? They may not recommend those exact things, but its close enough. Basically, all of them, Indian or Pakistani, are in dire need of a psychiatrist, rather than Gods and Deities.Recommend

  • Nupur Chowdhury

    What about Shiv Sena attacking young people celebrating Valentine’s Day? They may not be Government sanctioned, but are no less effective or scary for being extra-judicial bodies.Recommend