The religious parties government in the province of NWFP in Pakistan has introduced legislation to enforce shariah in the province.
The NWFP government has decided to enforce Islamic Shariat in the province by introducing Enforcement of Shariat Act and Provincial Accountability Act in the provincial assembly.
Speaking at a news conference here on Friday, the NWFP Chief Minister Akram Khan Durrani unveiled the salient features of the Islamic Shariat programme. He said that Islamic Shariat would be the supreme law in the province, and Quran and Sunnah would be the sources of guidance for future legislation in the NWFP. All the provincial laws would be brought in conformity with the Islamic Shariat, he said. “All laws falling within the ambit of the provincial assembly will be made compatible with the Shariat. And all courts will be free to interpret the Shariat laws,” he added. After the approval of the Shariat Act, he said, the government would formulate various sets of laws to run the affairs of the economy, judiciary, education and media in the light of Islamic laws.
Pakistan has a federal system (here is the constitution), but the federal government usually interferes in provincial affairs. I am not sure how much change the provincial government can bring about. Also, what would be the effects of the legislation on the ordinary daily life of people? A lot of times the religious parties have been involved in useless activities like banning cable TV, music, enforcing covering of head by women on TV, etc. The following however would have good results if implemented:
Education, up to middle, has been made compulsory, he declared. Health budget would be enhanced and more teaching hospitals would be built. Life-saving drugs would be provided to patients free of cost. The wedding under duress, tradition of Swaray, honour-killing and selling of women would invite punishment. The honour-killing would be treated as wilful murder, he added. Punitive action would be taken if women were deprived of hereditary property.
The minorities would be free to preach, promote and perform their religious rituals like Muslims. All minorities would enjoy the same civic, political, economic and other rights guaranteed to the Muslim majority, he said, adding that their places of worship will be protected at all costs.
And finally, something straight out of Saudi Arabia and Taliban:
He hoped that high-ranking officials would make themselves punctual in offering prayers during the working hours at their offices. He asked the traders associations to close their businesses during the prayer time.