ISLAMABAD - The government advisory body on religious affairs Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) Chairman Maulana Muhammad Sheerani on Wednesday provisionally termed Pakistan Protection Ordinance (PPO) and National Security Policy against the Shariah law.

Addressing a press conference after two days long session of the CII, Maulana Sheerani said that the army’s job is to protect the borders. The final edict will be announced after consulting legal, defence and political experts, he said.

Maulana Sheerani also said that a woman cannot be the judge in Hudood and Qisas cases. He said the marriage is not annulled if a woman leaves Islam but it is annulled if the husband becomes non-Muslim.

He told the press that no correspondence of Arsalan Iftikhar against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan was received by the council. He said an unsigned correspondence against Imran was received but it was not reviewed.

Sheerani said that CII will present its recommendations if a resolution against any member of CII is moved. He said the President of Pakistan can take action against the Council member on CII’s recommendations.

Meanwhile in a historic move, the top religious body of the country Wednesday called for a ban on religious hate speech and greater harmony between sects ahead of the holy month of Muharram which is usually marred by anti-Shia violence.

In a “Code of Conduct”, which it wants parliament to adopt, the Council of Islamic Ideology added that labelling any Muslim sect “non-believers” was condemnable. “Terrorism and violence in the country in the name of religion are a violation of Islamic teachings. All schools of thought announce their disassociation from such acts,” it said.

“It is an un-Islamic and condemnable act to declare any Muslim sect a disbeliever and deserving of death,” read the Code, which also recommended curbing hate speech and published material. Pakistani law already forbids religious hate speech but its implementation is close to non-existent, except in cases of alleged blasphemy.

The recommendations come as the country prepares for Muharram, beginning on October 24 or 25, when Shia Muslims mourn the martyrs of Battle of Karbala in 680AD. The month is frequently marred by sectarian violence, which has risen markedly in recent years.

Clashes between extremist sub-groups of the major Sunni sect and Shias led to at least 11 deaths in Rawalpindi last November. Around 1,000 Shias have been killed in the past two years in Pakistan, a heavy toll on the community that makes up roughly 20 percent of the country’s population of 180 million, which is predominantly Muslim.

The body also called for greater protection for non-Muslims, who make up around three percent of the population. “It is the government’s responsibility to provide protection to their worship places and holy figures according to the law,” it said.

The CII is more often known for its conservative pronouncements, declaring in March the prohibition of child marriage incompatible with Islam and that a man does not need permission from his wife to marry again. Formed in 1962 its remit is to advise parliament on the compatibility of laws with Sharia, though its recommendations are non-binding.