Islamabad: In a significant ruling, a constitutional Islamic body in Pakistan has said that covering of face, hands and feet was not mandatory for women under Islamic laws.
The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) met on Monday here under the chairmanship of Maulana Mohammad Khan Sherani, who belongs to Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) of Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
"The covering of face, hands, up to the wrists, and feet is not mandatory for Muslim women," the CII chief said.
However, he said that it was preferable and good to follow ethics and have a careful attitude in society. Sherani further said that it was necessary to cover the face and full body "if there are threats of mischief". He, however, failed to explain 'mischief'.
The meeting was also attended by Dr Samia Raheel Qazi of hardline Jamaat-i-Islami party, but she supported the decision despite the fact that she wears a full face veil.
According to the details of the meeting, the chief of CII, Sherani, was still in the support of women wearing full veil though he agreed that it was not mandatory under Islam.
The issue of covering full face has been creating hurdles for conservative families to get Computerised National Identity Cards (CNIC), which required women to get photographed with uncovered face.
It is believed that CII ruling may help them to come up and register to get the CNIC.
CII has been set up under the constitution of 1973 to help Islamise the laws.
Its rulings are not mandatory for the government. In the past, the CII gave controversial ruling that children of any age could get married if they attain puberty.