The move by the National Assembly on Friday to pass The Regulation and Control of Loudspeakers and Sound Amplifiers (Amendment) Bill 2010, is a step in the right direction. The bill is intended to curb attempts to create sectarian hatred in the Islamabad Capital Territory. Previously, this was applicable only in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa under The West Pakistan Regulation and Control of Loud Speakers and Sound Amplifiers Ordinance 1965. The punishment for the misuse of amplifiers and loudspeakers to promote sectarianism is now up to one-year imprisonment and/or a fine of Rs 50,000 in the Islamabad Capital Territory.
The first glaring omission in this bill is that it has only been extended to the Islamabad Capital Territory. What about the rest of the country and its people? Does the National Assembly not consist of elected representatives of the entire country? It is a failure on the part of the members of the National Assembly to represent their respective constituencies. If parliament has taken a bold step to regulate the contents of sermons over loudspeakers, it should be a blanket law that should govern all of Pakistan. If one has spent even a day in this country, one will know the irresponsible sermons that are spewed from loudspeakers. Also, the sound pollution — read nuisance — created by using unnecessarily powerful sound amplifiers in mosques near hospitals, educational institutions, courts, and residential areas is mind numbing. We are bombarded with a continuous stream of competing sounds from different mosques. The azaan is the call to prayers for Muslims, but the manner in which it is broadcast over loudspeakers is against its decorum. Unlike The West Pakistan Regulation and Control of Loud Speakers and Sound Amplifiers Ordinance 1965, it is hoped that mosque administrations are not allowed to tip-toe their way around the aforementioned bill when relaying azaan, prayers, or Friday and Eid sermons.
Parliament must first and foremost address these inconsistencies in the bill. In order to make this bill effective, it must be applied across the country without any exceptions. Otherwise this bill will not be worth more than the paper it is printed on. *
Source: Daily Times