Human Rights Commission slams bill that would allow “light” beating of women

June 1, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

Pakistan, May 30, 2016: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has condemned in no uncertain terms a proposal by the Islamic Ideology Council (IIC) to allow husbands to “lightly beat” their disobedient wives.

The IIC made the proposal last week, sparking heated protests, even on social media that usually remain silent on women’s issue.

“Islam never allows wife beating. Corporal punishment is condemned by the religion,” Mehboob Ahmad, a member of the HRCP, told AsiaNews.

“The notion that beating a woman is in the Qurʾān is strictly the Council’s interpretation,” he explained. “The latter is against humanity. Men and women have the same rights. Discriminating against women will lead to worse consequences.”

What is more, “Based on the Constitution of Pakistan, the Islamic Ideology Council has no right to propose legislation, which falls to parliament,” the HRCP activist said. “The Council can only make suggestions, not suggest rules.”

Set up in 1962, the IIC is an advisory body tasked with vetting laws to see if they conform to Sharia. Its latest proposal comes as the Punjab Provincial Assembly discusses a new bill about women.

However, the same proposal goes against the Punjab Protection of Women Against Violence Act that was approved just this February.

The new law bans violence against women where violence means “any offence committed against the human body of the aggrieved person including abetment of an offence, domestic violence, sexual violence, psychological abuse, economic abuse, stalking or a cybercrime”.

Conversely, the IIC recommends that husbands ‘lightly’ beat their wives for disobedience and for refusing to wear the Hijab or take a bath after intercourse and menstruation.

The HRCP labelled the proposal “ridiculous” calling for the Council of “zealots” to be dissolved.

“It is difficult to comprehend why anyone in his right mind would think that any further encouragement or justification is needed to invite violence upon women in Pakistan,” said HRCP president Zohra Yusuf.

For well-known analyst Wajahat Masood, the “Question is whether any citizen of Pakistan has the right to commit violence against another”.

“Women have been vulnerable to physical as well as emotional and psychological torture throughout ages,” said Humza Arshad, a scholar and an educationist. Sadly, “it is really shocking that a religious institution is lending a helping hand to male chauvinism feeding upon misogynist approach under the cloak of religion.”

“Ironically, Islam is said to be the ‘patron saint’ of women’s rights, a pioneer to their well-being, a claim which has been challenged by rational mind-set, but the IIC has dug out religious citations to whip the women, if and when needed. It may be shocking but not surprising because the world has seen how ultra-religious factions like Taliban, Al Qaeda and ISIS their treat women folk.”

“The students of history know that captured girls were used as sex slave by Arab armies invading Middle East, Africa and parts of Asia and Europe, and it was a major motivation behind so-called jihad, besides financial gains,” he added.

– asianews

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