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Civil society concerned over increasing cases of violence against women

Civil society concerned over increasing cases of violence against women

Demand disbandment of Council of Islamic Ideology, expulsion of Hafiz Hamdullah from Senate

Karachi Expressing their concerns over the increase in reports of violence against women in recent months, Karachi’s civil society activists urged on Wednesday that collective efforts be started for curbing such cases and demanded that the Council of Islamic Ideology be disbanded for its controversial statements and rulings.

They also requested Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani to expel Hafiz Hamdullah of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl for assaulting activist Marvi Sirmed during a TV talk show. The Joint Action Committee, a joint body of Karachi’s civil society and non-governmental organisations, held a meeting at the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan’s Karachi office to discuss the current continuous wave of violence against women in the country and chalk out a strategy.

Asad Iqbal Butt of the HRCP, Mustafa Gurgaze from the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, Qurat Mirza of the Women Action Forum, Farhat Parveen of the NOW Communities, Malka Khan of the Aurat Foundation, and Mir Zulfiqar Ali, a social activist, were the prominent ones among those who attended the meeting. The participants said the recent incidents of violence against women including setting them on fire, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif’s derogatory remarks for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s female lawmaker Shireen Mazari and Hamdullah’s assault on Sirmed during a TV show reflect that Pakistan was becoming a dangerous country for women.

Terming the CII a destructive force, they demanded immediate disbandment of the clergy body that advises the parliament on the computability of legislation with Islam.HRCP’s Asad Iqbal Butt accused the CII of promoting violence against women in a country where it was already frequent and widespread. “The clerics of the CII have deliberately been issuing regressive statements and rulings mainly focused on women, such as lightly beating wives and it is causing an increase in violence against women,” he said.

WAF’s Mirza said the CII had increasingly becoming a threat to women rights. Appreciating the Sindh Assembly’s March 30 resolution that demanded abolishing the CII, she suggested that the civil society activists should meet with parliamentarians in this regard. Mirza also discussed a dirty social media campaign started against Sirmed and her supporters.

The WAF in its meeting on June 12 had decided to send a letter to the Senate chairman demanding immediate expulsion of Hamdullah from the upper house of the parliament.Parveen said the top leadership of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the JUI-F had remained silent over their members’ behaviour with women. “Civil society groups should also pressure political and religious parties to train their lawmakers on how to behave with and respect women,” she added.

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