ISLAMABAD: The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) is deliberating on its proposed ‘model’ women’s protection bill, which allows a husband to ‘lightly’ beat his wife ‘if needed’ and prohibits mixing of the genders in schools, hospitals and offices.
The CII’s proposed bill claims women will have all the rights given to them under Shariah, prohibits interaction between na-mehrams at recreational spots and offices, and bans ‘dance, music, and sculptures created in the name of art’.Earlier this year, the Punjab Assembly passed a women’s protection bill, which the CII and religious parties strongly rejected, declaring it ‘unIslamic’.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government sent a similar bill to the Council for review, which it rejected on the basis of being ‘unIslamic’, and announced it will prepare a ‘model’ bill in response.The proposed 163-point bill will be deliberated on Thursday and Friday. Copies of the bill have been sent to all provincial assemblies as the CII’s recommendations.Salient points from the proposed bill address property, marriage, motherhood, crimes and violence against women, apostasy, and even venture into the instruments of state ‘acceptable’ for a woman to be involved in.
Farzana Bari, human rights activist and academic at Quaid-i-Azam University, termed the proposed bill unconstitutional.“Allowing a husband to beat his wife, in any way, is against Pakistan’s Constitution and the international laws and treaties that Pakistan has signed and is bound by. This Council is a burden on the Pakistani taxpayer and bringing a bad name to Muslims throughout the world.”Not allowing adult women to work and keeping them at home is to treat them like children or property, she added.