Lahore: Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Friday condemned the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) recommendations that call for violence against women, among other regressive, illegal or redundant advice contained in a ‘model’ law purportedly designed to protect women’s rights.
In a statement issued on Friday, the Commission said: As much as HRCP wanted not to dignify with any comment the ridiculous CII recommendations regarding ‘light beating’ of women, we think it is imperative that every right-respecting person must condemn such counsel unreservedly. The irony of calling the measure women protection bill should not be lost on anyone.
Apparently in a bid to balance things, the ‘model’ draft pronounces that women should not be murdered in the name of honour. It also ‘allows’ them a say in whom they marry, to own property and to transfer the same to others. It also ‘permits’ them to participate in politics. These provisions have already, and correctly, been pointed out as unnecessary, because they are covered by criminal law and constitutionally acknowledged human rights provisions for decades. The women in Pakistan should count their blessings that they did not have to look toward the CII for getting these rights. There are other provisions in the draft that are no less ridiculous.
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.
Another thing that people have long wondered about is why women and young girls are the main focus of CII pronouncements. Surely there must be any number of other pressing issues in the country that require CII’s attention.
HRCP would like to know why the CII’s obsession with women, its attempts to ensure subservience of the female gender and to keep women from attaining equal standing in society have not been called into question so far.
We hope and expect that things will be different this time and the draft bill will be condemned unreservedly by all segments of society, especially by the government, and that those choosing to stay silent or to support the regressive recommendations would be judged for their stance.
The ‘model’ draft is apparent payback for the women protection bill adopted by the Punjab legislative assembly. The ‘advice’ exposes the mindset of the zealots occupying the CII, who should be removed from their posts immediately. In fact, the body itself is redundant in the presence of adequate constitutional provisions that rule out the enactment of laws contrary to Islam. It is time is was disbanded.