Pakistani council recommends allowing husbands to 'lightly' beat wives

Islamabad: Pakistani husbands can 'lightly' beat their wives if they disobey, according to a controversial recommendation made by a state-affiliated Islamic body in its new women protection bill.

The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) enjoys constitutional status in Pakistan and gives non-binding proposals to the parliament to make laws according to Islam.

The controversial alternative bill was prepared after the CII rejected Punjab's Protection of Women against Violence Act (PPWA) 2015, as un-Islamic.

PPWA, passed by the Punjab assembly, gives legal protection to women from domestic, psychological and sexual violence and calls for the creation of a toll-free abuse reporting hot line and the establishment of women's shelters.

The CII will now forward its proposed bill to the Punjab Assembly.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

According to The Express Tribune, the 163-page draft bill proposed several bans on women.

The bill said that a husband should be allowed to 'lightly' beat his wife if she defies his commands, refuses to dress up as per his wishes and turns down demand of physical contact.

It suggested that a beating is also permissible if a woman does not observe Hijab, interacts with strangers, speaks loud and provides monetary support to people without taking consent of her husband.

It also recommended to ban co-education after primary education, ban on women from taking part in military combat, ban on welcoming foreign delegations, interacting with males and making recreational visits with strangers.

Female nurses should not be allowed to take care of male patients and women should be banned from working in advertisements, it said.

It also recommended that an abortion after 120 days of conceiving should be declared 'murder'. This law is seen as more tolerant than what countries like United States offers its citizens.

However, it said, a woman can join politics and contract a Nikah without permission of parents. The council has taken a milder stand on this front and is not opposed to women marrying at their own free will.

If any non-Muslim woman is forced to convert, then the oppressor will be awarded three-year imprisonment while the woman will not be murdered if she reverts to her previous faith, it said.

The law has been proposed at a time when the CII is under fire from many social groups for opposing women's rights.

The law also comes as a shock to many, since countries like Saudi Arabia are abandoning religious laws to ban domestic violence. According to a report by The Huffington Post, the country outlawed domestic violence in 2013.

But there are also countries like Lebanon, Congo, Egypt, Iran, Syria, etc which refrain from banning domestic violence. In fact the police in Kenya turn a blind eye to reports of domestic violence. According to a CDC report, each year, an estimated 1.3 million women in the United States are victims of violence at the hands of an intimate partner.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: May 27, 2016 11:36 AM

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