CII forwards its recommendation for Women Protection Bill

ISLAMABAD :In an alternate bill to the Punjab’s controversial Protection of Women against Violence Act (PPWA) 2015, the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), that advises the government on the compatibility of laws with Islam, has proposed that husbands should be allowed to ‘lightly’ beat the defying wives.Currently, the 20-member CII headed by Maulana Muhammad Khan Sherani is conducting clause-wise review of the draft of 163-page model bill presented by Mufti Imdadullah, a member who belongs to JUI-F. Later, it will be sent to the National Assembly, Senate and the provincial assemblies.The Council of Islamic Ideology is a constitutional body of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, responsible for giving legal advice on Islamic issues to the government and the Parliament. However, the government can make a law before advice is furnished by the council.

In its model bill, the council has recommended that a husband should be allowed to ‘lightly’ beat his wife if she defies his orders. A woman also has the right to approach the court if husband crosses limit in his demands.The bill proposes that there should be a ban on co-education after primary level. Woman should be banned from taking part in military combats and barred from welcoming the foreign dignitaries.

Women officials should not be allowed to go with ‘na-mehram’ officers on foreign tours. Hijab is allowed, however, men and women cannot openly interact with each other. The Islamic body has recommended that an abortion after 120 days of conceiving should be declared ‘murder’. However, it says a woman can join politics and contract a Nikkah (marriage) without permission of parents.

Anyone who tries to force women to marry with the Holy Quran or facilitate this should be awarded 10-year imprisonment.The proposed bill further states that if any non-Muslim woman is forced to convert, the oppressor will be awarded three-year imprisonment while the woman will not be murdered if she reverts to her previous faith.It says female nurses should not be allowed to take care of male patients and recommends that women should be banned from working in public service messages and advertisements.Honour killing and karokari will be considered ‘murder’. A girl’s forced marriage under ‘wani system’ is a punishable act. There will be complete ban on dowry demand and display. A woman has the right to become a lawyer or judge.

It may be mentioned here that in March this year the powerful religious body had declared a new law that criminalizes violence against women to be “un-Islamic.”

The Women’s Protection Act, passed by Punjab, gives unprecedented legal protection to women from domestic, psychological and sexual violence. It also calls for the creation of a toll-free abuse reporting hot line and the establishment of women’s shelters.

But since its passage in the Punjab assembly, many clerics and religious leaders have denounced the new law as being in conflict with the Muslim holy book, the Quran, as well as Pakistan’s constitution.

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