Pakistan: Religious body drafts women protection bill allowing husbands to ‘lightly’ beat their wives for disobedience


The draft bill by the Council of Islamic Ideology also recommended a ban on co-education after primary school, banned women from taking part in military combat and interacting with males, prevents female nurses from taking care of male patients and bans women from working in ads.

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. 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’. However, it said, a woman can join politics and contract a Nikah without permission of parents. 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.

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