The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) has proposed its own women protection bill, recommending ‘a light beating’ for the wife if she defies the husband. The 20-member CII is a constitutional body which gives recommendations to parliament regarding Islamic laws. However, parliament is not bound to consider its recommendations.
Ironically recommendations of CII were presented in the bill which is called Women Protection Bill. This bill was in response to the bill passed by Punjab Assembly earlier this year ‘Punjab Protection of Women Against Violence Act’. In the bill Punjab Assembly took substantial measures for safeguarding the rights of women. As it was expected religious clergy, religious political parties and CII in particular came up with hard criticism on the bill. Their pressure compelled the lawmakers to further discuss the bill with collaboration of various religious parties.
This time CII not only tried to undo the advances made in the Punjab assembly bill but also further weakened the position of women in the society. Public in large, mostly via social media raised its voice in outrage against the proposed light beating of wives. Question was also center of discussion that why CII have never raised voice against incidences of rape, honour killings, acid attacks, and forced marriages and why it becomes active when there are talks to further empowering women in the society. Suggestion of CII once again refreshed the certainty that Pakistani society is male dominated. If we allow recommendations of CII, we would fail to protect our daughters, our wives, sisters and mothers. In short, we would fail as a nation.
These moves by the CII are nothing more than desperate attempts to steer limelight.