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Women’s Existence – a matter in our society?

Today, we are living in 21st century, where world is preparing Mars missions to explore the life out of planet earth and the  women are contributing their knowledge, research and work side by side with men. Whereas, in Pakistan, we are having institutions like Council of Islamic Ideology which is busy in declaring their fatwas how to beat or treat their women.

Recently, the Council of Islamic Ideology submitted their input on the proposed women protection bill 2016 in which they purposed that lightly beating your wife is permissible and is under the Sharia. It also prohibited any kind of interaction between na-mehrams at recreational spots, offices, ban dance, music and sculptures created in the name of art and they also proposed to ban co-education system in the country.

If this proposed bill is accepted  as is being proposed by CII, what about existing laws of the country which may not be under Shariah as according to CII because Sindh and Baluchistan’s provincial assemblies have adopted domestic violence (prevent and protection) act in their respected provinces?

Early this year, when Punjab assembly  passed the women protection bill, It created a havoc for the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), JUI-F and other religious parties who have been forcing Punjab government to reverse their decision, while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assembly also sent the same draft to advisory council which was declared as an un-Islamic law, thus, was rejected.

However, if the legislative assemblies consider the proposals of CII and adopt them, It would be against the Constitution of Pakistan, UN treaties and International Laws to which Pakistan is  signatory.

According to article 25, 27, 35, and 37 of Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, all citizens are equal before law and are entitled to an equal protection of law which further insures that there shall be no discrimination on the basis of sex alone. Further, No citizen otherwise qualified for appointment in the service of Pakistan shall be discriminated against in respect of any of such appointment on the ground of only sex. Step shall be taken to ensure full participation of women in all spheres of national life.

The state shall protect [ensure] that women are not employed vocations unsuited to their sex.

Additionally,  according to the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which  Pakistan is signatory, its article no. 1, 2,7,16, 21(2), 25(2) say that,  All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights; Everyone is entitled to all the rights and  freedoms set forth in this declaration, without distinction of any kind; All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of law; Men and women of full age are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and its dissolution; marriage should be entered into with the free and full consent of the intending spouses; everyone has the right to equal access to public service in his country. Mother and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance.

Despite of these above laws and treaties which exist in the country, violence against women is still happening for many years. According to the official figures released by the ministry of human rights, 8,648 incident of human rights violation were reported in the country between January 2012 and September 2015. These included 90 incidents of acid burning, 72 burning, 481 of domestic violence, 868 honor-killings , 344 rape/gang rapes, 268 sexual assault  / harassment and 535 cases of violence against women.

Most recently, two major burning incidents have happened within two months. One incident took place on the orders given by a local Jirga where a16 years old girl at Dunga Gali Abbottabad was burnt alive and the second incident was of a 19-year-old girl, Ms. Maria Sadaqat, from Murree hill station, Punjab province, was burned alive for refusing to marry her suitor, the son of a school principal, who had employed her as a teacher.

This all is happening in our society while living in 21st century where the existing of women matters for the clergy class. Beside this, we are having bodies like so-called Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) who are proposing anti-women and anti-constitutional laws. If we abide by CII and adopt their propositions, then definitely, this will  send our country back to the dark ages.

We still have time to rethink and push back to such kind of proposals coming from CII for betterment of our healthy and progressive society and powerful corridors of Pakistan must think on abolishing CII.

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