Pakistan's Islamic body that said man can ‘lightly beat’ wife halts legislation on Domestic Violence Bill

WION Web Team
NEW DELHI Published: Jul 10, 2021, 07:18 AM(IST)

File photo Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The new law aims to protect women, children, the elderly from domestic violence. It also seeks to offer relief and rehabilitation to all individuals who are victims of domestic violence.

In Pakistan, a bill aimed at protecting women, children, the elderly, and other vulnerable populations from domestic abuse has uncovered flaws and divided sentiments. 

The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) paused legislation on the Domestic Violence Bill in 2020 on Friday, stating that the Islamic constitutional authority must evaluate the bill and report back to the Pakistan government.

They expressed concerns about several aspects of the law. 

According to The News International, the CII's judgement was finally given to the Human Rights Ministry in the third week of June, after the bill sparked controversy following its passing in the Senate.

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After the bill was brought before the National Assembly in November 2020, the CII considered it (NA). 

Following its passage in the Senate, the bill sparked outrage among lawmakers, political leaders, religious scholars, and opinion-makers, including Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) Amir Sirajul Haq, Senator Mushtaq Ahmad, and Jamiat Ulema-e Islam of Fazal-ur-Rehman (JUI-F) Senator Atta-ur-Rehman. 

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Following public pressure, Prime Minister Imran Khan's Parliamentary Affairs Advisor, Babar Awan, publicly met Speaker of the National Assembly Asad Qaiser and requested that the bill be referred to the CII.

Babar Awan wrote a letter on behalf of Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was also informed of the bill's' 'un-Islamic aspects. ' 

In the letter, Awan draws attention to various contents and definitions in the bill.

According to a report in Dawn, the letter notes: "Most importantly, it is being highlighted that the bill contravenes the Islamic [injunctions] and way of life as enshrined in the responsibility of the state in Article 31 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan".

What is the proposed Pakistan's Domestic Violence Bill?

The bill demands harsh penalties for all sorts of domestic violence.

Any act of domestic abuse is punishable by a maximum of three years in prison and a minimum of six months in prison, according to the law.

Furthermore, the offender may face fines ranging from Rs20,000 to Rs1,000,000.

‘Lightly beating’ wife permissible

In 2016, the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) advocated allowing a husband to ‘lightly' beat his wife if he feels it is necessary, as well as requiring women to breastfeed their children for two years.

In the same year, the constitutional council ruled that the Punjab Assembly and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government's women's protection bills, which criminalised all types of violence against women, were "un-Islamic."

(With inputs from agencies)

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