The reaction to alleged disrespect of women in parliament in Pakistan continues. This report covers the reaction of civil society organisations beginning with a statement from the Ending Violence Against Women and Girls (EVAWG) Allianc:
The statement urged general public and civil society activists in particular to raise strong voice against the social mindset which allows men to abuse women at any forum. “Sadly, this has also penetrated in our respected Parliament. Passing sexist remarks, abusing, threatening and torturing women shall not be acceptable anymore. We, the women rights activists and organisations, demand speaker National Assembly and chairman Senate to cancel the memberships of abusers from Upper and Lower House,” said Rabeea Hadi, co-chair of EVAWG Alliance.
The Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (WPC) also took serious notice of the growing disrespect, intolerance and impertinence amongst men and women in the country, especially on media and places of high order that should actually be presenting and promoting role models for the people of Pakistan.
The debate coincides with an increase in so-called 'honour crime' killings.
It is also linked to the negative reaction to pronouncements by the Council on Islamic Ideology (CII) which reinforce violence against women.
Pakistani women react strongly to recommendations made by the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) in its 'Model Women's Protection Bill':
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has strongly criticized the CII's proposal, stating, “As much as the HRCP wanted not to dignify with any comment the ridiculous CII recommendations regarding ‘light beating’ of women, the commission thinks it is imperative that every right-respecting person must condemn such counsel unreservedly. The irony of calling the measures women protection should not be lost on anyone.” The HRCP isn't the only group that's condemned the draft legislation. Pakistanis throughout the country have reacted with shock, anger, and even humour, writing online with the hashtag “#TryBeatingMeLightly.”
From Obaid Abbasi in the Express Tribune, Pakistan:
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.
The bill was drafted after the CII rejected Punjab’s controversial Protection of Women against Violence Act (PPWA) 2015 terming it un-Islamic. The CII will now forward its proposed bill to the Punjab Assembly.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday said it would take the parliamentarians and donor agencies on board to increase women participation in electoral process. ECP Secretary Babar Yaqoob said the commission wanted greater political participation of women.
An obstacle to improving the participation of women in elections was that around one million women were without identity cards and therefore could not register to vote.