Gender violence

Pakistan - 'honour crimes' and disrespect

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.



Body-shaming in Pakistan

Pakistan's Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, from the ruling party Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN), is also Minister for power and water. He is accused of seeking to body shame a female member of the opposition Shireen Mazari. As Mazari interjected in parliament to protest against power outages during the religious month of Ramadan, Asif said, ‘Someone make this tractor trolley keep quiet,’. He also said, ‘Make her voice more feminine.

#TryBeatingMeLightly - reaction to CII in Pakistan

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.”


Criticisms of CII proposals in Pakistan

Commentators in Pakistan criticise the CII proposals that attack protections for the rights of women:

While civil society members and woman representatives rejected the recommendations of the Council of Islamic Ideology on a new women protection bill, legal experts say only parliament has the right to legislate and there was no legal status of the proposals presented by the CII.
Supreme Court Bar Association President Barrister Ali Zafar said on Thursday that CII’s proposals about ‘slight’ beating of women, a ban on co-education, restraining women from taking part in military combat and interacting with males, preventing female nurses from taking care of male patients and banning women from working in ads, are only the opinion of the CII members. He said these proposals are not binding on parliament, which is authorised to make any laws.


See also:

Pakistan religious conservative backlash against protecting women

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.
CII rules women’s protection law ‘un-Islamic’
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.