Domestic violence bill: JUI-F opposition leads to another deadlock

Published: April 6, 2012

Party claims the bill undermines Islamic values and imposes western ones. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD: A landmark bill seeking to deter all forms of domestic violence against women has reached a serious deadlock following heavy resistance by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F). Claiming the bill undermines Islamic values, the party on Friday announced it would fight “tooth and nail” against it.

Strong resistance by opposition parties, including Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), had forced the Government on April 4 to defer another bill, introduced in 2009, which sought heavy jail terms for those involved in violence against women.

“We cannot adopt a bill which a ditto copy of a bill on women,” observed JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman, when lawmakers under the leadership of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) senior leader Syed Khurshid Shah, met to develop consensus on the issue.

Fazl claimed the bill promotes western culture and values rather than Islamic ones. “NGOs continue to promote the culture which keeps women away from Islam and that is not acceptable to us.”

The JUI-F Chief termed it an effort to destroy the dignity of women in Islam and urged followers to stand united against those who wanted to impose Western culture in Pakistan.

“We know women’s rights better than the PPP… Western culture cannot be promoted under the pretext of protection in Islamic states,” maintained the JUI-F Chief.

On Thursday, lawmakers across party lines failed to evolve any consensus to amend a controversial clause of the aforementioned bill passed by the National Assembly in 2009. Since the bill was not adopted by the Senate in 90 days, rules stipulate it can only be passed in a joint sitting of the Parliament.

PPP MNA Yasmeen Rehman had tabled the bill earlier stressing the institutionalisation of measures required to protect women and children from domestic violence.

Despite the PPP Senior Minister’s efforts, the opposition could not be convinced into contributing positive suggestions so that the bill could be tabled once again before the joint sitting next week.

PML-N, the top opposition party in the National Assembly, also dragged its feet over the bill when MNA Khawaja Saad Rafiq implied that external forces had stakes in the passage of its controversial clauses. He refrained from explaining his thoughts further.

The Government has long wanted to move the overdue Domestic Violence Bill, 2009. The opposition however maintains that the bill cannot be passed by the Parliament until further amendments are made to its clauses.

The lawmakers will now hold a meeting over the issue on Monday.

Friday also witnessed opposing protest rallies outside the Parliament by both human rights activists and Islamic parties. Rights activists chanted slogans in favour of the passage of the bill while religious activists raised slogans opposing it. Harsh words were traded by both sides during the demonstrations as they also raised slogans against each other. The protesters were eventually dispersed by the local police.

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Reader Comments (62)

  • Sharay Bajwa
    Apr 6, 2012 - 4:47PM

    Why do religious people hate women’s rights so much? why does the maulvi’s self-image come from the subjugation of women? They want to keep beating up women and don’t want anyone to take away this right of theirs.
    Terms like domestic violence and marital rape are alien to our people.Our men think that beating up your wives and raping them is their birthright and no one should take that away.

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  • Ilyas amjad
    Apr 6, 2012 - 4:51PM

    Not torturing women is not a western or amreeki or yahodi concept.It’s a basic human right.The religious parties who try to paint women’s rights as some western concept are damaging pakistani society.
    The religious parties don’t protest,don’t hold dharnas when acid is thrown on women,when women are raped but they scream and protest when legislation is brought against domestic abuse.
    There should be laws made against marital rape also as it is very common in our society and no man thinks there is anything wrong in raping your wife.

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  • khurshid
    Apr 6, 2012 - 4:53PM

    here we go again! the champions of islam mantain that any law forbidding violence against women and children runs contrary to Islam. Maybe they will enlighten us as to what they consider as being Islamic. e.g. Men thrashing their wives if they refuse permission for another marriage? If discouraging violence against the hapless is a western agenda then I am all for it.

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  • Maryam
    Apr 6, 2012 - 4:55PM

    It is an eye opener for those who says that in Pakistan the politics of ‘right and left wing’ has ended. It is clear here that both JUI(F) and PML(N) are of right wing parties coupled with Imran Khan PTI who similarly oppose a similar woman protection bill during Muhsaraf era. Both PPP and ANP coupled with MQM should try its utmost to pass the bill.

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  • MUNIB
    Apr 6, 2012 - 4:59PM

    These mullahz are the biggest threat to PAK and its progress. Anything you do and they will drag the same rotten issues and dig out something to block it. Recommend

  • yasir
    Apr 6, 2012 - 5:01PM

    When pakistan goes one step ahead, these beardfull and beardless Mullahs dragg it two steps back..!! Why should they oppose a bill the condemns violence !! Pathetic !

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  • A. Khan
    Apr 6, 2012 - 5:14PM

    And in other news, man tries to chop of wife’s nose in domestic violence case. Or the case where acid is thrown on faces of women.

    So, please explain where in Islam is it allowed to do that ? Because, if these incidents are justified in any way whatsoever, I am prepared to accept western culture and take my chances in hereafter.

    No ifs, buts, justifications etc. just a straight forward yes or no, please. Thank you.Recommend

  • Babloo
    Apr 6, 2012 - 5:16PM

    So is violence against women now a “islamic right” ?

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  • shakrullah
    Apr 6, 2012 - 5:21PM

    What is wrong with leaning decent and humane things
    from the west ? Islam in its progressive and dynamic era had a voracious attitude towards
    other cultures , and assimilated wherever it found goodness beauty and moral refinement .Recommend

  • Apr 6, 2012 - 5:26PM

    @A. Khan:
    I hate Western Culture…Please let Islam flourish. Don;t be ultra modern to spoil Muslim community.

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  • Iron hand
    Apr 6, 2012 - 5:29PM

    Would have been nice if ET had specified what the objectionable clause in the law actually says!

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  • Amjad
    Apr 6, 2012 - 5:31PM

    What rightist parties are doing is a crime against humanity

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  • Aristo
    Apr 6, 2012 - 5:36PM

    This most probably amounts to blasphemy Maulana, as it goes against the teaching of the prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It was our beloved prophet, who went against all the prevailing traditions of the era of Jahilia (ignorance) and initially gave rights to women, especially the right to LIVE.Recommend

  • MAD
    Apr 6, 2012 - 5:46PM

    Would JUI-F care to elaborate on which portions of the proposed bill are unislamic?

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  • Apr 6, 2012 - 6:07PM

    @MAD:
    Please don’t criticise JUI-F. They are real fighter for Islamism in Pakistan.

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  • @plarkin
    Apr 6, 2012 - 6:13PM

    < This is an excellent bill and must pass. Opposing it in the name of religion is very poor publicity for Islam.Recommend

  • MAD
    Apr 6, 2012 - 6:39PM

    @Asmat Bano: I shall not comment on my personal views regarding JUI-F or yours for that matter. I simply asked which portions of the bill are being deemed unislamic thats all.

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  • A.Anjum
    Apr 6, 2012 - 6:40PM

    This is ridiculous!!!
    “heavy resistance by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F)”

    Moulana Fazl-ur-Rehman Sahib, what exactly is the culture of Pakistan…and what exactly do you mean by western culture.

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  • Mir
    Apr 6, 2012 - 7:08PM

    JUI should clarify what are the cluauses they disagree with. Iam sure whatever the clause maybe they are disagreeing with ppp to gain political mileage, they will exploit this bill coupled with anti americanism along with some PMLN MNAs.

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  • sars
    Apr 6, 2012 - 7:11PM

    Sure lets oppose this bill and infact make a bill enforcing domestic violence against women , in addition to answering hafiz saeeds call to jihad against america.

    These shameful news stories should be enough of proponents of sharia law for pakistan, because these geniuses ( and similarly gifted friends) will be the ones administering it.

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  • A. Khan
    Apr 6, 2012 - 7:14PM

    @Gulshan Amir

    “I hate Western Culture. Please let Islam flourish”

    That is your personal choice but we should look at the positive aspects not the negative.

    As regards letting Islam flourish, the biggest threat to Islam is from people like Fazl-ur-Rahman rather than Western culture. We are already way behind in terms of science/technology and education and the gap is widening rapidly. How we can ever catch up is beyond me.

    Our country depends on Western i.e. American handouts to survive yet the people abuse America at any available opportunity. Perhaps they should clearly understand what would happen to Pakistan economically should the US withdraw aid and apply sanctions. Spare me the sanctimonious crap about living within our means etc.

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  • Saif
    Apr 6, 2012 - 7:41PM

    Islam does not condone violence against women. Our prophet (PBUH) was all fro protecting women from physical and mental harm. Im not sure if that encompasses marital rape but generally, assaulting women is not the way of a muslim man. Quite the opposite infact. Therefore, Maulana saahib needs to brush up his notes nad take his words back.Recommend

  • inam
    Apr 6, 2012 - 7:44PM

    i think not only the new ones but the bills that was passed by mussaraf must also be revisited which disturbed the hadood. the quranic teachings should strictly be adopted.

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  • amir
    Apr 6, 2012 - 7:47PM

    None of the supporter of this bill has even read this bill-yet they are supporting this bill blindly. This Bill Should Never be passed in our country. Praise to parties who are opposing this bill. This bill is not a women right bill it is a Destroyer of Family bill, anyone who wants to see this bill in practical form , needs to live in a country like America, Canada etc to see the fallout of such despicable bills. No one should ever support such a evil bill!

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  • Atif
    Apr 6, 2012 - 7:55PM

    @Gulshan Amir:

    this is not true islam….it has not been derived from holy Quran, instead , it is mere mixture based on short rediculous and illogical stories or fairy tales collected in some books which are tought in our madrasaas. This is purely a MULLAHISM not islam …. so damn care ….. just try to prob true Quran only….JUST QURAN ONLY….. no other book at all.

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  • DevilHunterX
    Apr 6, 2012 - 8:00PM

    The Holy Prophet (PBUH) was the first to support female rights, and Mulla was the first to oppose it. Ironic?Recommend

  • Safdar
    Apr 6, 2012 - 8:02PM

    What does the bill contain? Let the details come up.

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  • IndianKid
    Apr 6, 2012 - 8:08PM

    I seriously dont feel any sympathy for muslim women when their rights are taken away. You know why? I dont hate muslim women, but the fact is the Muslim women are themselves as fanatic( or may be stupid) as Mullahs. Many muslim women themselves propagate conservative agenda, like they wear complete face veils, support Islamic laws instead of secular ones( like in India). These women teach their kids about Islamic values instead of liberal secular values. I think the time has come for these millions of Muslim women to decide what they want? conservatism or liberal secularism(like in 99% muslim turkey). Remember “Jab boya paid babool ka to aam kahan se aayega”

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  • Babloo
    Apr 6, 2012 - 8:17PM

    In contrast India has one of the toughest laws against violence against women and even a complaint lodged by a women against her husband and inlaws is a ‘non-bailable offence’.
    Many thousands are prosecuted and sent to prison everyyear for offenses under that law.
    It does not mean, that violence against women does not happen in India ( it does, as in any other society ), but the state makes absolutely clear what it stands for and on whose side it is. The number of people punished in India every year under that law is easily 1000 times more than number fo people punished for violence against women in Pakistan. That is the difference.

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  • Doctor Tariq
    Apr 6, 2012 - 8:21PM

    AssalamuAlaikum,kindly be sensible.Do you know the details of the clauses of the mentioned
    BILL.? Why are you ready to BLAME ISLAM and someone who favours ISLAM..When has any ISLAMIST said that voilence against women is JUSTIFIED. In the majority of the cases where voilence occurs,are the RELIGIOUS people or are they the worst in relation to ISLAM..
    You all are giving the impression that if ALLAH,THE ALMIGHTY, want voilence against women….Is it so? No No No can never be like that.
    Know about ALLAH,QURAN,HADITH i.e. ISLAM & then give your opinions….JUST SEARCH VOILENCE AGAINST WOMEN & CHILDREN IN THE WEST….also search NON-ACCIDENTAL INJURY IN CHILDREN IN THE WEST……..it will OPEN YOUR EYES.

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  • h
    Apr 6, 2012 - 8:25PM

    @ amir
    umm… how exactly do you know that the parties supporting this bill haven’t read it? in fact, how do you know that the parties who are opposing have read it either? and yes, it would be terribly evil for gasp women to have certain rights which would lead them to defend themselves should their husbands abuse them. a bill supporting women’s rights does not mean that it would lead to the disintegration of family. if in a family a man constantly abuses his wife and children, that family is already a very dysfunctional one, and it’s already internally destroyed, if not externally so. giving women rights like this would not destroy the family unit, but make it a healthier entity, since neither party would be in fear of the other abusing its rights, and would most likely lead to a productive life. also, you yourself are a man. if you were a woman, you yourself would know how terryfying it is to be in this country, and how desprately we need this bill.

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  • Babar
    Apr 6, 2012 - 8:30PM

    Can somebody please post a link where I can read the bill? Of course it would be too much to expect the same from ET.

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  • Eyes Open
    Apr 6, 2012 - 9:08PM

    Guys before you support the decision made by Fazlur Rehman, look at his record. His tenures in government have been riddled with accusations of serious corruption, and he is a known support of the “Islam” taught by extremist groups. Whatever version of Islam he is exploiting is quite obviously a perversion of Islam’s actual teachings.

    Islam preaches human rights and tolerance for all, and even though I am personally an agnostic, I find Fazlur Rehman’s comments about this bill being against Islam to be offensive and disgusting.

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  • Mirza
    Apr 6, 2012 - 10:24PM

    This should be an eye opener for all those who want to get rid of the current coalition govt before the next elections at all costs. We have tried that and got Gen Zia and all the problems with terrorism, drugs and illegal arms.
    I have never been a member of any political party in Pakistan but always supported elected govts. The coalition govt of PPP and secular parties is not going to kill all the progressive causes vs mullah/rightwing/military alliance. Even a bit more of liberalism is better than the fanaticism and suppression of rightwing. I would certainly support and work for any other alternative if they have a liberal agenda. Cannot support the same rightwing parties whether PML-N or PTI which do not differ much in their ideology.

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  • usmanx
    Apr 6, 2012 - 10:45PM

    can you comment on devdasism in india, also can you mention that sutee was outlawed by muslims. oh wait. that would be inconvenient.

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  • Mirza
    Apr 6, 2012 - 10:50PM

    Time for Pakistani leaders and public to decide whether they are with Mullah Fazal or for the right of women. The choice is simple for educated people or not?

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  • Stewie Griffin
    Apr 6, 2012 - 11:12PM

    This is just downright ridiculous , JUI-F and other Islamist parties believe that torturing women is an ‘Islamic’ principle.

    If we want to move forward, we must get rid of religious parties.

    Far-right parties, whether they be the Tea-party in America, the BNP in Britian or the JUI-F in Pakistan, are all full of ignorant people who want to hold their countries back from progress.Recommend

  • akhroot
    Apr 6, 2012 - 11:13PM

    Babloo, India is a much more misogynistic country compared to Pakistan. Sex selective abortions has turned it into a demographic time bomb waiting to explode.

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  • Babloo
    Apr 6, 2012 - 11:24PM

    Akhroot,
    The ratio of male/female ration in India, as per 2011 census is 1000 males to 940 females or 1000/940 = 1.06
    Thats a improvement from 2001 census and things are going in the right direction.
    India has taken strict measures to punish and stop sex-selective abortions and has outlawed sex detection in sonograms, with strict punishments. Civilized societies talk freely about problems and then take measures to fix them.

    In Pakistan, the Males to female ration is 1.07 ( marginally worse than India ). You can google that fact. In the 15-64 age group, the ratio is even worse at 1.09.

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  • Mehran
    Apr 6, 2012 - 11:40PM

    Which Islam is he talking about? State harbored such elements with false vision that all diverse nations of Pakistan (Sindhi, Balochi, Siraiki, Punjabi, and Pakhtoon) will become one Muslim nation. But who will tell short sighted people that nations build on history and tradition, not just on rhetoric and religious activism. Whole Pakistan is under fire thanks to pro-Mulla support factories of Establishment. It’s time to say good bye to dictation of Mullas. lets make a new progressive, liberal, pluralistic nation.

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  • Parvez
    Apr 7, 2012 - 12:08AM

    Maulana Sahab the West has adopted Islamic codes for the protection of women, they just call it by a different name. It is you who are not implementing Islamic values and instead play politics to feather your own nest.

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  • Abdul Maalik
    Apr 7, 2012 - 12:09AM

    JUI-F is opposing the bill only on political grounds.During elections, they would campaign in KPK based on their opposition of NATO supply restoration and women bill.Fazlur Rehman will never elaborate which clauses of the women bill are against Islam because then he will be left with nothing to sell to his voter.JUI-F is going to say to the religious voters of KPK that they have saved Islam.You can also see that JUI-F is holding Jalsas in different parts of country with the name,’Islam Zindabad conference’.So, you can easily see their tactics to secure political milage after they failed to revive Muttahida majlis-e-Amal.

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  • Abdul Maalik
    Apr 7, 2012 - 12:13AM

    @Mirza
    Please tell the people the complete truth.Why don’t you say that the pursuation of extreme liberal agenda by Gen Musharaff is also the cause of today’s extremism in Pakistan? Why do you people stop at General Zia-ul-Haq? Just to express your wrath against PTI, you have bracketed PTI with JUI-F and Noon League who say that PTI is working on western agenda.

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  • Apr 7, 2012 - 12:33AM

    Islam gave rights and protection to women, now these religious parties wont allow it. And they call themselves muslims.

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  • Abid
    Apr 7, 2012 - 1:06AM

    So the guy has less than 2% of the seats in the Parliament – how is it that this man has so much clout that with this amount of reprensentation he is able to stop a bill in a parliament of more than 330? the Government (if they think they are true representatives of the nation and working for the nation) should ignore him and go through the bill anyway, if it doesnt pass – PML N is to blame for not supporting Women’s rights – something that Islam gave to this world to begin with. Why is everything good associated with Western Culture by these so called Islamist anyway? Islam gave us Womens’ rights centuries before the West came out of the Dark Ages – they burnt women alive as recently as the 19th century (accusing them of whichcraft).

    Time has passed to reason with these people, treat them for what they are, a very small minority that uses threats and violence to get their way, no need to even debate with these selfish men using the Religion to gain power.

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  • ramiz
    Apr 7, 2012 - 1:39AM

    These Islamic backward illiterate mullas are the biggest problem in Pakistan not the Americans. They just love to bring Islam in politics, and destroy the image of Islam. The faster we get rid of these headless chickens the better we are, otherwise we’ll soon end up like AFG. God bless Pakistan. All the Islamic parties should be banned from main stream politics as they provoke Islamic extremism. Have a look at developed countries Turkey, UAE, Malaysia, etc , they are Muslims, but in much more civilised and modern manner, we should also follow their footsteps otherwise these crazy mullas will drag us back go stone age.

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  • Huma
    Apr 7, 2012 - 2:06AM

    the Prophet gave women their rights maulana…. any attempt to deny them falls under blasphemy… and we all know u support the rigorous application of that law.Recommend

  • Hamda imam
    Apr 7, 2012 - 2:17AM

    @Mirza: @atif and great commentator, reporters and writters for ET, its nice to read and reply in there pages. Its an opportunily to understand that these clerics are being driven from church zoraustra and sonogog.
    Is it not fact fazal is a role model by weight world wide politician
    /religious pundits? The mulahs of subcontinent have a pride to reshape and amend islam from simple faith to a religion?
    They in india allowed to keep a slave girl to serve not only men of but also the guests of her master? Will not results of the coming election in 3 countries including pakistan have to fix the fate of these molvis?
    either every faction will contest jointly and will win major vote, or if when they will play the dog and bone game then who will save them from public?
    why the democrats are not keeping such bills which requires rationality in human rights for coming election? is not it visible that in coming parliament aaz & co will have a 2 3rd majority to amend every clause of code? shall not the coming parliament declare that who ever is in pakistan is muslim by the virtue of “deen” of holy books?
    Thanks usa for uniting them today to defend hafiz saeed and next day of polling they will beat him for not getting votes. Where is
    who will take sou moto as when they bark toward usa 2 collect bhatta in streets from crowed they gather? Shall we not Let the next parliament to decide to keep mr fazal or to finish such peoples fatty and fazool mulas who engaged in trade of human drugs barood and violates the rights of ladies ?
    Is it not right way to combat these evils, educate the generation next? Oh fazalo why u kept the turban of ferhon on ur head and talk about islam?Recommend

  • Abbas
    Apr 7, 2012 - 2:25AM

    My mother is the most important person in my life. She is an incredibly strong woman, an inspiration. I trust my household not to be violent against her but I can imagine there are millions of teenage boys and girls who see their mothers become victims of domestic violence. I don’t want to live in a world where people have to see that happen to their mothers. I would die.

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  • AAhmed
    Apr 7, 2012 - 2:50AM

    He is afraid he may not be able to beat his wife or treat her as cattle!

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  • Apr 7, 2012 - 3:18AM

    So Pakistanis have to listen to these ignorant religious fanatic mullhas,on the other hand Nawaz Lohar is against the bill relating to violence against women,these hypocrites should move to SAUDI ARABIA and leave Pakistanis alone.

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  • Shakky
    Apr 7, 2012 - 3:37AM

    The JUI-F is a fringe group – its a joke as an organization. It’s adherents and toadies can barely articulate their thoughts, much less mount convincing arguments in a parliament. It’s the PML-N which is blocking this bill, in its usual self serving manner.

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  • s shah
    Apr 7, 2012 - 4:09AM

    @ Abid: I agree with your reasoning.

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  • Harry Stone
    Apr 7, 2012 - 4:41AM

    One has to wonder just what is wrong with this nation. Is it islam? Is it PAKs? Or could it be the water? The developed world and much of the developing world looks at PAK as being a barbaric nation

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  • Raj
    Apr 7, 2012 - 6:54AM

    What is the stand of Hafeez Saeed on this Bill? Is he with Fazlur Rehman or against Fazlur Rehman? Both are scholars of Islam.

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  • Tufail Malik
    Apr 7, 2012 - 6:59AM

    Why does Maulana diesel fume on the rights of women?

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  • Mirza
    Apr 7, 2012 - 7:56AM

    @Abdul Maalik:
    I am still waiting for PTI to take a firm stand different from all other rightwing organizations. They have to differentiate themselves from the Sharifs, JUI and JI to offer a real change not just in words but actions. Having rightwing agenda, policies and politics like the others is only going to make PTI a “me too” party not a revolutionary change. Do they really think that they are offering anything revolutionary or totally different from the other similar parties?
    Regards,
    Mirza

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  • rukhsana rehman
    Apr 7, 2012 - 10:11AM

    Islam is against all kinds of violence and the Bill is also for protection of women against domestic violence . We have Islamic society ,therefore should not be hesitant to pass this bill.
    Beware ALLAH dislike Zullam.Its not the responsibility of only women parliamentarians to struggle for the women’s rights in the parliament ,it should be collective effort because women of Pakistan have right of vote,they cast vote for both gender.Now its for Pakistani women to decide whether they would like to be represented or not ?

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  • DevilHunterX
    Apr 7, 2012 - 11:14AM

    @Mirza:
    Has MQM & PPP taken a stand against right wing political parties too?

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  • Tony Singh
    Apr 7, 2012 - 3:38PM

    By the way what is this “western culture”? Is treating women as equal a western culture or basic humanity?

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  • anony
    Apr 7, 2012 - 8:20PM

    How narrow-minded of the majority opinion – to assume with no evidence that the JUI-F is pro-domestic violence.

    Those who TRULY CARE about women’s rights would have bothered to read the SPECIFIC CLAUSES against which JUI-F is opposing (it’s pretty clear they’re not anti-the whole bill). For all you know – the clauses might be designed to institutionalize further long term harm to women. What do you know? How easy it is to jump on the bandwagon against all things that are even remotely connected to Islam! It takes a lot more effort (and I guess Pakistanis are generally too lazy or too emotional to make that effort) to actually get to the heart of the matter with open-mindedness and long term understanding.

    These headlines were designed to make you fall into the trap of being anti-JUI-F and to make people think that Islamic-minded individuals are anti-women. And you fell in so fast. Congratulations Pakistan.

    Next stop: the western media, where we get yet more bashing, and then some “liberals” will “apologize” to the West, instead of coming clean and pointing out that the problem is not the “Islamists”, but the foreign elements that have spent hundreds of thousands (and by now probably millions) of dollars in expensive PR campaigns and foreign policy puppets to perpetrate the exact image of Islam and Muslims as desired. No, this is not negative thinking, it’s constructive thinking. Get out of your bubbles and face the real world so you can actually help Pakistan instead of contributing to her fractures.

    Here’s a first step, if you give a damn about women: READ THE BILL.
    And study some history of what happened to nations who followed each of those clauses (especially the controversial ones).

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  • Meher T
    Apr 10, 2012 - 12:11PM

    I wonder what PTI’s views are on this.

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