Domestic Violence Bill: Clerics demand review of ‘controversial’ clauses

Published: April 16, 2012

Will not let govt legalise anti-Islamic values in name of women emancipation, says Wafaq-ul-Madaris Al-Arabia. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: Clerics at Wafaq-ul-Madaris Al-Arabia Pakistan have demanded a ‘review’ of the Domestic Violence Bill from the government, so that a consensus can be achieved on the law before it is presented to the parliament.

According to a statement from the seminary’s clerics, certain controversial clauses of the bill might destroy the family structure of the Muslim community.

“We cannot let the government legalise anti-Islamic values in the name of the so-called women emancipation,” asserted Qari Hanif Jalandhry, Nazim-e-Aala of the Islamabad chapter of Wafaq-ul-Madaris Al-Arabia.

The statement from the seminary comes at a time when Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) has already asked the government not to pursue the current form of the legislation.

According to the JUI-F, it promotes the infusion of ‘Western cultural values’ in Pakistani society.

“The government is bent on ruining Islamic values and traditions by introducing such laws. A mother’s lap is the primary institute for educating the child. However, some elements are trying to ruin that beautiful relationship through a legal cover.”

“We will not tolerate anyone undermining values of Sufism,” the statement adds.

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Reader Comments (54)

  • feroze
    Apr 16, 2012 - 2:12PM

    What a load of crock!! It seems the media has become the mouth piece for such right wing groups who have no representation in Parliament because the people haven’t elected them. The reason for that is we don’t want such misfits of society in our government. Wish the media would get the hint too and stop giving these people the coverage they are craving!

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  • Sadia
    Apr 16, 2012 - 2:23PM

    ‘They complained that the government’s move to get pass such a bill could destroy family structure of the Muslim community.’

    so apparently violence is the only means to preserve ‘family structure of the Muslim community’?

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  • Sadia
    Apr 16, 2012 - 2:25PM

    “We will cut those feet which are heading to undermine Sufism,”

    can these people speak any language other than that of violence???

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  • raw is war
    Apr 16, 2012 - 2:31PM

    welcome to Pakistan.

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  • Hassan K Bajwa
    Apr 16, 2012 - 2:33PM

    What the honorable Nazim-e-aala Qari Hanif Jalandry meant to say was they they will not accept ANYTHING in the name of women’s emancipation.

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  • Saad Anwar
    Apr 16, 2012 - 2:38PM

    Not beating up your wives is not a western or yahodi sazish. To not get tortured by your husband is a basic human right.

    Asking men not to hit women is now anti-Islamic ?

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  • Zahid Khan
    Apr 16, 2012 - 2:42PM

    Why are the mauvlis so in favour of hitting women? This whole episode has clearly shown to everyone the true face of the religious fanatics. They are aggressively protecting a man’s right to hit his wife, to assault his wife.

    No wonder we have so much violence against women in our society. The violence against women has the support and protection from the maulvis and ulema. They are campaigning strongly for a man’s right to hit and abuse his wife.

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  • MarkH
    Apr 16, 2012 - 2:44PM

    They still have to go to the authorities afterwards for it to work. Are you worried that women don’t exactly see the freedom and respect you proclaim they have that is supposedly so obvious?

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  • SaQiB
    Apr 16, 2012 - 2:49PM

    U can never expect anything islamic from this government!

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  • Apr 16, 2012 - 2:52PM

    If the Govt is serious in its efforts to implement the bill, then let the opponents air their grievances. I for one do not yet have any information what troubles the opponents (perhaps I have missed it) – how exactly is it undermining Islamic values? Let them come up with their arguments and then the Govt can provide counter arguments religion wise. Do not just sit on your posterior and delay the implementation of a very important piece of legislative work.

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  • Straight Fire
    Apr 16, 2012 - 2:54PM

    Let me tell you the reality … This bill is going to be dumped soon

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  • Apr 16, 2012 - 2:54PM

    Right & women may continue to die & be Tortured this is what ur Islam says .
    Kindly read the Holy Quran first & try to Understand it before you losers make an uneducated statement

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  • R.A
    Apr 16, 2012 - 3:18PM

    A coflict between BEARDS AND NO BEARDS
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  • Zaid
    Apr 16, 2012 - 3:39PM

    Conspiracy by CIA.

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  • Parvez
    Apr 16, 2012 - 3:54PM

    ….and a maulvi’s killing of an 80 year old man who was lawfully acquitted by the court of blasphemy charges is acceptable ??? Why have these self righteous clerics not raised their voice against this atrocity ???

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  • Apr 16, 2012 - 3:56PM

    A mother’s lap is the primary institute for educating the child. However, some elements are trying to ruin that beautiful relationship through a legal cover.

    What? Are we both talking about the same bill here? The one about preventing domestic abuse?

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  • Straight Fire
    Apr 16, 2012 - 4:11PM

    ET don’t provoke those who are not answerable to anyone …

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  • Mogambo
    Apr 16, 2012 - 4:25PM

    And pakistan is should to be a democratic and secular country. How wrong.

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  • AG
    Apr 16, 2012 - 4:39PM

    The quality of journalism in Pakistan can be judged from the fact that I have been following this domestic violence bill for several weeks but I still do not know exactly what the bill contains and which portions are being criticized.

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  • Raza
    Apr 16, 2012 - 4:41PM

    I have an issue with the headline. These ignorant people should not be called ‘clerics’. They’re just politicians using the name of our great religion for their own vested interests and political gains. Recommend

  • Khan
    Apr 16, 2012 - 4:42PM

    So now these Clerics will tell our elected parliamentarian what law to pass or not .. Millions of people queue for hours to elect our representative who can make laws in the parliament but they are held hostages but few right wing politicians and these mullahs who’s job is to run their masjids not our country.
    It was a dictator who mixed religion with government affairs, we want religion to be our personal matter and is not meant to be imposed forcefully upon us .. If that was the case we would have voted Mullahs in to the government who hardly gets half a dozen seats. Despite having millions of people behind these politicians, they bend over to these few illiterate hypocrites.

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  • Rameez
    Apr 16, 2012 - 4:43PM

    hay Mullahs, just want to know what do you think about the fashion shows taking place around PAK, dont u think thats un-islamic?. if women are allowed to wear western style clothing at fashion shows then why on earth are you lot preventing the approval of this bill. Mullahs are best suited at mosques and teach young kids true meaning of Islam. if this bill is dumped then our head should be down in shame as Pakistani. i mentioned it before and il say it again, Islamic parities should not be part of main stream politics. COMON PAKISTAN GROW UP AND WAKE UP. we need some educated leaders who can lead Pakistan into a economy boom, we need who got good understanding of modern day trend, we dont need stone old Mullahs.

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  • Ali
    Apr 16, 2012 - 4:45PM

    Can someone please post the entire excerpt of the bill? ET has been posting news but no one has reported the actual clauses which are objectionable so that readers see and judge. This is just promoting polarisation yet again. And for the record I am not taking any side here

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  • Sam
    Apr 16, 2012 - 4:53PM

    Clerics should come up with specific details so those can be discussed. General statements like these will delay the inevitable.

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  • Kashif
    Apr 16, 2012 - 4:58PM

    Nothing practical in pakistan.
    Women protection bill, Huqooq e niwa etc will not end Qaro Qari, Burning women, humilation of women associating with some etc…….
    Its all point scoring for government and NGO’s and a something to show to the world..Recommend

  • SH
    Apr 16, 2012 - 5:03PM

    No where does the Quran allow violence against women. How is a law that protects women against frustrated, abusive men anti-Islamic? Furthermore, how is it specifically a western notion, considering Islam is credited to have brought some degree of emancipation and security to the women of Arabia at the time? Our wife-beating mullahs better yield a little lest they soon end up on the wrong side of their scorned women-folk!

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  • Apr 16, 2012 - 5:11PM

    //“We will not tolerate anyone undermining values of Sufism,” the statement adds…

    Irony. IronY. IRONY.

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  • ouch
    Apr 16, 2012 - 5:39PM

    has anybody seen the Islamic laws on these issues or criticizing right-wing point of view just because the word “Islamic” gives them kicks??

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  • alicia
    Apr 16, 2012 - 5:49PM

    I want to read the bill. Can ET publish a report on its contents?

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  • Mir
    Apr 16, 2012 - 6:22PM

    Ladies you have to bear torture and harrasment for just 100 more years.s

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  • Balma
    Apr 16, 2012 - 6:42PM

    First of all, why would a teachers’ association interfere in the formulation of laws that has nothing to do with schools or education?

    Second, and this points to the pathetic level of journalism in this ocuntry, I am still not sure what rules and regulations, and modifications, are at issue.
    Pakistani media, including American sponsored Tribune – the shaper of hearts and minds accroding to Bush’s thoughts – could do better by providing a list of clauses that are considered controversial in the proposed bill?

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  • Random
    Apr 16, 2012 - 6:50PM

    would ET please elaborate what controversial clauses do the mullah’s oppose. Secondly how is he linking sufism to domestic abuse,..

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  • gp65
    Apr 16, 2012 - 6:53PM

    In the past people have always said that Islam is incorrectly represented in Western media. IF people truly understood Islam then they would realize it is supposed to empower women. If that is the case then can these people explain what specific Quranic clauses are inconsistent with the domestic abuse bill?

    Secondly, people threaten violence to anyone who undermines Sufi values. Do they even understand that Sufism was NON-violent? It is they who re undermining Sufi values by their violent threats.

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  • Sinclair
    Apr 16, 2012 - 7:14PM

    I think one of the major sticking points of this bill, which I heard discussed on one of Pakistan’s talk shows, was about allegations made without evidence. If a woman claims her husband causes her physical/mental agony, and there is no real evidence, how can the law authority proceed? This is a value judgment that the parliament makes and courts give their opinions on (as and when the laws get challenged), though in most countries the police take the complaint on face value and make arrests. Dowry laws in India are so harsh, a simple allegation from a woman can land the entire family (husband, father and mother in law) in jail. This has been misused, but the law has not been changed as of yet. Even in case of domestic violence, a woman’s complaint will cause serious problems for the husband. If the NCW (National Commission for Women) gets involved, the husband is also guaranteed to get a lot of publicity. I am sure there are other issues with the domestic violence bill which people find troubling, but this was one of them. I think at least on this, the parliament should take the woman’s side.

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  • Cautious
    Apr 16, 2012 - 7:33PM

    What exactly is in this bill that goes against your religion? Beating up and otherwise abusing your spouse and children is considered cowardly everywhere in the World – what makes Pakistan different? People are born with basic rights – they are not bestowed by Clerics. It’s time for Pakistan to join the 21st century.

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  • Its (still) Econonmy Stupid
    Apr 16, 2012 - 7:43PM

    In democracy governments identify stakeholders and communicate with them regarding the upcoming bills and seek consensus on the draft bill. In case of family related bills women’s group and religious groups can be stakeholders and they should be consulted six months ahead of bill to be presented in the parliament. By the time it reaches parliament every one should be on board. Either government dropped the ball or these people are making unreasonable demand. In west a domestic violence 911 call is a top priority calls. The reason for it is that in the past in few cases women called for help and by the time police arrived husband had already killed the wife, to prevent this kind of tragedy police arrives in a heart beat. At the same time women are not allowed to withdraw the complaint till a judge allows her to withdraw to prevent unnecessary pressure on her to withdraw the complaint. Will there be women who will abuse the law sure but the social costs of false complaints are usually very high to her. Visit to emergency ward to seek medical help is the best evidence.
    Are these religious leaders seeking religious cover to abuse women or they do not trust the judges to deal with the issue. If they are so smart how come they are not coming up with alternatives or this is oppose for the sake of opposing and to get fifteen minutes of fame.

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  • gp65
    Apr 16, 2012 - 8:05PM

    @Sinclair: “Dowry laws in India are so harsh, a simple allegation from a woman can land the entire family (husband, father and mother in law) in jail. This has been misused, but the law has not been changed as of yet. “

    This is a true statement that there probably ARE some manipulative women who abuse the power that these laws give them. Hopefully in case where the husband, in laws are innocent, the courts wil rule accordingly but the damage done by the case itself is difficult to undo. But given the wide prevalence of dowry related domestic violence and deaths, if there has to be a significant change in the social mindset, this is a pice that will have to be paid.

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  • Niamat
    Apr 16, 2012 - 8:08PM

    All unislamic clauses should be removed from the bill and it should be pass unanimously.

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  • Sinclair
    Apr 16, 2012 - 8:18PM

    @gp65

    I completely agree, and I am on the woman’s side on this one too. I have also seen actual misuse of this law happen at very close quarters. Basically, the stigma associated with jail time causes more harm than a day spent in jail for the falsely accused. That has to go. The law should remain as is.

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  • Khan
    Apr 16, 2012 - 8:30PM

    @PostMan:

    If the Govt is serious in its efforts
    to implement the bill, then let the
    opponents air their grievances.

    We have a parliament where laws are passed on majority votes .. the members are all elected and each has a backing of thousands of voters.
    Why should we listen to some mullah representing no one but just a few dozen or hundred misguided illiterate people instead of millions of Pakistanis who have voted for their representatives? All laws are passed after debate in the Parliament House.
    If this guy or JUI-F doesn’t agree with this law .. they can consult voters and form their own government if they get enough seats to implement their own views.

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  • Truth From Pakistan
    Apr 16, 2012 - 8:35PM

    The beautiful status Islam gives to a women cannot be matched by any other philosophy or religion to my knowledge. Yet unfortunately, many women did not get it in its true spirits. It could be that the interpretation of Islamic codes were misunderstood and misrepresented……unintentionally or deliberately, only Allah knows. May people be blessed with true wisdom to see the beauty of Islam and be a part of bringing positive changes than staying cruel and stubborn. Its a sad moment !

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  • Yaida M
    Apr 16, 2012 - 8:47PM

    Though I am a girl myself, beating the wife when she is in the wrong is an unalienable part of Islam. The government has no right to change Islamic laws. In fact, there are detailed instructions on how to hit the wife. For example, the husband should never hit the wife in the face etc etc.

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  • Sinclair
    Apr 16, 2012 - 8:56PM

    @Yaida M

    There is a technical term for it. Stockholm syndrome.

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  • Falcon
    Apr 16, 2012 - 9:19PM

    @gp65:
    Completely agree with you, specially regarding anti-violence stance of Sufism.

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  • kaalchakra
    Apr 16, 2012 - 9:45PM

    Yaida M.

    These people who claim to be Muslims and know nothing of Islam will have to answer to Allah why they tried to make up their own ‘Islam’. One thing we can be sure of – these people will NEVER have any big impact in Pakistan. These are INTERNET KE SHER, ASL KE CHOOHE.

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  • kaalchakra
    Apr 16, 2012 - 9:53PM

    The beauty of Islam for Women

    Please understand that beating a wife when she is in the wrong, when she should welcome discipline so she can be a more faithful wife, when it is the duty of her husband to show her the way is NOT anti-woman! It is the most beautiful side of the equality between man and woman. Would we have woman lead themselves astray, destroy the society and family, and hurt themselves? Islam understands everything perfectly and balances ALL aspects. That is the best form of women’s empowerment!

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  • Free Thinker
    Apr 16, 2012 - 10:49PM

    @kaalchakra:
    “Please understand that beating a wife when she is in the wrong, when she should welcome discipline so she can be a more faithful wife, when it is the duty of her husband to show her the way is NOT anti-woman!”

    Waooh! What a logic! You mean to say that it would be decided by the husband as to what is right and what is wrong and if in husband’s opinion, his wife is wrong, he is allowed to beat her and this is not anti-woman.

    Applying the same logic what if I say “beating a husband when he is wrong, when he should welcome discipline so he can be a more faithful husband, when it is the duty of his wife to show him the way is NOT anti-man!”. Would it be OK for you?

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  • gp65
    Apr 16, 2012 - 10:52PM

    kaalchakra says: “Please understand that beating a wife when she is in the wrong, when she should welcome discipline so she can be a more faithful wife, when it is the duty of her husband to show her the way is NOT anti-woman! It is the most beautiful side of the equality between man and woman.”

    I am not a Muslim but I have many Muslim friends whose faith I respect. Personally I find it difficult to believe that Islam sanctions beating a woman as kaalchakra says and that such beating should be consdiered as women’s empowerment. Can some of my more reasonable fellow surfers who do practice the Islam, provide clarification?

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  • Martx
    Apr 17, 2012 - 2:43AM

    The use of “Islam” by pseudo-clerics is the biggest obstacle in protection of human rights in pakistan.

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  • Apr 17, 2012 - 8:11AM

    A Democratic Nation can only pass laws if they don’t go against established Religion and cultural values.

    For example India passed so many laws against so many evils in its society. Because at the end nobody could quote anything from the Hindu Religious scriptures to justify that evil; it went against everything the Vedas said.

    But, Pakistan cannot do the same with Women’s protection because it goes against its majority Religion.

    I pity the women of Pakistan, who can never be covered legally.

    If you think otherwise, then go up to your local mullah and debate and come. I am sure he will out quote the Quran than you.

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  • Usman
    Apr 17, 2012 - 8:39AM

    What are the CONTROVERSIAL clauses ??

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  • Apr 17, 2012 - 9:37AM

    @Khan: ‘Why should we listen to some mullah representing no one but just a few dozen.. All laws are passed after debate in the Parliament House.
    Totally agree. But what I see missing is the response to these clerics. The proponents are totally numb. Whenever a hue and cry is raised by clerics.. everyone from the Govt gets quiet. Why? They do not have answers to them? I say lets call the clerics bluff. Your point is all important… the parliament made them so they should put forth arguments in favour. Islam should not be let hostage to these folks.

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  • Wisal Khan
    Apr 17, 2012 - 12:28PM

    All the persons who have commented above are not neutral. They are at one or other extreme. Unless and until you adopt a balance view of anything , you cannot achieve a right decision. First of all let me point out; who has read Domestic violence bill. Neither the Molana nor the commentators. Who is aware about Islam; are the commentators such knowlegeable persons; I doubt so as is evident from their comments.

    Get a balance view read, read and read.

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  • Free Thinker
    Apr 17, 2012 - 2:22PM

    @ Wisal Khan “Who is aware about Islam; are the commentators such knowlegeable persons; I doubt so as is evident from their comments.”
    We would like to listen from you. In stead of ad hominem, it would be appropriate to correct and englighten us and give us a balance view.Recommend

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