Religious groups say law protecting women from abuse 'un-Islamic'

Published: March 15, 2016
JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and other leaders attend a joint meeting of religious organisations on Women Protection Bill in Lahore on March 15, 2016. PHOTO: NNI

JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and other leaders attend a joint meeting of religious organisations on Women Protection Bill in Lahore on March 15, 2016. PHOTO: NNI

LAHORE: An all-parties conference convened by Jamaat-e-Islami and attended by powerful religious groups asked the government on Tuesday to retract an “un-Islamic” law that gives unprecedented protection to female victims of violence.

The Women’s Protection Act, passed by Punjab Assembly last month, gives legal protection to women from domestic, psychological and sexual violence.

It also calls for the creation of a toll-free abuse reporting hot line, women’s shelters and district-level panels to investigate reports of abuse and mandates the use of GPS bracelets to keep track of offenders.

Fazl says PM has promised to tweak women’s law

Domestic abuse, economic discrimination and acid attacks made Pakistan the world’s third most dangerous country in the world for women, a 2011 Thomson Reuters Foundation expert poll showed.

But since the law’s passage, many conservative clerics and religious leaders have denounced it as being in conflict with the Muslim holy book, the Quran, and the constitution.

On Tuesday, representatives of more than 35 religious parties and groups came together for a conference called by the Jamaat-e-Islami party and condemned the women’s protection law as un-Islamic.

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“The controversial law to protect women was promulgated to accomplish the West’s agenda to destroy the family system in Pakistan,” read the joint declaration issued at the end of the concrescence. “This act … is redundant and would add to the miseries of women.”

The passage of the new law was welcomed by rights groups but spirits have since dampened as conservative voices have increasingly called for its retraction.

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On Monday, Fazlur Rehman, the chief of one of Pakistan’s largest religious parties, the Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam, said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had promised him at a meeting that he would address the reservations of religious parties.

“Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif heard our reservations against the Punjab Protection of Women Against Violence Act 2016. He promised to amend the law so that it doesn’t contravene the teachings of the holy Quran,” Maulana Fazl told journalists at his residence.

Punjab Assembly unanimously passes protection of women bill

Earlier this month, the Council of Islamic Ideology, a powerful Pakistani religious body that advises the government on the compatibility of laws with Islam, declared the Women’s Protection Act un-Islamic.

A prominent lawyer has also filed a petition in the top sharia court asking it to strike down the law.

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Reader Comments (19)

  • Asim Kamal
    Mar 15, 2016 - 6:12PM


  • Jack Caldor
    Mar 15, 2016 - 6:27PM

    A bunch of old men not agreeing to limit abuse of women. Maybe they should talk to their wife and daughters and ask for their opinion ! What if they were born a women instead of a man. Would they not want more protection in society. Recommend

  • Acorn Guts
    Mar 15, 2016 - 7:10PM

    Impressive show of force, shame that they only come out to prevent something good from happening though.Recommend

  • UFO
    Mar 15, 2016 - 7:51PM

    There are no women in the picture! They could not find a single woman to agree with them. Western conspiracy!!Recommend

  • Imran Bhatt
    Mar 15, 2016 - 7:59PM

    Does it not irk any Muslim that law making violence against women a criminal act is unislamic? Recommend

  • FaiselH
    Mar 15, 2016 - 8:54PM

    Have these group”s” ever rallied against the ever prevalent abuses in the society, particularly against children, with the same vigor ?
    They are only making noise to make their presence felt realizing their shrinking space.Recommend

  • Tauseef
    Mar 15, 2016 - 8:57PM

    Islamic history is different. I totally agree. Western laws should not apply to Islamic nations.Recommend

  • Travis L
    Mar 15, 2016 - 9:00PM

    As everybody says, the ideology needs reform.Recommend

  • Uzaib
    Mar 15, 2016 - 9:01PM

    Deport all these good-for-nothings to the great Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They will be shown all their religious rights be the sheikhsRecommend

  • SH
    Mar 15, 2016 - 9:58PM

    @Jack Caldor:
    Unfortunately, they will not mind if their wives and daughters are abused. They will call it a “norm” as something expected if you are a womanRecommend

  • Arsha
    Mar 15, 2016 - 10:10PM

    The worst part is that in that picture of the meeting there is not a single woman that can be seen. So like always there is a bunch of men deciding on women’s lives without any representation of women.

    And that’s how the cycle of oppression continues.Recommend

  • observer
    Mar 15, 2016 - 10:11PM

    @Jack Caldor:
    They are just going by the letter of Islamic laws and teachings. So why blame them?Recommend

  • Sodomite
    Mar 15, 2016 - 11:38PM

    Henry II in December 1170 was so frustrated over the contest with Archbishop Becket on supremacy of Canon Law versus Temporal Law, that he whispered to some attending Barons, “who will rid me of this meddlesome priest”. They promptly assassinated Becket in Canterbury Cathedral. Issue in Pakistan after 10 centuries is very similar. Will someone listen to the whispers of this nations citizens and do the needful please. Recommend

  • Ali S
    Mar 15, 2016 - 11:54PM

    When will we have a PM who will openly discredit these old men who are insecure of their manhood and want to keep Pakistan in the dark ages.Recommend

  • sabi
    Mar 16, 2016 - 1:59AM

    Have you made it a point to bash Islam without knowing anything at all.These Mullah are clearly doing against the teachings of Islam ,you know it,still so much prejudice for Islam.Have some mercy on you!Recommend

  • syed & syed
    Mar 16, 2016 - 2:44AM

    Keeping in view the prevailing situation of women in our society a more strict law is necessary. These ode old group have nothing to do except making hue and cry. They defy what the Holy book teaches Muslims and for that matter every human being. Some one stand and ask every person in that gathering if he understands what Holy Quranic verses teach us.Do they know the tafseer of Aayat. What the Holy Book said is coming true after 1400 yearsRecommend

  • Azi
    Mar 16, 2016 - 3:37AM

    These people ought to be shot. Keep keep these mulla influence out of law implementationRecommend

  • Kolsat
    Mar 16, 2016 - 5:03AM

    I was amazed to read this news item. On one hand these same religious leaders tell the world that Islam considers women as equal and then oppose the law protecting women from abuse. How can any religion permit abuse of anyone let alone women? There is something very wrong somewhere.Recommend

  • Kolsat
    Mar 16, 2016 - 5:13AM

    @Tauseef: So according to you abuse of anyone is ok. Stopping abuses in society is not a western concept all civilised societies should follow it. People who think such as you disgust me.Recommend

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