Pakistan's treatment of women fails Islam: Sayeeda Warsi

Published: June 24, 2011
According to the Guardian, the British minister says Pakistan fails to give women rights that were granted in Islam. PHOTO: PPI

According to the Guardian, the British minister says Pakistan fails to give women rights that were granted in Islam. PHOTO: PPI

According to British minister Sayeeda Warsi, Pakistan is failing to live up to one of the tenets of Islam which guarantees rights to all women, The Guardian reported on Thursday.

Warsi is a Conservative party co-chairman and minister without portfolio, who is the first Muslim to sit as a full member of the cabinet.

Lady Warsi said Pakistan is denying rights granted 1,400 years ago in the Quran.

Warsi, 40, whose father arrived in Britain from Pakistan in 1960, said in a Guardian interview that, in a “nutshell”, Pakistan is not living up to the ideals of its founding father, Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

Warsi said she had also raised concerns about the treatment of minorities in Pakistan. Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan’s only Christian minister, was shot dead in March after he called for the reform of blasphemy laws that impose the death sentence for insulting Islam.

Warsi said: “I said to them … let me talk to you about the rights of minorities, the protection of women and the concept of meritocracy. I gave real examples of how Islam embodies all of those values, and the question I put was: my country wasn’t formed in the name of Islam, but yours was; so why does my country embody the values of the faith that your country was formed on the basis of?”

Warsi said her heritage enabled her to speak out. “This was not the west arriving with an ideological perspective of women’s rights about to impose them on a nation. I understand this culture, I deeply understand the faith and the culture that is part of this nation … But what I don’t see is you in many ways having the very values upon which the nation was formed, the vision of the founder of Pakistan.”

Last week, a Thomson Reuters Foundation expert poll showed Pakistan as the third most dangerous country in the world for women.

According to the survey, those polled cited cultural, tribal and religious practices harmful to women, including acid attacks, child and forced marriage and punishment or retribution by stoning or other physical abuse.

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Reader Comments (23)

  • Hedgefunder
    Jun 24, 2011 - 1:18PM

    Time you go there and see if you can teach them, how women are treated in west!!
    As you should be the best example of that!!! Recommend

  • Aftab
    Jun 24, 2011 - 2:39PM

    I agree with her.Recommend

  • Arslan
    Jun 24, 2011 - 3:40PM

    And which Islamic country respects women ? Saudi Arabia or Iran ? Recommend

  • pappu
    Jun 24, 2011 - 4:35PM

    It is a fashion to comment on Pakistan these days. Did this ^&^&%& ever come to Pakistan and lived among the people she is talking about? Moreover, how about her use of official funds for personal purposes? Just because of some instances, she is holding all Pakistanis accountable.Recommend

  • Leila Rage
    Jun 24, 2011 - 4:40PM

    All true, but what are words? People need to DO something about the harassment and abuse suffered by Pakistani women.Recommend

  • Think
    Jun 24, 2011 - 6:46PM

    Only by reading the whole news item one can realize that how wrongly and misleadingly Guardian has summerized the interview of Sayeeda Warsi (i.e. the headline and first paragraph).
    She nowhere criticized Islam but the unislamic practices in Pakistani society against women.

    “Lady Warsi said Pakistan is denying rights granted 1,400 years ago in the Quran.”

    The civilized people become how uncivilized sometimes.Recommend

  • Jun 24, 2011 - 6:58PM

    Well said Baroness Warsi – Pakistanis need to be awoken to not just real Islam but their latent abilities to help develop their nationRecommend

  • T R Khan
    Jun 24, 2011 - 8:56PM

    Lady Warsi

    Pakistan’s treatment of minorities, children, prisoners, journalists, judges, ordinary citizens and Ahmadis fails Islam.Recommend

  • Moderate
    Jun 24, 2011 - 9:10PM

    True, women rights in our country are no way near to what Islam has taught.Recommend

  • Anwar Hasan
    Jun 24, 2011 - 10:08PM

    Dear Ms. Warsi: Everything in Pakistan fails Islam…cleanliness, morals, values, ethics, health, education, honesty, hard work…you name it.Recommend

  • ksa
    Jun 24, 2011 - 11:04PM

    Pardon me if my comment became so religious, but in view of topic i wanna mention that Last week i read that Erdogan said in Africa that Turkish Modern-Islam is an example for African muslim countries. I think the Modern-Islam Erdogan talking about is more close to the original Islam than Extreme-Islam in Pakistan. Well, I criticize both countries one as extra secular and other as extra extremist. But I think Pakistan if follow Turkish Islam excluding turning mosques into museums and dressing conflict we will be way better. However, sorry if em getting more religious, original Islam wont sunk anywhere bcz its unlike other religions (according to muslims believe) kept in Allah’s safety. We must try to live with minorities and serve each other with love. We have very small minority and we have so big issues, look at Malaysia where 62% are muslims and others are minority, similarly in Nigeria and different countries. Pakistan has very small issues, which become big bcz Politicians never think how to run the country, they get their seats why? If its really really really Islamic, then lets all politicians surrender and Leader of Faisal Mosque let to drive the country. Politicians should think on people’s conflicts too and condition of religion in country. Recommend

  • Hedgefunder
    Jun 25, 2011 - 12:39AM

    @Anwar Hasan:
    Well ! this lady is Baroness Warsi, and she has been bit economic with the truth in regards to her expenses claims in The House of Lords!!!
    So one can assume this is really a genetic issue!! As the politicians in Pakistan too, behave in even better fashion than this Lady !!
    however she is not an elected member of the Body, hence she is privileged as as not elected member!! Not that this woman would ever have a chance of being elected!!!!!Recommend

  • Usman
    Jun 25, 2011 - 8:54AM

    Well … whatelse would make it to the Headlines other than a Pakistani slashing out against Pakistan … This UK Bred British Woman has the right to comment against our Nation when she hasnt seen any part of it ?!Recommend

  • Abdullah
    Jun 25, 2011 - 1:33PM

    She needs to look at treatment of women in UK before coming and talking rubbish about Pakistan. She is simply a British foreign policy tool and to be treated as such!

    Here are the stats in UK for her to go back

    Around 21% of young girls experience some form of child sexual abuse.
    23% of women experience sexual assault as an adult
    5% of womenexperience rape
    The overall cost to society of sexual offences in 2003-04 was estimated at £8.5 billion
    40% of adults who are raped tell no one about it. 31% of children who are abused reach adulthood without having disclosed their abuse
    Only 15% of serious sexual offences against people 16 and over are reported to the police and of the rape offences that are reported, fewer than 6% result in an offender being convicted of this offence.

    Women do not get equal pay

    the ever rising single mothers

    mothers povertyRecommend

  • Architect
    Jun 26, 2011 - 12:37AM

    According to a news report on BBC One
    presented in 12 November 2007, there
    were 85,000 women raped in the UK in
    the previous year, equating to about
    230 cases every day. According to that
    report one of every 200 women in the
    UK was raped in 2006. The report also
    showed that only 800 persons were
    convicted in rape crimes that same

    So, who is failed there????Recommend

  • Jun 26, 2011 - 11:57AM

    There also a hope for women in Pakistan .but the statement is true .Recommend

  • Noman
    Jun 26, 2011 - 1:35PM

    Lady Warsi has said the very truth. Being of pakistani descent and being a muslim lady she has every right and also is duty bound to comment upon and criticize wrongs and exploitation in pakistan. As a human being and world citizen every person has a right and duty to criticize wrongs and exploitation any where in the world.
    Those criticizing her are taking a wrong aim. She has not said that women in UK are comparatively better, although being a law abiding and welfare state they certainly are, or that UK is a heaven for women. Giving statistics about women situation in UK or anywhere else does not negate her statement that Pakistani state and society is not delivering the Quranic rights, status, opportunities and protention to our women.
    May Allah bless her for speaking the truth and for her achievements.Recommend

  • Jun 26, 2011 - 7:24PM

    I am very happy with what Baroness Warsi has said. Pakistan needs to look into the teachings of Islam instead of listening to what this or that “scholar” has to say. I hope people appreciate what has been said and learn to better themselves. I also hope more and more people will speak out against the blasphemy law that has killed and is killing many people of Pakistan. Children are left orphans and women as widows due to such laws. I hope soon there is some reformation for the Pakistanis by reading and reflecting on the Holy Quran for themselves and following the beautiful, loving example of the Prophet of Islam, and soon Pakistan wakes up and starts “living up to the ideals of its founding father, Muhammad Ali Jinnah”Recommend

  • I Brown
    Jul 27, 2011 - 11:58PM

    Baroness Warsi supported the wearing of the Burkha in Britain .Not very consistent is she?


  • I Brown
    Jul 28, 2011 - 12:07AM

    Sayeeda Warsi needs to be talking to Pakistani muslim men in Britain about their behaviour .

    In late 2010 ,50 Pakistani muslims were arrested and charged with targeting white children for sexual exploitation and prostitution . This has been going on for decades but the police were afraid to act for fear of being accused of racism . Things are now changing .
    Pakistani muslim ganags have also been attacking and killing young white men .
    In one instance a 15 yr olf Scottish boy Kriss Donal was kidnapped at random from the street and bundled into car. He was stabbed tortured castrated and burned alive . The police said that when he was found there was evedence that he had crawled some distance while burning .

    We also have problems of honour killings , forced marriages, female genital mutilation
    since the increase in Pakistani immigration. These things were unheard of in Britain 30 years ago . .


  • Sarfraz Salik
    Jul 28, 2011 - 1:23PM

    There is a big confusion between “Culture” and “Religion”, There are tribes who are following there cultural laws religiously, This is true that Quran clearly describe “women rights in Islam”, but who is reading that and who is following it. And I think no religion allows to kill any innocient, but its happening. Which religion allows US to kill innocent people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Libya? We use our religions where we need to use it.. its like a “Spare wheel”, use it when needed and change it when you have better choice.


  • rehmat
    Jul 30, 2011 - 5:47AM

    You say”She nowhere criticized Islam but the unislamic practices in Pakistani society against women”.

    Correct and that is exactly what the title is. The title is indicating women in Pakistan do not get the rights that Quran grants them. Plese read again. The title is not at all misleading.

    She is trying to dissociate the impression that it is Islam that disempowers women by stating that certain countries (e.g. Pakistan) are not giving women the rights granted in Islam.


  • Anila Ansari
    Jul 30, 2011 - 11:02AM

    Warsi is not the “co-chairman” of the party, what about chair woman or chair person :)


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