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

Party claims the bill undermines Islamic values and imposes western ones.

Zahid Gishkori April 06, 2012

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.


Meher T | 10 years ago | Reply

I wonder what PTI's views are on this.

anony | 10 years ago | Reply

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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