The Council for Islamic Ideology (CII) conspicuously ignored the recommendations of its lone woman member while drafting its own version of the women protection bill.
The CII, the top constitutional body that advises parliament on whether or not a certain law is repugnant to Islam, recently rejected the Punjab Protection of Women Against Violence Act (PPWVA) and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s Domestic Violence Bill as ‘un-Islamic’.
Last week, the CII came up with its own women protection bill which proposed the right of a husband to ‘lightly beat’ his wife. The draft bill sparked a controversy and rights crusaders and NGOs came down hard on the CII.
In a letter addressed to CII’s high-ups, Dr Samia Raheel Qazi referred to the council’s proposals and expressed her reservations, saying her recommendations and opinion – given in CII’s two earlier meetings with regard to the PPWVA and K-P bill – were ignored.
She said being a female member of the CII, the media always asked her as to how much importance was given to her opinion. “I’ve always given a positive feedback to the media,” she added.
However, she said her opinion in the minutes of the council’s 202ndmeeting was mentioned briefly “which is unfair”. She said her opinion was never considered as if she had no representation on the council. She requested the council to mention the different paragraphs, where she had expressed her views.
Dr Qazi, who is the daughter of Jamaat-e-Islami’s late Ameer Qazi Hussain Ahmed, said the purpose of CII was to Islamise laws, so that people’s problems could be resolved.
“[However] public opinion about the CII is that it does not deliberate much on women’s issues, rather women’s problems have multiplied due to the council’s recommendations,” she said. “The CII should dispel this impression, and draft a better women protection law,” Dr Rahila said.
In the letter – Dr Qazi said cases of violence against women were increasing in society due to ‘unawareness of Islamic values’. “It is our responsibility as members of the CII to take steps for ensuring women’s protection,” she added.
She argued that NGOs and civil society had become champions of women’s rights, while the opinion of religious groups was being undermined. “There is a dire need for playing our role to protect women. We must stand against violence against women. We must raise our voice,” she added.
Dr Qazi confirmed that she had expressed her reservations during the CII meetings in which the PPWVA and K-P’s domestic violence bill were rejected.
She hoped her opinion would be considered when the members finalise the women protection bill in the upcoming meeting. Sources said the council has prepared a reply to the letter which will be forwarded to Dr Qazi soon.