Monday, September 28, 2009

Pakistan: Protecting Women

From Zubeida Mustafa @ Dawn:
The Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act 2009 adopted by the National Assembly in August won plaudits from women and human rights activists alike. ‘Landmark’, ‘milestone’, ‘victory for civil society’ and other such laudatory terms were lavished on it. Having been adopted unanimously, which is creditable given that it was a private member bill, the bill was a positive step in a society where women suffer the most violence. In fact violence from spouses is very often justified by conservative and orthodox elements as sanctioned by Islam.

Hence the euphoria. The sole voice of dissent came from the Council of Islamic Ideology which termed the legislation ‘ambiguous and containing few reforms’. It also criticised the draft on the ground that it would in its present form ‘fan unending family feuds and push divorce rates up’. Many saw this as a perverted form of reasoning and the National Commission on the Status of Women’s spirited response refuting the CII’s arguments is most welcome. One hopes that the Ideology Council will appreciate what the NCSW has to say. The Senate should not be deterred by the religious scholars’ objections which are not very convincing. The Senate has yet to adopt the bill which will then become law after it is signed by the president.

No comments: