ISLAMABAD: A landmark bill seeking to deter all forms of domestic violence against women has reached a serious deadlock following stiff resistance by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F). Claiming that the bill undermines Islamic values, the party announced on Friday it would fight “tooth and nail” against it. […]
Fazlur Rehman [JUI-F chief] 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.
Read the rest at the source.
Regardless of how absolutely depressing the quotes in this article are, it’s a shame Pakistan’s own papers seem to be oversimplifying the issue into a human rights vs. religion conflict. It’s much more than that — there’s elements of nationalism in the midst of accusations that women’s rights activists are being backed by the US, and then there’s the fact that bill is pretty much a copy of an identical law passed by India. Some also oppose the bill because they argue that it’s poorly written, vague, and could present legal issues. The vast majority of opposition I’ve seen, however, undoubtedly stems from deeply embedded sexism and religious fundamentalism. From another Tribune article:
Zakia Abid of the JUI-F said that she and the other women members are literate and educated but they don’t want the freedom associated with this bill as it will “abolish the sanctity of marriage and the dominance of the husband”.
When asked what “dominance of the husband” means when he is violent, she answered that domestic violence usually begins when the wife tries to become the head of the household. However, she noted that sometimes men act out of impulse and not reason, and then only can they be brought to justice by the peaceful teachings of Islam. “This bill tries to bring these issues into the courtroom, which will be inefficient and disruptive for society.”
Outrageous. (And interestingly, not too far from statements made by American religious extremists — Michelle Bachmann, I’m looking at you)
Pakistani lawmakers will hold a meeting over the issue on Monday.