One of Pakistan’s powerful governing bodies, the Council of Islamic Ideology, has put together a 160-page draft that recommends that husbands should be able to beat their wives “lightly” if they decline sex or refuse to wear their chose of clothes.
The Council of Islamic Ideology’s (CII) chairman, Muhammad Kahn Sherani, told the Express-Tribune newspaper: “If you want her to mend her ways, you should first advise her … If she refuses, stop talking to her … stop sharing a bed with her, and if things do not change, get a bit strict.”
A “bit strict,” he clarified, would include “(hitting) her with light things like handkerchief, a hat or a turban, but do not hit her on the face or private parts.”
The council’s draft proposal has met with a furious response in Pakistan, including calls for the CII to be disbanded. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said in a statement: “As much as the HRCP wanted not to dignify with any comment the ridiculous CII recommendations regarding ‘light beating’ of women, the commission thinks it is imperative that every right-respecting person must condemn such counsel unreservedly. The irony of calling the measures women protection should not be lost on anyone.”
The Council of Islamic Ideology advises Pakistan’s government and lawmakers on Islamic issues. Its proposals are recommendations, and not legally enforced.
The council drafted the controversial proposal in response to The Women’s Protection Act, enacted in the province of Punjab in February, which is intended to improve legal protection to women from domestic, psychological and sexual violence.
The CII criticized the Women’s Protection Act as being “un-Islamic”. Its alternative draft proposal, while suggesting some women’s rights be enshrined in law, also says: “A husband should be allowed to lightly beat his wife if she defies his commands and refuses to dress up as per his desires; turns down demand for intercourse without any religious excuse; or does not take bath after intercourse or menstrual periods.”
The proposal also suggests interacting with strangers not wearing a hijab and speaking too loudly among other potential activities that might incur a light beating, the Express Tribune reports.
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