Pakistani men can ‘lightly beat’ women, Islamic council leader proposes

Pakistani men can ‘lightly beat’ women, Islamic council leader proposes. ¬†ISLAMABAD, The Pakistani Islamic council’s leader has proposed that husbands should be allowed to “lightly beat” their wives as discipline.

Women wait in line to cast their vote in the-the local body election in the Pakistani border town of Chaman, near the Afghanistan border, December 7, 2013. Women earned the right to vote in 1947 but a leader with the Council of Ismlamic Ideology has proposing restrictions for women, but not the right to vote. Photo by Matiullah/UPI | License Photo

Mohammad Khan Sheerani’s proposed bill says light beating is acceptable to instill fear, including the use of a small stick. But forceful beating is not allowed.

The 75-page proposal is in response to the rejected Punjab Women Protection bill for abused women

An official with the Council of Islamic Ideology confirmed the proposal to The Washington Post, but said changes could still be made before it is forwarded to lawmakers for review.

Speaking to reporters, Sherani said a “light beating” should be a last resort.

“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,” Sherani said, according to Pakistan’s Express-Tribune newspaper.

If all else fails, he added, “hit her with light things like handkerchief, a hat or a turban, but do not hit her on the face or private parts.”

The Council of Islamic Ideology, which is made up of Islamic clerics and scholars, advises the Pakistani legislature whether laws are in line with the teachings of Islam.

Other aspects of the bill include:

— Beating if a woman does not wear a hijab, if she interacts with strangers, speaks too loudly or gives others cash without her husband’s permission.

— Banning certain activities, including women fighting in wars and receiving foreign officials and state guests.

— Allowing women to participate in politics and become judges but not participate in combat missions.

— Prohibiting birth control pills without asking their husbands and requiring breastfeeding for two years.

Farzana Bari, human rights activist and academic at Quaid-i-Azam University, said the bill is unconstitutional.

“Allowing a husband to beat his wife, in any way, is against Pakistan’s Constitution and the international laws and treaties that Pakistan has signed and is bound by,” Barfi said to “This Council is a burden on the Pakistani taxpayer and bringing a bad name to Muslims throughout the world.”

Pakistani women have voted since 1947, the same year Pakistan was partitioned from India. In 1988, the late Benazir Bhutto became prime minister, the first woman to become a democratically elected head of any Muslim nation in the world.

Unlike in Saudi Arabia, Pakistani women can drive and they not restricted in what they can wear.

By Allen Cone