Pakistan: Islamic Council halts legislation on Domestic Violence Bill

 The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) on Friday halted legislation on Domestic Violence Bill in 2020 saying the Islamic constitutional body needs to review and gave its findings to the Pakistan government.
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Pakistan: Islamic Council halts legislation on Domestic Violence Bill

Islamabad: The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) on Friday halted legislation on Domestic Violence Bill in 2020 saying the Islamic constitutional body needs to review and gave its findings to the Pakistan government.

They expressed reservations on several provisions of the bill. The opinion of the CII was conveyed to the Human Rights Ministry in the third week of June only after the bill generated controversy following its passage in the Senate, reported The News International.

The CII considered the bill in November 2020 after it was laid before the National Assembly (NA). The bill is presently with the NA Secretariat and is to be tabled again before the National Assembly to endorse the amendments made by the Senate and to make it an act.

After its passage in the Senate, the bill attracted serious controversy among many, including parliamentarians, political leaders, including Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) Amir Sirajul Haq, Senator Mushtaq Ahmad and Jamiat Ulema-e Islam of Fazal-ur-Rehman (JUI-F) Senator Atta-ur-Rehman, religious scholars and opinion-makers, who raised objections and dubbed it highly objectionable.

It was demanded by the Imran government, through the media and social media, to refer the bill to the CII because several of its provisions were considered against the teachings of Islam, reported The News International.

Following public pressure, Prime Minister Imran Khan's advisor on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan formally approached Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser and asked the latter to refer the bill to the CII.

Babar Awan wrote a letter on the direction of Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was also told about some 'un-Islamic provisions' included in the bill. Sources said that even on Tuesday, the PM in the cabinet meeting told his ministers that it is the right decision to refer the matter to the CII.

Although the CII has yet to receive any reference on the issue from the Speaker of the National Assembly, senior figures in the Council told The News International that the Human Rights Ministry has already been informed by the Council not to go ahead with legislation on the bill because of the constitutional body's reservations about several provisions.

The annual report of the State of Human Rights in Pakistan released by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) for the year 2020 has set alarm bells ringing over the plight of women in the country.

The HRCP report has once again painted a concerning picture of the women's rights situation in the country. The HRCP has highlighted forms of violence against women, which include sexual assault and domestic violence prevalent across the country.

The report also reiterated that the HRCP has registered an increase in domestic violence and even digital versions of such cases, which according to the report underlines "the increased vulnerability of women during the [COVID-19] pandemic."

"Many families realize too late that a divorced daughter is better than a dead daughter," exclaimed Khadija Siddiqi, a women's rights activist and gender-based violence survivor. (ANI)