LAHORE: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has strongly condemned the retrogressive move by the Council of Islamic Ideology to roll back the Muslim family laws and called upon the government to stand fast in defence of women’s rights.
In a statement issued here on Wednesday, the commission said, “At a time when the state is trying to deal with a grave threat from extremists posing as religious soldiers and the humanitarian challenges in Thar, Maulana Shirani, the controversial head of the Council of Islamic Ideology, has chosen to fire a broadside at the disadvantaged women of the country. And this right on the morrow of the worldwide celebration of the International Women’s Day. The edict aimed at giving parents/guardians a licence to give away little girls in marriage and freeing men of the need to secure the permission of their first wives before admitting second wives to their harems is nothing short of a vicious attack on women’s and girls’ fundamental rights.”
The commission said that the assumptions underlying the suggestions made by Maulana Shirani and his associates were open to challenge not only on the ground of conflict with the constitution of Pakistan and universal human rights but also for being violative of the spirit of the religion these honourable men claim to follow.
“The people have a right to know as to what has made the CII, which had claimed to have completed its scrutiny of all laws quite some time ago, discover flaws in the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance of 1961 at this particular moment.”
The statement added, “Quite obviously Maulana Shirani wishes to open a new front against women and to reinforce the militants’ siege of the state. In doing so, he has furnished a good reason for a full-scale review of the CII’s functions, it powers, and the justification for its existence.”
It said that the government must not yield to the CII manoeuvre; otherwise, it would fail in its duly to protect the rights of women, and also undermine its own defences against the extremists’ assault on the state’s democratic foundations.
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