Pakistani Islamic Council leader Mohammad Khan Sheerani is pushing for a bill that would allow husbands to beat their wives – as long as the beating is “light.”
Sheerani suggests using objects like small sticks, turbans, and hats. “But do not hit her on the face or private parts,” he adds.
Pakistani women enjoy more freedom than women living in countries like Saudi Arabia (they can vote and drive), but Sheerani’s proposal would considerably shorten that leash.
“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,” Sheerani said to a local newspaper.
Sheerani’s 75-page legislation, which is a response to the rejection of the Punjab Women Protection bill for abused women, suggests instances in which beating one’s wife is appropriate:
• If she interacts with strangers
• If she speaks too loudly
• If she gives cash to others (without husband’s permission)
• If she does not wear a hijab
If passed, the bill will also prevent women from receiving foreign officials, fighting in wars, and participating in combat missions. It will mandate breastfeeding for two years after birth and prohibit a woman from taking birth control without her husband’s permission.
Human rights activist Farzana Bari has made a stand to declare the proposal 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,” she argues. “This Council is a burden on the Pakistani taxpayer and bringing a bad name to Muslims throughout the world.”
Pakistan, in which child and forced marriages are common, currently appears on the list of the 10 most dangerous countries for women. Pakistani women face acid attacks and stoning for “bad behavior,” and according to the Pakistan’s Human Righs Commission, more than 1,000 women and girls are sacrificed as “honor killings” each year. Ninety percent face domestic violence.
Editor’s Commentary: Yet another example of how alien this culture can be to Americans.