Stories about CII

This is how women made Pakistan proud in 2016

Many of 2016’s most notable moments were mostly unfortunate, unchecked events of toxic masculinity. From the horrifying tragedy that was Qandeel Baloch’s senseless murder, to Donald Trump’s self-described ‘locker room talk’, and the Council of Islamic Ideology’s (CII) absurd suggestion that ‘lightly beating’ one’s wife ‘as needed’ is permissible, most of us are happy to be saying goodbye to a year riddled with examples of the negative impact rigid gender roles can have on culture. But 2016 also happens to have been quite the year for some Pakistani women. Below is just a handful of a large number of Pakistani women ...

Read Full Post

The Council of Islamic Ideology was never meant to be a permanent body, so why does it still exist?

The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) is a constitutional body established under Article 228 of the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973. Given its increasingly obnoxious prescriptions, many in Pakistan are beginning to wonder if it is a good idea to have it in the first place. To this end the Senate Committee on Human Rights has recommended its disbanding recently. There is merit in this recommendation because the CII was never supposed to be a permanent body. It was supposed to give its final report within seven years of its appointment. That final report was presented in December 1996 and ...

Read Full Post

Dear PEMRA, why can’t Hamza Ali Abbasi talk about the plight of Ahmadis without being threatened or banned?

Pakistan is the land of topsy-turvy, where the righteous are punished and the wrongdoers thrive. In what is a thoroughly perplexing decision, The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) imposed a ban on Hamza Ali Abbasi’s Ramazan program. What was his crime? To open a dialog on his show on the plight of one of the most viciously persecuted minorities in Pakistan, the Ahmadis. Not a few days ago, Hamza Ali Abbasi asked why Ahmadis were treated so poorly in the country and why we were so afraid to talk about it: “The community is being suppressed but if you talk about it, ...

Read Full Post

Women only watch football to check men out, yup, the secret is out!

Another fatwa about women has emerged from the glorious Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a fatwa that declares the innocent enjoyment of a football match to be haram for women. After all, with the infamous wife-beating bill courtesy of the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), Pakistan, KSA could hardly stand to be left behind. Of course they’ve graduated from wife-beating to wife-eating so now it’s on to figuratively invading the privacy of people’s homes and telling them what to watch on TV. Of course, it’s not okay for the civil society or legal bodies to figuratively invade homes, or work-places, or ...

Read Full Post

She came to me for a contraceptive but her husband dragged her away

It was a few years ago when a 40/41-year-old mother of five children (her eldest in his late teens) came to me asking for contraception. After we discussed the pros and cons of the various contraceptives available, she decided to pick a pill that was appropriate for her age. Half an hour later, her husband, a man in his early 60s, stormed into my clinic, flashed me the same medication in his hand and asked, “What is this?” “This is a medication for women,” I said. “Is this a contraceptive?” “Yes.” He threw it in the dustbin and warned me that if I ever dared ...

Read Full Post

The dirty old men of Pakistan

In the world we live in, there is no dearth of pious men who believe that most of the world’s problems can be fixed by giving their women a little thrashing. And this business of a man’s God-given right to give a woman a little thrashing has brought together all of Pakistan’s pious men. A few weeks ago, Pakistan’s largest province passed a new law called the Punjab Protection of Women Against Violence Act. The law institutes radical measures that say a husband can’t beat his wife, and if he does he will face criminal charges and possibly even eviction from ...

Read Full Post

What would Barbie be like if she were to come to CII’s Pakistan?

Let’s open a can of worms (an interesting exercise if indulged in occasionally) and wonder what it would be like if Barbie (of Ken fame) came to Pakistan as a franchise. Since a non-Muslim woman before being co-opted into a Muslim family must become Muslim and change her name, Barbie, before being launched in Pakistan must do the same. I speak of Pakistan which rejoices in the name ‘The Islamic Republic of Pakistan’ as of a family, however dysfunctional, and of Barbie as a sort of Qaum ki bahoo, (the nation’s daughter-in-law) which puts Sania Mirza’s nose out of joint. It’s ...

Read Full Post

The perfect world for CII members would be one without women

I do not know under whose leadership the body of persons known as the Council of Islamic Ideology was formed. A few days back it recommended the banning of paper money and reversion to coins, as was the practice in the 7th century. I wonder why they didn’t ask the government to ban cars and trucks, and ask for donkey and camel carts to be used for transportation instead. Or that all high rise buildings should be demolished and replaced with huts and hovels! But their recent proposals to “protect” our women prove that these worthies are obsessed with women. ...

Read Full Post

Who thought Nawaz Sharif would turn out to be a bigger liberal than Imran Khan?

Is this really Nawaz Sharif? The religious-right choked on their tea when Nawaz Sharif shared his vision of a more ‘liberal’ Pakistan during a speech to the international business community in late 2015. Some thought he misspoke. Others felt he was pandering. When hours later, in response to the anger, the Pakistani prime minister clarified his statement, it seemed like Nawaz was caving in. But, no. Over the course of his leadership, it has become clear that rather than deep frying, Nawaz Sharif believes in slow roasting a chicken. In this hyperventilating country, perhaps this is what Pakistan needs. Case in point: When Imran Khan ...

Read Full Post

In Pakistan, we have 13-year-old rape victims

The terrible news of a 13-year-old girl, raped and impregnated by her teacher in Larkana, Sindh, breaks the heart over and over again. The only good thing about this is that the teacher has been arrested, and has confessed to the crime (now that the child is four months pregnant). A powerful essay talks about how nobody in the government has taken notice of this case. Worse, the community blames the victim’s family for not protecting her “honour”. Supposedly they should have protected her “honour” by either never letting her go to school in the first place, or by killing her as soon as they ...

Read Full Post