Sorry ladies, no protection for you

Published: April 14, 2012

This is nothing but an obvious attempt to protect the status quo that gives men unquestionable might over women. PHOTO: AFP

Everyone knows that Pakistan does not have the most efficient of governments. Neither would one argue that our politicians are the brightest of the bunch, nor the most honest.

Tales of corruption, incompetence and nepotism are so widespread that the average Pakistani has become immune to them.

The common man on the street has enough problems on his plate, ranging from high inflation to loadshedding, and is already struggling to make ends meet, to really care about what the government is doing.

In all honesty, we don’t really expect that much from our government.

In fact just getting through the allotted five years without being overthrown by a military coup or the opposition is supposed to be quite the achievement.

So then why was it so disappointing when the news came out that the Domestic Violence Bill had been shelved due to strong resistance by opposition parties?

I guess it was too much to ask of our elected representatives to set aside their political differences and find common ground to ensure the safety of women and children across the country and protect them from violence and abuse.

Apparently the right of women to maintain their dignity and to ensure that they have legal protection against any form of abuse at home, which is all too common in our country, is a hedonistic western concept.

In fact, the country should be grateful that we have such visionary leaders that will fight tooth and nail against the imposition of such an obviously un-Islamic notion. The JUI-F and opposition parties should be lauded for protecting our people from the roots of all evil that are the NGOs.

As Mr Fazlur Rehman said,

“NGOs continue to promote the culture which keeps women away from Islam and that is not acceptable to us.”

Protecting our mothers, daughters, sisters and wives from abuse is obviously unacceptable and as our esteemed MNA Khawaja Saad Rafique implied, only some unknown external forces were stakeholders in the passage of the bill.

If women will be able to legally prosecute their abusers, what’s to stop them from demanding a right to education, equal work opportunities and pay?

How will our country survive then?

It really gets to me that an essential piece of legislation has been blocked under the guise of protecting our religion and culture.

This is nothing but an obvious attempt to protect the status quo that gives men unquestionable might over women.

How long will political parties use religious propaganda to justify their own shortcomings and promote a backwards and archaic way of thinking?

I wonder how many of our elected representatives actually even read the contents of the bill or even fully realise the repercussions of the continuous delay of its implementation.

It is shameful that the vulnerable segment of our society, that consists of a majority of women, children and minorities faces tremendous challenges and abuse in all walks of life in a country which is supposed to be founded on Islamic principles.

I sincerely request our politicians, that the next time they decide to rally against something or someone going against the tenants of Islam, they should actually try and gain first-hand insight about what Islam truly is.


Read more by Mani here.

Mani Khawaja

Mani Khawaja

A journalist and musician with an MBA from the University of Sunderland. He tweets @manikhawaja88 (

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Faraz Talat

    “Aurat pe haath uthana ghalat hai” (“beating a woman is wrong”) has never been a liberal or Western agenda. It’s a taboo in our culture as well. How can anyone, liberal or conservative, Western or Pakistani, ever defend domestic abuse?

    If 65 years after our creation, are still stuck debating whether beating up our wives is a good or a bad thing, it is inconceivable how there can ever be any social stability in this country.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Nicely put.
    Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s objection was that the bill pandered to Western values. The funny thing is that when the West brought women’s rights under the law, it was said that Islam already provides these to women . So why the hypocrisy ??
    The good maulana is not bothered about Islamic values, he is simply feathering his political nest. Recommend

  • Pakistani

    Shameful! All these “political Mullahs” are a disease for Pakistan.Recommend

  • Sinclair

    While the arguments of JUI-F are insulting to all rational beings, I don’t think anyone needs to be disappointed/disheartened just yet. Passing the law would not have reduced all domestic violence the very next day. Not passing the law does not stop people from reforming themselves and others around them. Implementation of laws is a BIG issue in both India and Pakistan. As they say, “Many a slip between the cup and the lip”. There are many spheres where this battle will be fought, and the parliament will probably end up to be the last to get enlightened. But if so, what is it really that is lost? I say nothing. Civil society will have its hands full for a decade regardless of whether this law is passed today or 10 years from now.Recommend

  • Big Rizvi

    So who made these moral policing goons form parties and fight elections? I am afraid religion sells like hot dogs in this country… Recommend

  • Ashar

    Presdent Musharraf, in his first speech after takeover said he would replace the conventional SHO with a CSS officer. however the same was not observed. Bringing laws in of no avail the one who implement is matters and that is the SHO. Replace him with a learned and carrier oriented police officer most of the domestic problems will be solved. our women will not be saved from home abuse even this law is passed. the stress upon this law is only to save the faces and it is correct that NGO’s interest is involved up to this only not the actual and on ground implementation of the law.
    we know that most of the NGOs are run by wifes of ex Government Officers, Politicians and army generals who only want to rule this downtrodden nation in one way of another. I am sure religion has nothing to do with it since all the religions are of the same view regarding women rights while Islam extends more than others. as for Maulana he is doing good business having a very expensing turban on his head.Recommend

  • http://nil raheela

    If beating and abusing women is an Islamic culture and norms and giving rights,freedom and protection against violence to women and children is a western culture,then i would love to live under western culture rather than so called hostile islamic tenants…!!Recommend

  • mr. righty rightist

    I think people are overreacting.

    What Mullahji said was right. All he meant was, Quran is enough to protect all the rights of women as declared by god himself and there’s no need for a man made law.Recommend

  • Shadytr33

    @raheela: Please study Islamic Law before commenting such statements. Islamic Law doesn’t allow anyone to raise a hand against anyone. In Surah Nisa it is stated that if a wife acts immorally then advise her to get on the right track. If she doesn’t listen, then advise her strictly. If she still acts immorally, then discipline her like hitting on the hand. NEVER ON THE FACE OR ANYTHING CRAZY LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE DO. And even then if she acts immorally then divorce her.

  • geeko

    Please please please Fazl-ur-Rehman’s crazy brigade and mullah junta doesn’t represent Pakistan, even less Islam.
    He said that a woman governing is “un-Islamic”, but during PPP’s mandate under Benazir Bhutto, in 1993/1994, he was known for befitting the diesel permits given by the “un-Islamic” (understand woman) leader, and exporting petrol to Afghanistan – then why “Maulana Diesel”.
    He’s the biggest hypocrite out there, daily loosing KPK to Imran Khan even if he’s not aware, and I can bet my life that if a woman gives him some bucks, he’ll wrote a treatise on how the domestic bill is an Islamic imperative.

    Islam was the first religion to introduce women as a social force and gave children their rights, there are thousands of books about these subjects ; don’t let a jahil, opportunist and narcissistic maulvi make you believe otherwise.Recommend

  • Muhammad Rizwan Ali

    I am Pakistani Living in China also, the women here so modren, welldress, broadminded, fasionable, working in every field with the men, travelling in train,buses, beside men, can walk at 1 am in night also alone on street, no body, no body, can even see them with bad eyes, they are more protected women, no religen here, no religen pressure here, and whole world know how they are going above and above day by day in every fields, Women also participationg in every development like men equally,
    In Pakistan 95% women are abuse in many manners, they do hard work day and night also,just to eat three times meal, even their husband are not love them as they should do.
    The so called relious pressure only on women, men mostly Mullah can do any thing, even 60 years Mulla can get marraige with 18 ears old Girl.
    God save Pakistan from these Mulla, or finish Pakistan…Recommend

  • The Only Normal Person Here.

    Well written. What makes it more interesting that on one hand they call women a weaker gender, and on the other, they advocate laws which promotes violence on women. Recommend

  • Please dont blame the elected!

    Please blame the media and the NGOs who allowed the bill to lapse and anyone but the government!

    The government has taken to getting all resolutions passed unanimously and in a dead lock with the opposition it looked in vain for media and NGOs the so called civil society to take the opposition to task but not a SINGLE editorial appeared in any newspaper ultimately causing the bill to lapse.

    The culprits here are many but certainly not the ruling coalition.Recommend

  • Raza

    “How long will political parties use religious propaganda to justify their own shortcomings and promote a backwards and archaic way of thinking?”

    Political parties will continue to use religious propaganda as long as it continues to get them votes. Our conservative populace chooses to equate politics with religion, when really the two are quite separate; as a result even parties like the PTI have started adopting rightist agendas. Islam is a great and practical religion that obviously does not condone violence against woman (quite the opposite), but the matter should not even go to religion; domestic violence should be prohibited as per law anyway, as it is in the civilized world. Unfortunately, this cant go through coz clowns like Fazlur Rahman have their own interests, and they get away with this coz they’re backed by an uneducated and uncivilized public i.e. us. Recommend

  • Nobody

    Very well written! I especially enjoyed the sardonic tone you used at some parts to convey the message. This topic can’t be discussed enough, so I hope people keep doing so and keep bringing attention to it because unfortunately even after all this time, lawmakers can still be swayed or convinced its apparently not a serious enough issue. The country is over 60 years old and people are still arguing about basic civil rights that should be granted to all humans, man or woman. Rights that were established and changed in the constitution of developed countries long ago. Time to play catch up Pakistan. Good luck to all those still fighting this battle, men and women alike. Recommend

  • Pollack

    @mr. righty rightist:
    “Quran is enough to protect all the rights of women as declared by god himself”

    You probably can’t even say what you had for lunch a week back but you are very very confident about what “god himself” declared. Wow! The cause of the disease is right there!Recommend

  • Pollack

    @Faraz Talat:
    “If 65 years after our creation, are still stuck debating whether beating up our wives is a good or a bad thing”

    If you can find the force which makes Pakistan society indulge in debates over issues which has been settled in civilized societies, you have the found the reason for pakistans societal malaise.Recommend

  • MarkH

    When the common description of a Mullah is: fat, hairy and old with bad hygiene – how else are they going to keep a woman? They certainly aren’t going to pull it off with their personalities.Recommend

  • Straight Fire

    Yes Violence is not our cultureIts our FoodRecommend

  • http://nil raheela

    if woman acts immorally than there are suggestions in Quran how to treat her,like first advice her,then strictly advice her,then beat her on her hand but what if a Man acts immorally then how women need to deal with them,is it women physical weakness that gives rights to our so called cultural society man to rule over women..then sorry to say its not Human oriented society but more probably abhorred jungle oriented society..and this is the initial which normally leads to utterly despise violence against women..!!Recommend

  • abdul Ferhan

    PAKISTAN information beautiful lakes, valleys, list of all cities and mountain series, glaciers, history, culture, traditions, Tourism in Travel in PakistanRecommend

  • Captain Obvious

    First off, the quran does not say that you can beat women on the hand or whatever. the correct translation is to admonish her. the wrong translation of the word has been passed down because of men’s attitudes believing something to be right. But a lot of scholars are now coming to the consensus that in no way or form does the quran ever allow women to be hit.Recommend

  • Shadytr33

    Actually Islam gives right to a woman to divorce her husband if he commits any violence against her. Even so if a woman doesn’t like the face of her husband then even she can divorce him. I don’t know why you are so paranoid that Islam is against humanity. First do some research, then raise a hue and cry. Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    Translation or not, no laws will pass that are contrary to the clear directions as provided in the Quran. The Holy Quran says is very clear.


  • Nobody

    Hudood Ordinance? NOT passing a domestic violence bill? ALL against the teachings of the Quran. Recommend

  • Muhammad Sulman

    I recommend you to watch Political show of Moeed Pirzada Sochta Pakistan where always try to favor Govt. just cause of having running under Federal Govt. even there the Bill Presenter fails to justify her bill….
    This bill is not only for women. It is also about that if a father use hard words for her daughter or son at any violence he can go to police…what rubbish..
    Kindly again checkout this bill this is not acceptable at all.
    Please stop making things up. In Islam does not support these types of things. Islam does give more respect a woman than any other religionRecommend

  • maryam zahoor

    once a upon a time, there was a time when little baby girls were buried alive and women were sexual slaves.
    and then came came a way of life called Islam, which turned the tables for women. Paradise was declared to be beneath the feet of a woman.
    as people deviated away from that way of life, the status of women was degraded again.
    Are we not responsible for it ourselves?Recommend

  • khan of quetta

    well let the parliamentarians handle it the domestic violence bill can get you jailed for beating your son if he uses drugs that is wrongRecommend

  • Loneliberal PK

    Maryam Zahoor,

    Once upon a time? These things are happening in the world right now!

    In fact, things like female infanticide are less common in the non-Islamic countries, compared to the Islamic countries that are always squabbling over what’s right and what’s wrong in the light of religion . By that fact alone, don’t you think we can have social stability without bringing Islam into everything?Recommend

  • Parvez

    @Loneliberal PK: Keeping Islam out of anything today, has become next to impossible.
    Wrong interpretations and self serving ideologies are rampant, resulting in not only the religion getting a ‘bad’ (for want of a better word) name but countries under this influence are suffering i.e Afghanistan and now Pakistan and some will claim others as well.Recommend

  • maryamzahoor

    Dear Loneliberal,

    hahahah you didn’t even read the whole comment.
    Want to bash islam? keep it up. peaceRecommend

  • Free Thinker

    @Captain Obvious “First off, the quran does not say that you can beat women on the hand or whatever. the correct translation is to admonish her. the wrong translation of the word has been passed down because of men’s attitudes believing something to be right.”
    Rightly said that quran does not say that you can beat women on the hand rather men are allowed to beat their wives anywhere. The issue is not with the translation as there had never been dispute in the arabic word as to what are the meanings of verse 4:34 of quran. The message is very clear and was accordingly interpreted by the ancient islamic scholars e.g. read the tafseer of Al-kabir. Various hadiths from Bukhari, Muslim and Abu Dawud can also be cited which condone the voilence against women e.g. Sunan of Abu Dawud # 2141, 2142; Muslim 3506 etc.Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    Captain Obvious

    There is a reason why Islam prohibits charlatans claiming to be new prophets giving new ‘translations’. Please come out of your delusions. Allah will never forgive munafiqueen trying to change the deen He has promised to protect.Recommend

  • Rubina dewan

    Violence is not a phenomenon specific to any one part of Pakistan. This practice is prevalent across the country and continues to persist as one of the most heinous, systematic and prevalent human rights abuses in the country. Violence has many shapes, forms and its consequences in every society. It may in the form of customary practices or it may be an outcome of unnecessary pressures on individuals.
    In Pakistan, the status of women varies as per their regions, customs and social disparities. The rural and urban women are divided due to uneven socio-economic development and the impact of tribal, feudal, and capitalist social formations on women’s lives is unavoidable as many women are victim of violence, they are suffering from physical, sexual, reproductive and mental health problems and dies as a result of ignorance.
    In 2011, Awaz Foundation Pakistan stated of violence against women in South Punjab, 687 women were kidnapped, 259 were murdered, 90 were victims of violence, 124 went died due to honor killing, 294 were raped while 14 women were victims of sexual assault.
    Pakistani women have long been victims of abuse, now the government took step to stop the violence against women. On 20th Feb 2012, domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Bill 2012 women’s has been approved by senate with the consent of parliamentarians. The bill includes the provision to be a criminal offense to threaten to divorce wife. Threat of physical violence will be sentenced to imprisonment and fines as well. This bill provides a protection to all the members of family as well as adopted children.

    Though steps have been taken by parliamentarians to endorse the rights of women and it is most progressive bill as well because It enables direct access to the police station and court but needed implementation at central level as well as a law similar to the Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act 2012 be adopted at the provincial level as there is a lacking of attention paying towards “actual women’s concerns” with rural and urban women. There is need to incorporate other “vulnerable groups” in the scope of the bill to ensure protection of any victim of domestic violence and the State should commit itself to monitor and evaluate the law on an annual basis to ensure implementation and to learn from the process what needs to change.

    We should recognize, that women require state mandated infrastructure to access the law, there is a need to make them enable to access the police station and courts, in filling FIR and in collecting evidence and in enforcing the orders by assisting them in drafting applications as every individual woman has a right to get relief from domestic violence. Recommend

  • Mike

    Im really sure that it was a mistake of occident had given that much rights to women, even more than men right now (its ridiculious) and besides it has proven doesnt work. It is one of the main reasons for the social chaos we have in occident now a days.

    So I strongly congratulate Pakistan for dont let enter to its culture these harmful ideas of gender equality that come from other planet to them. I m thinking that must be more trustworthy girls there than in occident for their correct culture of gender.Recommend