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CII blamed for rise in incidents of violence against women

Published Jun 10, 2016 07:07am


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ISLAMABAD: Holding the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) responsible for the rise in incidents of violence against women, senators on Thursday called for making murders in the name of ‘honour’ a “non-compoundable” offence.

During a discussion on the death of 18-year-old Zeenat Rafiq, who was burnt alive by her mother in Lahore, the senators said ‘honour’ killings would continue as long as parliament failed to legislate to make such murders non-compoundable.

For the first time in parliamentary history, the Senate suspended its proceedings for five minutes to “sensitise” society and – as Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani called it – provide a shock to society over such incidents.

At the outset of the session, Mr Rabbani drew the attention of the house towards the incident, in which a young woman was killed by her mother on Wednesday for marrying a man of her own choosing. The chairman condemned the incident, and referred it to the house functional committee on human rights to suggest legislation.

Senators call for legislation to make ‘honour’ killings non-compoundable

During the discussion that followed, Opposition Leader Aitzaz Ahsan and Farhatullah Babar of the PPP called for abolishing the CII, saying that “the anti-woman bias of the CII as expressed in its recommendations and pronouncements” allowing violence against women had “contributed to crimes against women with impunity”.

The CII is currently being led by Maulana Mohammad Khan Sherani of the JUI-F. A number of JUI-F members, including Deputy Chairman Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, were present in the house when the PPP senators spoke against the council, but remained silent, realising the sensitivity of the matter.

Mr Babar also called for the urgent adoption of a bill against ‘honour’ killing that had been moved by former PPP senator Sughra Imam. The bill was passed unanimously by all the political parties in the Senate in March last year, but was not passed in the recent joint session for want of a consensus.

Mr Babar said it was beyond comprehension that the bill was opposed by some of the very parties in the joint sitting of parliament that voted for it in the Senate.

He said the CII had lost its relevance as well as its constitutional basis, and called for examining the validity of its continued existence and the submission of annual reports to parliament.

Mr Ahsan said it was painful to see a woman “burning” her own daughter and having no regret over the act. He said the 14 alleged killers of Ambreen, a woman who was burnt alive in Abbottabad last month, had been arrested but the suspects were putting pressure on her father.

He feared that soon all the alleged killers would be roaming free, taking advantage of the weakness of the country’s laws.

He also criticised the government for allocating Rs100 million for the CII. He said council members could see nothing except women, and supported Mr Babar’s assertion that the council should be abolished because it had no constitutional or legal standing.

In other developed nations, he said, individuals were being given importance whereas in “our society we are still killing women and children in the name of honour for family or tribes”.

He asked the government to convene the joint sitting of parliament within a day or two, to pass the bill against ‘honour’ killings. He added that there were still people sitting in parliament who were opposed to the bill.

“Had the bill been passed, the killers of Ambreen, Zeenat and Maria might have been convicted,” he said, referring to three victims of recent ‘honour’ killings. He expressed the hope that religious parties may review their decision on the bill after this latest incident.

The bill against ‘honour’ killings, which was passed by the Senate, could not get through the joint sitting after it was opposed by religious parties, mainly the JUI-F and Jamaat-i-Islami. However, last year, JUI-F members pilled their votes in support of the bill.

In an apparent reference to Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s recent documentary of ‘honour’ killings, PPP’s Sherry Rehman said the prime minister had seen the film on ‘honour’ killings, and Pakistan had received an Oscar for it, but the bill to prevent the crime was still pending before parliament.

Leader of the House Raja Zafarul Haq said he had supported Sughra Imam’s bill in the Senate and as a member of the committee as well. He also called for early legislation on the matter, before it was too late.

Mr Haq said the incidents of the ‘honour’ killings had now acquired a “viral stage”. He was of the view that the number of ‘honour’ killing incidents which did not come to the light could be higher.

However, he gave no assurance if the government would convene the joint sitting of parliament to pass the bill that would make ‘honour’ killing a non-compoundable offence.

Published in Dawn, June 10th, 2016


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Comments (28) Closed

ABC Jun 10, 2016 08:51am

Pakistan always needs someone who can be blamed. Obviously this preacher said some foolish thing but ultimately problem is superiority complex of males in society which is responsible for most of the crime against women. Now stop blame game and start fixing the problem.

ghulam ali Jun 10, 2016 09:20am

Wasting 100 million over these mullas when the poverty and other important social issues such as water scarcity and unemployment are on the rise. The institutional decay of Government departments is taking the country to the path of destruction.

M M Amin(old Ravian ) Jun 10, 2016 09:26am

"honor killings " have no religious sanction .If it has ,why is the CII silent on this issue ? It must make public its /deeni view point public .

Farooq Jawed Jun 10, 2016 10:11am

This man is epitome of everything that is wrong with the interpretation of religion.

Asgher Ali Jun 10, 2016 10:20am

Yes CII should be immediately dismantled.

Sridhar Jun 10, 2016 10:41am

Well, there is hope for Pakistan

Secular Pathan Jun 10, 2016 10:48am

This is true, CII has done a lot of harm to the society

AJ Jun 10, 2016 10:59am

It's not just the law but general awareness in the society that can stop (or should I say reduce) honor killing - don't forget you are fighting a centuries old tradition and decades of constant brain washing by local mullah's, hence need to put every effort at every front to get rid of this evil. The laws can be in place to act as a deterrent but we need to actively address the issue so innocent lives can be saved

Abdul Majeed Sheikh Jun 10, 2016 11:15am

Did the mother who burned her daughter knew CII, the Pakistani Society of rich and their unabated greed for money and ignoring poor, have made poor psychological patients, it is not "honour" killing it is a result of poor state of mind

People are really going mad with no power, water and ever-rising prices of commodities, patience is running out. Senator Aetzaz and Baber and others kindly note it is good to deliver speeches in wearing imported suites in AC halls while people are protesting for basic amenities and we are being fooled by TOR

A poor revolution is in making these are alarming signs. Do not ignore

YOUKNOWIMRIGHT Jun 10, 2016 11:31am

It is refreshing and uplifting amid the usual gloom to note the stand of Opposition Leader Aitzaz Ahsan and Farhatullah Babar of the PPP in calling for the abolishing of the CII, accelerated by the dreadfully sad story of a mother burning her daughter. However, as welcome as the abolition of this outrageously backward looking council is, little will change until a massive effort is made to undo the mindset instilled by mullahs in the poor, uneducated and gullible.

Shoaib khan Jun 10, 2016 11:40am

This crime should be made crime against state and nobody allow to forgive the killers.

Ravi Vancouver Jun 10, 2016 11:46am

CII has no usefulness and relevance in 21st century. CII should include women members and they should have good knowledge about progress in human rights and social sciences, so they can give guidelines using Islamic principles with present line of thinkings, so that country is not stuck in 7th century thinkings and left behind.

Hassan Jun 10, 2016 12:00pm

Interesting development, but as always, I doubt anything will happen.

Yawar Jun 10, 2016 12:17pm

Any individual or groups in positions of power that turn a blind eye towards oppressors of women and children should not be allowed to function.

Abuzar Jun 10, 2016 12:28pm

in order to talk sense and reality, You only have to be in opposition.

tanweer Jun 10, 2016 12:28pm

I don't know whether this guy has daughters? Maybe he would feel differently if one of his daughters were"lightly" beaten by her husband.

Tariq, Lahore Jun 10, 2016 12:43pm

Sherani should taken to task for inciting hatred against women and CII should disbanded!

Asif Jun 10, 2016 01:00pm

Why we need separate law for honour killing? Are we trying to officially recongise that this is a 'special' case of murder which should be dealt by a separate law?

sbk Jun 10, 2016 01:03pm

Good sign. There is some hope kindled. Let us wait and watch.

AHA Jun 10, 2016 01:07pm


Tamil Guru Jun 10, 2016 01:25pm

Simply Medieval ..

SGH Jun 10, 2016 01:32pm

Thank you Senate. Thank you all respected Senators, who raised voice against the honor killing of women, and pinpointing towards the effects of CII rulings on increasing the violence against women. You are absolutely right.

Mustafa Ali Shah Jun 10, 2016 01:33pm

What is the retiring age criterion of the CII. I think this guy definitely needs to take a break from the job, much better if its on permanent basis. He is losing the plot completely.

Iqbal Jun 10, 2016 04:03pm

Get rid of these individuals. Please for the sake of Pakistan move forward.

M.Saeed Jun 10, 2016 04:25pm

We need sanity in governance as well as in real and dynamic interpretation of religious provisions in Islamic law.

Jk Jun 10, 2016 05:20pm

Let's start a petition online to abolish this counsel. Someone savy with Internet please start a petition on all social media

Ahsan Gul Jun 11, 2016 04:05am

CII is the responsible body that has created a violence climate against women. Terms like, "lightly beating" is an encouragement and have different meanings for an educated and an illiterate person.

Imtiaz khan Jun 11, 2016 03:10pm

This is overall mindset in society where weaks r targeted irrespective of gender.