CII expresses serious reservations over Domestic Violence Bill

Says the definition of ‘violence’ needs to be reconsidered
Aug 10, 2021

The Council of Islamic Ideology has expressed reservations on a few points of the Pakistan Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Bill 2021 saying that they are against the injunctions of Islam.

The CII has shown its disagreement over the definition of the word ‘violence’ and says the content pertaining to it is against the basic teachings of Shariah.

It feared the bill would weaken the supervisory role of a father or any other responsible elder in the matters of a family.

The CII is currently short of two members to complete its full strength and the government hasn’t filled these positions despite requests by the body.

The government is supposed to appoint eight more members including two judges — either of the High Courts or the Supreme Court and a woman member. CII is functioning with only 12 members, including its chairperson.

SAMAA Digital has learned that once the government makes the required appointments, the CII would convene an apex body meeting before submitting its recommendations regarding the Bill to the government.

CII’s Director General of Research Dr Inamullah told SAMAA Digital that the very definition of the Bill is against the basic principles of Shariah.

In the Bill, domestic violence has been defined as “an act of physical, emotional, psychological, sexual and economic abuse committed by a respondent against a person with whom it (respondent) has been in a relationship that causes fear, physical or psychological harm to the aggrieved person.”

Inamullah said that under this definition, “no father can stop his son or daughter from committing an act which is not appropriate on moral or recognised social grounds”.

“It would be considered a crime if a member asks someone to avoid doing something which he believes is inappropriate religiously or morally.”

He said the bill also encourages the aggrieved person to run away from home and take refuge in a shelter home.

“Instead of reposing confidence in a Wali or a guardian, confidence has been reposed in NGOs,” he stated.

According to Inamullah, Shariah does not allow even the government to intervene in the personal affairs of a family.

He said if a husband asks her wife that he wants to marry another woman or he threatens to divorce her then under this bill it would be considered as an offence and if he is proved as an offender in the court then he would have to leave his home.

Moreover, he disagreed to the bill declaring a boyfriend and a girlfriend as relatives.

He also maintained that CII hasn’t received the letter which has been written by the Adviser to PM Babar Awan and addressed to the Speaker National Assembly to seek the opinion of CII over the bill.

Inamullah complained the government is not giving enough importance to the matter. The Pakistan Domestic Violence Bill calls for offenders to be fined or imprisoned for abusing women, children or vulnerable people. It was passed in the National Assembly on April 19.

The Senate passed this bill with a few amendments. Now, the National Assembly is required to pass these amendments too before sending it to the president of Pakistan to sign it, after which it would become an act of law.

However, in July, Awan wrote a letter to the speaker of the National Assembly and asked for a review of CII on the bill.

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