Pakistan religious groups urge government to repeal ‘un-Islamic’ women’s protection law News
Pakistan religious groups urge government to repeal ‘un-Islamic’ women’s protection law

[JURIST] A conference of religious groups and political parties convened by the Jamaat-e-Islami [party website; Facebook page] party asked the Pakistani government on Tuesday to retract a new “un-Islamic” law that provides protections for female victims of abuse. The Women’s Protection Act [text, PDF], passed last month in Punjab, establishes an abuse hotline, sets up shelter homes, provides for imprisonment for violations of protection from abuse orders and establishes investigation panels. The religious groups claim [Al Jazeera report] that the law violates the Quran, denouncing it for being in conflict with both Islam and the Pakistani constitution. Earlier this month the Council of Islamic Ideology, the government’s religious advising body, declared [Reuters report] the Women’s Protection Act un-Islamic.

Women’s rights remains a hotly debated issue worldwide. Last month the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women praised Georgia for its reform efforts regarding its laws on gender equality and violence against women but cautioned [JURIST report] that significant social changes will need to occur to make the laws effective. In January UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official website] announced that he is creating the first high-level panel to address women’s economic empowerment initiatives [JURIST report]. The panel’s goal is to create a plan of action for nations and private sector businesses to implement in order to improve women’s rights by achieving economic agency for women all over the globe in accordance with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development [text, PDF]. In September the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said that no country has achieved full equality between men and women and urged [JURIST report] the 47 members of the Human Rights Council to make efforts to achieve such equality.