Date: 30/05/2016

Men can beat wives 'lightly' says Pakistan's Islamic council

Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) chairman Maulana Muhammad Khan Sherani addresses a press conference in Islamabad on May 26, 2016. Credit: AFP PHOTO / FAROOQ NAEEMFAROOQ NAEEM/AFP/Getty Images

Adam Boult 29 May 2016 • 3:14pm

A draft proposal by Pakistan’s Council of Islamic Ideology has recommended that husbands should be able to beat their wives, as long as they do it “lightly”.

CII chairman Muhammad Kahn Sherani told the Express-Tribune newspaper: "If you want her to mend her ways, you should first advise her … If she refuses, stop talking to her … stop sharing a bed with her, and if things do not change, get a bit strict."

A husband should be allowed to lightly beat his wife if she defies his commands Pakistan's Council of Islamic Ideology

A “bit strict,” he clarified, would include “(hitting) her with light things like handkerchief, a hat or a turban, but do not hit her on the face or private parts.”

The council’s draft proposal has met with a furious response in Pakistan, including calls for the CII to be disbanded. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said in a statement: “As much as the HRCP wanted not to dignify with any comment the ridiculous CII recommendations regarding ‘light beating’ of women, the commission thinks it is imperative that every right-respecting person must condemn such counsel unreservedly. The irony of calling the measures women protection should not be lost on anyone.”

Pakistani women display their national identity card Credit: EPA/NADEEM KHAWER

The Council of Islamic Ideology advises Pakistan’s government and lawmakers on Islamic issues. Its proposals are recommendations, and not legally enforced.

The council drafted the controversial proposal in response to The Women's Protection Act, enacted in the province of Punjab in February, which is intended to improve legal protection to women from domestic, psychological and sexual violence.

The CII criticised the Women’s Protection Act as being “un-Islamic”. Its alternative draft proposal, while suggesting some women’s rights be enshrined in law, also says: "A husband should be allowed to lightly beat his wife a) if she defies his commands b) and refuses to dress up as per his desires; c) turns down demand for intercourse without any religious excuse; d) or does not take bath after intercourse or menstrual periods."

The proposal also suggests e) interacting with strangers not wearing a hijab; and f) speaking too loudly among other potential activities that might incur a light beating, the Express Tribune reports.