Target: Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan, Speaker of Punjab Assembly
Goal: Reject a proposed law that would allow husbands to “lightly beat” their wives.
A proposal by Pakistan’s Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) suggests that men be allowed to “lightly beat” their wives for a number of offenses, including refusing to have sex, talking too loudly, and lending money without their husband’s permission. Sign the petition and denounce this backward, misogynistic, and cruel proposal.
While it does not have the power to pass legislation itself, the CII can make proposals to the legislature in Pakistan. The proposed measure only awaits final approval before it arrives on lawmakers’ desks in Punjab province. It was written in response to a progressive law proposal that would institute measures to protect women from violence, particularly spousal abuse.
Under the CII’s proposal, men would be allowed to abuse their wives for not only the reasons listed previously but also for not bathing after sex or during menstruation, not wearing hijab, using contraception without their husband’s permission, or failing to breastfeed their children for two years. The proposal would also ban women from co-ed schools after early childhood, prohibit women from combat roles in the military, and forbid women from nursing men who are not related to them in the hospital.
The CII’s proposal recommends violence only as a last resort to wifely disobedience. It is disturbingly specific about what constitutes a light beating, instructing husbands not to leave marks, break bones, or hit women in the face. Islamic scholar Allama Tahir Ashraf, a former member of the CII who left for religious reasons, denounced the proposal, saying, “Violence is forbidden by Islam, period.” Many others across Pakistan have also voiced their disgust with the CII’s position.
Add your voice to the many crying out against this law, both in Pakistan and around the world. Sign the petition and urge the Punjab Assembly not to pass the CII’s proposal.
Dear Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan,
I am writing to express my deep disgust over the law proposed by the Council of Islamic Ideology. The law, which would allow husbands to “lightly beat” their wives for a range of “offenses,” is misogynistic, cruel, and backward, and reverses the small steps Pakistan has been making toward gender equality. I urge you not to pass any such law if it comes before you in the assembly.
The CII’s proposal would allow men to beat their wives for refusing to have sex, not bathing after sex or during menstruation, speaking too loudly, lending money without their husband’s permission, not wearing hijab, using contraception without their husband’s permission, or failing to breastfeed their children for two years. Additionally, the proposal seeks to bar women from a number of professional and social spheres, imposing gendered limits on education, military service, and even healthcare roles.
In the words of Islamic scholar Allama Tahir Ashraf, “Violence is forbidden by Islam, period.” The CII’s proposal is antithetical to everything Islam stands for at its core. It is not a reflection of religious ideals but of an outdated, misogynistic viewpoint. Please stand with Pakistan’s women and defend their right to make their own decisions free of the threat of violence.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Usman.pg