Islamic Republic of Pakistan has let down women again by surrendering to the fundamentalists!

Islamic Republic of Pakistan has let down women again by surrendering to the fundamentalists!

Vani-Swara or Watta Satta

Girls can be excanged for debts, debt recovery and other proceedings: Islamic Republic of Pakistan (hereinafter mentioned as IRP) has been notorious for pedophile activities carried on in Madrasas by Mohammedan clerics. Though, many reports came, arrests made, but, prosecutions have been limited and the involved maulanas, kajis and Mullahs escaped. While the boys are exploited in this way, the girl-children are sexploited in a different way, under the guise of “marriages”. Child marriage in Pakistan is connected with tradition, culture, and customary practices. It sometimes involves the transfer of money, settlement of debts or exchange of daughters (Vani/Swara or Watta Satta) sanctioned by  a Jirga or Panchayat (council of elders from the community)[1]. It is estimated that 21% of girls in Pakistan are married before the age of 18. When the question of “non-Muslims” come, the “marriages” become atrocious, horrible and ending with prostitution, as Islamic law can be applicable for such activities under mutah and other forms of marriages. Thus, by and large the Islamic law has been used only to sexploit the girls and women.

Pakistan draft electoral bill, 2017

IRP obligation to end child marriage and legislations stopped by the clerics: As awareness is created and educated women have started questioning such practices, IRP has pledged to end child marriage by 2030 as part of a global initiative. Based on this, IRP gets many funds and monetary packages from the global organizations. Yet, the legislations brought to curtail, ban and stop the Child marriages and pedophile activities have been stopped by the Mohammedan clerics under the pretext of Quran, Hadis and Shariat. In other words, the funds received for the purpose have not been producing desired effect, instead, opposite results show the other-way happenings there. According to a Gallup survey released in October 2017, approximately 7.3 million people in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan were married before the age of 16, and an additional 15.5 million Pakistanis got married before they were 18. Gallup calls this “child marriage” for its survey purposes[2]. The observation made, “Child brides often drop out of school and become pregnant, and these early pregnancies have a greater risk of ending in maternal or infant death,……….Child brides are also at greater risk of sexual violence, abuse, social isolation and exploitation.” said Gallup[3].

Paki riots-electoral reform bill-TOI

The bills were stalled in 2014, 2016 and so on: A bid to ban child marriage in Pakistan utterly failed, after the Council of Islamic Ideology declared the legislation “anti-Islamic” and “blasphemous.”  The bill didn’t even move past the first stage in the legislative process, The Express Tribune reports[4]. It was almost immediately pulled by Pakistan Muslim League party’s Marvi Menon following condemnation from CII, whose job it is to advise the legislature on whether bills are compliant with Sharia law. In this case, the bill clearly violated Islamic law as tradition holds marriage as acceptable when a girl hits puberty[5]. Sheerani had opposed the proposed amendments, saying they were contrary to Islamic teachings and laws. “Parliament cannot create legislation that is against the teachings of the Holy Quran or Sunnah,” he had said while backing his arguments with relevant laws and a few references from the Holy Quran and Hadith. According to Islamic laws, marriage can be solemnised when a girl attains puberty, Sheerani claimed[6]. After CII’s declaration, a parliamentary committee rejected the legislation solely for religious reasons and Menon subsequently pulled the legislation. Existing legislation in Pakistan already violates Islamic law. The Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Act 2014 places the legal age of marriage at 16 for women, but the recent proposal attempted to move that age up to 18 and also included serious punishment for the common practice of child marriage. That punishment would have included prison for up to two years for anyone caught engaging in child marriage[7].

Pakistan draft electoral bill, 2017-3

In May 2017 also, the National Assembly rejected the draft Child Marriage Restraint Act for the second time: Social and gender inequality, a desire to control women’s sexuality and protect family honour, economic hardship and lack of awareness of the harmful impact of child marriage are common driving factors[8]. Pakistan’s Child Marriage Restraint Act (CMRA) 1929 sets the legal age for marriage to 16 for women and 18 for men. In May 2017, the National Assembly rejected the draft Child Marriage Restraint Act for the second time. The proposal would have increased the legal age for marriage from 16 to 18 nationwide. In February 2017, the Parliament adopted an amendment to the Penal Code that would toughen punishment against child marriage. Offenders face a minimum of five years in prison and may serve up to 10 years. They also face a fine of up to 1 million rupees ($9,547). Thus, it appears that IRP and the fundamentalist have been playing trick with the UN and global organizations strategically, as if the have been introducing the Bills, but, only the fundamentalist clerics have been stopping it in the name of Allah and Quaran, that is not questionable by any Muslim.

Pakistan riots- 25-11-2017-1

Mohammedan clerics declare that girls can get married by 9 years or getting puberty, whichever is earlier: According to the organization Girls Not Brides, over 21 percent of the girls in Pakistan enter into marriage before the age of 18. CII Chairman Mohammad Khan Sheerani reiterated in 2014 that girls can be married at age nine, so long as puberty is apparent, adding that attempts to revisit the issue are pointless and unnecessary. “Parliament cannot create legislation that is against the teachings of the Holy Quran or Sunnah,” Sheerani said in 2014, according to The Express Tribune. CII was created in 1962 with the express purpose of advising parliament on Islamic law. CII is also known for calling to make DNA evidence inadmissible in rape cases as recently as 2013. What CII wanted instead is to bring back the old practice of bringing in four witnesses to support rape claims. With increasing immigration, the practice of child marriage has also spread to the West, raising alarm especially in the United Kingdom. According to data from the Home Office’s Forced Marriage Unit, there were 1,485 cases of child marriage in 2012. Another government report also foundchild marriage is increasing around the world, with the rate expected to climb to 14 million child marriages a year before 2020 hits.

Pakistan draft electoral bill, 2017-2

Law Minister Zahid Hamid  accused of for “blasphemy” and fatwas issued: Law Minister Zahid Hamid had been accused by clerics of committing blasphemy due to a change in the wording of an oath taken by parliamentarians in the South Asian country. The protesters, led by Rizvi and other scholars, perceived the change in wording as representing a softening of the state’s position against members of the Ahmadi sect, who are not permitted to identify themselves as Muslims in Pakistan. The oath was hastily amended back to its original wording, but protesters held the capital under siege for weeks, demanding that Hamid resign from the cabinet. According to the agreement signed on Monday, the government will also make public an internal inquiry into how the wording of the parliamentary oath was changed. The Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) political party, led by Rizvi, has also agreed not to issue any religious edicts [fatwas] against Hamid.  Blasphemy is a sensitive issue in Pakistan, and certain forms of it can carry the death sentence. Increasingly, those accused of blasphemy have also been subjected to violent attacks by mobs and charged protesters. Since 1990, at least 73 people have been killed over alleged blasphemy, according to an Al Jazeera tally. They include those accused of blasphemy, members of their families, lawyers who have defended them and judges.

Pakistan riots- 25-11-2017-2

Zahid Hamid, Law Minister resigned[9]: Pakistan’s federal law minister has resigned, acceding to a key demand made by thousands of protesters who have blocked a major highway into the Pakistani capital for weeks, the state radio broadcaster reported. An agreement has been signed that would see the demonstrators in Islamabad and other cities disperse, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal told the Islamabad High Court during a hearing on 17-11-2017, Monday, ending a weeks-long standoff that threatened to escalate into countrywide violence. “On the assurance of the Chief of Army Staff, we are calling off the sit-in,” Muslim scholar and protest leader Khadim Hussain Rizvi told a crowd of around 2,500 demonstrators in Islamabad on Monday, AFP news agency reported. The agreement would also see all protesters who were arrested during the sit-in, which began on November 8, be released within three days[10]. The government will also take responsibility for paying for any damage caused to both public and private property during the protest. An inquiry will also be ordered into a government security crackdown on Saturday which saw thousands of riot police fire tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon in an attempt to disperse the protesters. Demonstrators fought back with stones, sticks and metal rods, and were able to beat back the authorities. At least five people were killed and more than 217 – mostly members of the security forces – wounded in those clashes.

© Vedaprakash

30-11-2017

Pakistan riots- 25-11-2017-3

[1] Francais, Child marriage around the world: Pakistan, Information compiled based on UN and Pakistan documents.

[2] CNCnews, Islamic Republic of Pakistan Child marriages: 7.3 nillion, By Michael W. Chapman | November 10, 2017 | 11:20 AM EST

[3] https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/michael-w-chapman/islamic-republic-pakistan-child-marriages-73-million

[4] DailyCaller, Anti-Pedophilia Bill Rejected In Pakistan As ‘Anti-Islamic’, Jonah Bennet, National Secuirity / Politics Reporter, 12:41 PM 01/15/2016.

[5] http://dailycaller.com/2016/01/15/anti-pedophilia-bill-rejected-in-pakistan-as-anti-islamic/

[6] Tribune, Bill aiming to ban child marriages shot down, by Maryam Usman, Published: January 5, 2016.

[7] https://tribune.com.pk/story/1027742/settled-matter-bill-aiming-to-ban-child-marriages-shot-down/

[8] https://www.girlsnotbrides.org/child-marriage/pakistan/

[9] Aljazeera, Pakistan minister resigns, ending Islamabad standoff, by Asad Hashim, November 27, 2017/

[10] http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/11/pakistan-minister-resigns-protester-stand-171127071421060.html

 

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