The National Assembly of Pakistan approved the women right’s bill on Wednesday after a prolonged controversy amid protest from the Mutahida Mujlis-e-Amal (MMA). Slogan-chanting members of the MMA walked out of the house in protest before the vote on the Protection of Women (Criminal Laws Amendment) Rights Bill, which they said was contrary to Islamic injunctions about punishments for adultery and rape and in their opinion would make the Pakistan a free-sex zone.
The People’s Party Parliamentarians (PPP), supported the ruling coalition in passing the bill, which seeks to protect women from the widely complained misuse of the controversial Hudood ordinances and qazf (false accusation of zina) enforced in 1979 by the then-military ruler General Mohammad Ziaul Haq. Members of the Pakistan Muslim League-N, a PPP ally in the Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy, spoke with the MMA against the bill but abstained from the walkout.
The Government on Thursday kept up the momentum of legislation against anti-women laws by submitting a draft bill to the National Assembly seeking an end to practices like marriage of girls with the Quran or to settle long-running tribal feuds.
Pakistan Muslim League president Chauhdry Shujaat Hussain submitted the draft bill to National Assembly Speaker Chauhdry Amir Hussain on Thursday. Shujaat has also submitted his conditional resignation from the parliament which will stand approved if the Women Protection Bill proves to be unislamic.
The new bill seeks action against those who deprive women of their inheritance or property rights. Two, it legislates against vani or the custom of giving the hand of women, mostly under-age girls, to settle murder disputes. Third, it criminalizes forced marriages. Fourth, it proposes legal action against those who issue three divorces to their wives in one sitting. Fifth, it makes women’s marriage with the Quran a crime. Sixth, it puts an end to the custom of watta-satta.,” Shujaat explained, adding that the bill incorporated the views of religious scholars.
MMA or Mullah Military Alliance(as it was called sometimes) has failed to resign from the Parliament as it had threatened earlier, instead it is using delaying tactics. Qazi Hussain Ahmad has announced today that they will decide about resignation on Dec 07, 2006. He also announced to protest today after Friday prayers.
Its unfortunate the MMA failed to read the writings on the wall. Its seniors lack leadership qualities and insight for the future of Muslim Ummah. They were provided a chance but they returned a bad name. The Hudood set by Allah are irreversible, and there is no doubt about it, but the Hudood Ordinance was a way of enforcement thought by a former Military Man and it was grossly misused. Many women victims of heinous crime like rape ended up in prison when they reported the crime while the perpetrators of the crime roamed free. The Hudood Ordinance has not proved to check the willful adultery as it is still committed in Pakistan and not a hidden fact but it failed to check offence of Rape so MMA’s claim that repealing Hudood Ordinance will facilitate adultery is nothing but a political slogan.
Hue and cry was raised by many quarters including the women on the misuse of Hudood Ordinance but MMA failed to tackle the issue and in providing a solution which can protect rights given to women according to the teachings of Islam. MMA’s opposition to it raised a perception in the general public that there were no rights for women in Islam. Islam is the only religion which provides rights to women but MMA who claimed to be voice of Islam failed to deliver what was expected of them by the given mandate. MMA also failed to meet the expectations of the educated religious circles who gave vote to MMA because they preferred religious parties over secular or non-religious political parties. The end of MMA has begun. GOOD BYE MMA.
Ironically, it was secular parties which came to rescue and took the credit. They might have done it to gain political mileage or they might be sincere to Islam. But fact is Action speaks louder than words and they deserve to get credit. MMA also failed to meet the expectations of the educated religious circles who gave vote to MMA because they preferred religious parties over secular or non-religious political parties. I don’t see any reason on the demise of MMA. GOOD BYE MMA.
Next year is the election year and there is a need of the hour to have educated religious people in the Parliament who can provide leadership role to the Muslims, who have insight and knowledge to do ‘Ijtihaad’, and who can bring unity and Peace among various sects. People like Dr. Israr Ahmad might be doing a very good work and he might be willing to step in Pakistani politics which is quit dirty however, it is need of the hour that people like him come forward and take sincere people from other parties who are faithful and not eyeing on plots and kickback, persons like Imran Khan who have proven social services on their credit together and they should guide the nation in the turbulent times which might be coming in next couple of years. The next Parliament starting from 2007 might witness time which could set make or break momentum for Pakistan. People of Pakistan deserve to have right choice on the ballot papers.
A Muslim does not get bitten twice in the same hole. Rule of the democracy should be not to try someone already tested.