Women’s rights are also human rights though some choose to forget that. Pakistan is a land of many contrasts .
On one hand it has had a woman Prime Minister twice which is something even many Western nations have not had .
Not only that there are Pakistani women jet fighter pilots , generals ,Supreme Court and High Court judges , State Bank Governor , academics and even a lady astronaut.
Women have succeeded in every field yet there are certain areas where their rights have been deliberately ignored by the government . This is a paradox in itself , Pakistan as envisioned by Jinnah is to be a place where men and women equally strive for progress .
There is this saying of the Holy Prophet pbuh “O People, it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women, but they also have rights over you.” And .”Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners…”
Shariah is the code of law for the Islamic way of life which Allah has revealed for mankind and commanded us to follow. The word Shariah means a clear straight path or example. Shariah, or Islamic law, is the code of conduct for Muslims and is based on two main sources: The Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet.
Shariah has two other sources: Ijma (consensus) and Qiyas (analogy or reasoning on the basis of similar circumstances). These sources must still be based on the Quran and the Sunnah. Ijma , or consensus, applies to a situation where no clear conclusion can be made from the Quran and the Sunnah.
In this situation the representatives of the people, who are well-versed in the Quran and the Sunnah, will sit together and work out an agreed formula to solve the particular problem. Ijma developed during the period of the Al-Khulafa ur-rashidun. Qiyas means a reference or analogy or a comparison of one thing with a similar one. It is applied in circumstances where guidance from the Quran and Sunnah is not directly available.
A solution to a problem is reached by a process of deduction from a comparison with similar situations in the past.
Pakistan has had Shariah Courts for the last three decades and they run in parallel with the conventional courts.
Islamic issues are referred to them and it is a very successful system. Judges of the High Court and eminent Muslim scholars representing every Fiqah are on Shariah benches together, they carry out research on an issue and come to the best solution which can be applicable in modern times.
Islam came as a way of life and for all time, the method of Ijtihad is there for discussing and solving a matter, by this process laws can evolve and be more flexible. The whole crux of the matter is the interpretation which should be agreeable to all the schools of thought. Islam favors moderation and dislikes rigidness. It is a religion which was meant to evolve with the times and not extreme in its effectiveness or application .
The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) in Pakistan ruled that, according to their interpretation of Sharia Law, rape victims could not use DNA reports as primary evidence.
In this age of science and technology scientific and digital evidence is equally important in respect of its legal and regulatory issues . Why can’t courts benefit from proven scientific procedures which can only ensure justice and sucour for the victim ?
Islam has given us all the provisions for modifying laws according to modern times . Islam came for all time to come so there were ways underlined to let laws evolve with the times .
CII advised the Pakistani government to amend the marriage laws in the 1961 Family Laws Ordinance so that men wanting to remarry no longer need the written permission of their first wives. This was very unfair as it affects the wife’s security and also that of the children both emotionally and financially .
Second marriages seldom work out except in exceptional cases and are not the norm in Pakistani society .
Men with more than one wife are an oddity in every social class here . Removing this security of the first wife was totally unnecessary and for sure the government has bigger problems to resolve than marriages !
Even more unbelievable was when the CII ruled that ban on underage marriage be removed . Their advice to the legislature was that Islam does not prohibit underage marriage but that the consummation of marriage is allowed when the spouses reach puberty. They also suggested the removal of a clause in the Child Marriages Restriction Act 1929 that prohibits a child from going against an arranged marriage , instead they advised that modern day kids are more capable to decide about their marriage .
The child could also dissolve the marriage after attaining puberty , but when does child marriage not take away a child’s right to a normal life with education and awareness . The Prime Minister approved of lifting the ban on child marriages instead of concentrating on increasing educational facilities for children.
Why are Pakistani courts and legislature suddenly concentrating on marriages instead of progress and education , don’t they have better things to do like sentence terrorists?
Women were astonished when the Law of Evidence 1984 was passed in the times of General Zia ruling that the evidence of two women be counted as one woman in certain cases such as Zina .
In other matters the Court accepts the testimony of one man or one woman .
Before this the general law of evidence was the Evidence Act , 1872 . The Qanun e Shahadat Order 1984 was passed as a process of Islamisation in the country. This raised a huge controversy in those times, now it seems the remnants of General Zia have struck again .
Pakistani women have contributed a lot in the country’s progress and at times are working even harder than the average man to run their household , why this double attitude towards women?
Islam doesn’t even restrict women from going abroad for education , there are Muslim women in our history that even fought in battles alongside men.
What kind of Islam is the current government propagating ?
Surely not in line with Pakistani ideals or history if our female icons and achievers are anything to go by.
The government should concentrate on ending corruption and wiping out terrorism , raising levels of education and health facilities instead of zoning in on depriving women of a better future . Are we undergoing another discreet wave of Islamisation as the government has chosen to talk to the TTP proxies .
Note: Al-Rasub is not responsible for writer personal opinion