Religious leaders in Pakistan criticize law protecting women from abuse

A woman carries laundry on her head, while heading home after washing in Charsadda, near Peshawar January 7, 2015. REUTERS/Fayaz Aziz

A law passed in Pakistan’s largest province, Punjab, designed to protect women from violence and abuse has been criticized by the country’s religious leaders for being incompatible with the Quran and Pakistani constitution. The Women’s Protection Act, passed in the Punjab assembly, gives legal protection to women who have been subjected to violence and creates women’s shelters and a free hotline to report abuse. It would also establish district-level panels to investigate abuse, the use of GPS bracelets to track offenders and establish court sentences for those who violate court orders related to domestic violence. “This law makes a man insecure,” Fazlur Rehman, leader of one of Pakistan’s largest religious parties told Reuters “This law is an attempt to make Pakistan a Western colony again.”

Muhammad Khan Sherani, head of the Council of Islamic Ideology, gave a news conference denouncing the “whole law” as wrong and un-Islamic. More than 5,800 cases of violence against women were reported in Punjab in 2013, some 74 percent of the national total that year.

Read the full story at Reuters.

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