Pakistani men can beat wives 'lightly,' Islamic council says

Pakistani women can vote, but should be lightly beaten if they defy their husbands' commands, an Islamic council recommends.

Story highlights

  • When beating a woman, a small stick is appropriate, proposal says
  • Proposal bans forceful beating; says aim is to instill fear, not to hurt

(CNN)The leader of a Pakistani Islamic council has proposed a bill that allows husbands to "lightly beat" their wives as a form of discipline.

In the 75-page proposal, Mohammad Khan Sheerani suggests a light beating is acceptable should the need arise to punish a woman. The proposal bans forceful beating, saying only a small stick is necessary to instill fear.
The Council of Islamic Ideology is a powerful constitutional body that advises the Pakistani legislature whether laws are in line with the teachings of Islam.
    Its proposed bill is seen as a response to the rejected Punjab Women Protection bill for abused women. The council shunned it as "un-Islamic" and wrote its own bill, which includes the recommendation for the light beating.
    "A husband should be allowed to lightly beat his wife if she defies his commands and refuses to dress up as per his desires; turns down demand of intercourse without any religious excuse or does not take bath after intercourse or menstrual periods," Pakistan's Express-Tribune newspaper cited the proposal as saying.
    The proposal also calls for a beating if a woman does not wear a hijab, if she interacts with strangers, speaks too loudly or gives others cash without her husband's permission, according to the newspaper.
    It also suggests bans on various activities, including women fighting in wars. But it allows women to participate in politics and become judges, and proposes that the need for a guardian for women of age is not required.
    The proposal also says that women should not be permitted to receive non-relatives or foreign officials, and they should not use birth control pills without asking their husbands.
    Proposals by the Council of Islamic Ideology are recommendations and are not applicable unless passed by legislators.