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Women Rights &

Empowerment
In Pakistan
Submitted To:MR. AFTAB BUTT
Submitted By:Umar Zahid

Regd. No. 0056

Aadil Shafique

Regd. No. 0069

Usman Iftikhar

Regd. No. 0070

Umair Khan

Regd. No. 0079

M.Com Section 2-B

University of Central Punjab


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Contents
Dedication.................................................................................................................. 5
Acknowledgement ..................................................................................................... 6
Abstract...................................................................................................................... 7
Evolution of Women.................................................................................................... 8
Status of Women in Islam........................................................................................... 9
Women rights in Islam.............................................................................................. 10
1. Education.......................................................................................................... 10
2. Worship............................................................................................................. 10
3. Charitable Acts.................................................................................................. 10
4. The Right to Own Wealth and Property..............................................................10
5. Freedom to Express One's Opinion....................................................................11
6. Participation in Jihad.......................................................................................... 11
7. Freedom to Choose Her Husband......................................................................11
8. A Woman's Guarantee in War is Acceptable......................................................12
9. The Right to Custody of Children.......................................................................12
10. Participation in Extending Co-operation for the Promotion of Good and Elimination of Evil.
Women rights in Quran............................................................................................. 13
This fact has been explained in the Quran:...........................................................19
The Status of Women in Pakistan:............................................................................21
Women's rights in Pakistan....................................................................................... 25
Education.............................................................................................................. 25
Marriage Rights..................................................................................................... 26
Regional differences.............................................................................................. 26
Workforce.............................................................................................................. 27
Effect of the Lack of Women in the Workforce on Economic Growth.....................27
Government.......................................................................................................... 27
Womens Right Violations Related to Violence......................................................27
Organizations Supporting Womens Rights............................................................28
Notable Pakistani Women...................................................................................... 28
NGOs....................................................................................................................... 28
Women's Rights in Muslim Family Law in Pakistan...................................................31
Introduction........................................................................................................... 31
The Muslim Family Laws Ordinance 1961..............................................................32
Section 4: inheritance of grandchildren of predeceased parents:......................32
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Section 5: registration of marriage:....................................................................32


Section 6: polygamy:.......................................................................................... 32
Section 7: procedure for talaq:...........................................................................33
The orthodox attack against the MFLO...............................................................35
Protection of Women (Criminal Laws Amendment) Act, 2006..................................36
UNIC AND NON GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS (NGOs)......................................37
NGO's CO-OPERATION WITH THE UNITED NATIONS...............................................37
ASSOCIATION WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC INFORMATION (DPI).................38
CRITERIA FOR ASSOCIATION WITH DPI..................................................................38
DPI-ASSOCIATED NGOs IN PAKISTAN:....................................................................38
ALL PAKISTAN WOMEN'S ASSOCIATION (APWA)........................................................40

Dedication
Praise to ALLAH almighty the
most beneficent and merciful.
we are thankfull to our teacher
Sir Aftab for HIS guidance and
help which has helped us in
accomplishing this project.

Acknowledgement

Abstract
Under Pakistan's dual system of civil and sharia law, females are considered equal under the law (ceteris paribus is
assumed) and in religious practice, rights accorded to them by Pakistan's Islamic Republic constitution of 1958 &
consolidated in 1973, which outlawed gender discrimination on all levels.[2] However, women face significant
challenges in society, the economy and face a slow lower courts judicial system in order to get justice[3] A census
has not been carried out in Pakistan since 1998 - but recent statistics from UNICEF shows that the female literacy
rate has risen significantly from a paltry 39.6 percent to a much improved rate of 61.5% for 15-24 year olds, a highly
significant factor given that 70% of Pakistan's population is under 30.

Evolution of Women
The story of Adam is of universal significance not only because of what is related about him but also for what we can
learn about his "mate". The name in the Torah to Adam's mate is Eve, there is no explanation how she acquired this
name, whether from the Creator or Adam, it simply appeared at the beginning of Genesis, Chapter 4. According to
Islamic Tradition, that same person is known by the Arabic name Hawa, and not Eve although again, this name does
not appear anywhere in the Holy Qur'an. As regards the creation of Hawa, the information in the Torah can be
summarized as follows: The LORD God said, "it is not good that man should be alone; I will make him an help
meet" ....the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam... and He took one of his ribs... and made He a
women... and brought her unto the man... and... Adam said,... "she shall be called woman" (Gen. 2:18,21-3)
The Holy Qur'an confirms that Hawa was indeed created out of Adam but is silent on the specific process used in her
creation. It states: "O mankind! Reverence your Guardian-Lord Who created you from a single person,
created, of like nature, his zaowja (wife/mate), and from them twain scattered (like seeds) countless men and
women" (S. 4-:1).

Status of Women in Islam


Islam is the only religions that give women the rights they deserve. Before going to look at women right in Islam let
us have a quick look upon a few important points. About 1/5 population of the world belongs to Islam, however this
population is divided in various societies, some societies are very close to their religion and some are not. Therefore,
it is best to judge the rights of women in Islam according to the holy Quran as well as authentic sayings of the
prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) instead of individual actions of some Muslims.
There might be a difference of opinion among the respected scholars of Islam, in such case the decision of the Holy
Quran as well as Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) will be the casting vote.
Now let us come towards our original topic that is the rights of women in Islam. Islam talks about the equality of
rights for women and men instead of identicality. The rights of women in Islam can be categorized as follows;
spiritual rights, social rights, economic rights, legal rights, educational rights as well as political rights. First let us
have a look upon the spiritual rights of a woman in Islam.
There are hundreds of verses in the holy Quran that talks about general spiritual rights of mankind without any
discrimination of gender. The Holy Quran says that God breathed a part of His own spirit into mankind; there is no
discrimination of gender in it. Besides general talk about the spiritual rights, the Almighty has also mentioned
specific spiritual superiority of women at many places in the Holy Quran for instance the almighty says in one of the
places in the Holy Quran that honor the womb that gave birth to you, there are many similar verses in the holy Quran
that talk about the honor and superiority of women in Islam.
Similarly, if we talk about the financial rights of a woman in Islam, Islam makes sure a complete financial security of
a woman. There is a compulsory marriage gift known as Mahar in Islam without which marriage is incomplete, the
worth of that marriage gift can be anything that a woman demand. Similarly, Similarly, Islam also makes sure a
predetermined right in inheritance for women as well. Likewise, if we talk about the social rights of a woman, Islam
gives honor to a woman in the form of wife, daughter, sister and most importantly a mother.
There are many verses in the holy Quran and various sayings of the Prophet (peace be upon him) that talk about the
rights of mothers, wife and other relations. Like is the case with the legal rights of a woman. The Islamic justice
system does not discriminate any guilty person on the basis of gender. The punishments are the same for both the
men as well as women. This was a brief account of some prominent rights for a woman in Islam.

Women rights in Islam


1. Education
The Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) once said:
"Acquiring knowledge is compulsory for every Muslim. (At-Tabarani)
This narration applies equally to men and women. "Knowledge" in this context refers primarily to
knowledge of the Holy Quran and Sunnah as no Muslim should be ignorant of his or her Faith, but it also covers
other areas of general education, which can contribute to the welfare of civilization. It is precisely the ignorance
about their religion among Muslims that has led to men oppressing women because they believe it is permitted,
women not demanding their God-given rights because they are ignorant of them, and children growing up to
perpetuate their parents' follies. Throughout Islamic history, men and women both earned respect as scholars and
teachers of the Faith. The books of Rijal (Reporters of Hadith) contain the names of many prominent women,
beginning with Aishah and Hafsah.

2. Worship
Both men and women are the slaves of Allah and have a duty to worship and obey Him. Men and
women have to pray, fast, give charity, go on pilgrimage, refrain from adultery, avoid the prohibited, enjoin the good
and forbid the evil, and so on. Because of women's roles as mothers, a role which does not end at a specific time but
is a round the-clock career, they have been exempted from attending the Mosque for the five daily prayers or for
Jumuah (Friday) prayer. Nevertheless, if they wish to attend the Mosque, no one has the right to stop them.

3. Charitable Acts
Men and women are both encouraged to give charity, and there is nothing to stop a woman giving
charity from her husband's income. Aishah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: "A woman will receive reward
(from Allah) even when she gives charity from her husband's earnings. The husband and the treasurer (who keeps the
money on the husband's behalf) will also be rewarded, without the reward of any of them decreasing." Asmaa once
said to the Prophet "O Messenger of Allah, I have nothing except what Zubair (her husband) brings home." The
Prophet told her: O Asmaa give in charity. Don't lock it lest your subsistence is locked."

4. The Right to Own Wealth and Property


A woman has the right to keep her property or wealth, whether earned or inherited, and spend it as she
may please.
This right was granted to Western women only very recently, and the women of India had to wait until 1956 for a
right which Muslim women have always taken for granted. Concerning the right to one's earnings, the Holy Quran
says:
"And wish not for the things in which Allah has made some of you excel the others. For men there is reward for what
they have earned, (and likewise) for women there is reward for what they have earned, and ask Allah of His Bounty.
Surely, Allah is Ever All-Knower of everything." (V. 4:32)

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5. Freedom to Express One's Opinion


Few societies exist in which the ordinary citizen can confront the ruler face to face and challenge his policies. Even
fewer societies allow women to be so bold, yet the Islamic ideal has always been open and accessible. This freedom
of expression is aptly demonstrated by a famous incident involving Omar the second Rightly- Guided Caliph. Omar
was once standing on the pulpit, severely reprimanding the people and ordering them not to set excessive amounts of
dower at the time of marriage. A woman got up and shouted, "Omar, you have no right to intervene in a matter which
Allah the All-Mighty has already decreed in Quran:
"But if you intend to replace a wife by another and you have given one of them a Qintar (of gold, i.e., a great amount
as Mahr bridal money), take not the least bit of it back; would you take it wrongfully without a right and (with) a
manifest sin?" (V.4:20)
After being reminded of this Verse, Omar withdrew his order, saying, "I am in the wrong and she is
correct."

6. Participation in Jihad
The battlefield is a place, which frightens many men let alone women. Due to the aggressive and
violent nature of war, only men have a duty to participate in Jihad (holy fighting in Allah's cause) while women are
exempted. A woman once asked the Prophet to allow women to go on Jihad with men because of its excellence and
the unlimited reward promised to Mujahideen (Muslim fighters) in the Hereafter. The Prophet replied: "For them is a
Jihad without fighting," which referred to the Hajj and Umrah. Nevertheless the Prophet did permit women to nurse
the injured and supply provisions to the Mujahideen at some battles. A woman from the tribe of Ghifar came with a
large group of women to the Prophet when he was preparing to leave for the conquest of Khaibar. She said: "O
Allah's Messenger, we wish to accompany you on this journey so that we may nurse the injured and help the
Muslims." The Prophet responded, Come may Allah shower His blessings upon you. Umm Atiyyah an Ansari
woman once said:
"I have participated in seven battles with the Prophet. I used to guard the camels of the Mujahideen in their absence,
cook the food, treat the injured and care for the sick."
Muadh Bin Jabal reports that his cousin Asmaa Bint Yazid killed nine Roman soldiers with a tent-pole during the
battle of Yarmuk.

7. Freedom to Choose Her Husband


The guardian of the girl whether her father, brother or uncle plays an important role in her marriage
such as finding a suitable match for her. But under no circumstance does this allow him to force his choice on her
against her wishes. She is free to accept or reject his choice, or make her own choice. A woman named Khansa Bint
Khidam once came to the Prophet and complained:
"My father has forced me to marry my cousin in order to raise his own status (in the eyes of the people)." The
Prophet told her that she was free to dissolve this marriage and choose whomever she wished to marry. She replied,
"I accept my father's choice, but my aim was to let the women know that fathers have no right to interfere in the
marriage." (Ahmad, Nasa'i and Ibn Majah)

8. A Woman's Guarantee in War is Acceptable


If a woman gives surety to a war-captive or gives him shelter, her guarantee will be accepted. Umm Hani, a cousin of
the Prophet, said to him after the conquest of Makkah: "I have given shelter to two of my in-laws." The Prophet said:
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O Umm Hani, we have given shelter to whom you have given shelter." According to another narrative, Umm Hani
gave shelter to a man but her cousin Ali tried to kill the man. She complained to the Prophet who endorsed her act of
giving shelter to the man.

9. The Right to Custody of Children


Divorce is especially painful and difficult when the couple has had children, and awarding custody to either party
involves difficulties. According to Western law, both father and mother have to prove to the Court that they are more
capable of looking after the children, and this often involves maligning the other party in order to strengthen their
own claims to custody. Islamic law has its own clear decision on this issue. Custody of young boys and girls goes to
the mother. The son stays with his mother until he is about seven or nine years of age, after which he is looked after
by the father. The daughter remains with her mother until she gets married. The exception is when the mother herself
re-marries, in which case custody may be awarded to someone else such as the girl's grandmother or aunt. This is
based on the Prophet's words to the divorcee:
"Your right to custody of the child is greater as long as you do not remarry."

10. Participation in Extending Co-operation for the Promotion of Good and


Elimination of Evil.
The Holy Quran deals with this subject in clear terms:
"The believers, men and women, are Awliyaa (helpers, supporters, friends, protectors) of one another; they enjoin (on
the people) Al-Ma'ruf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do), and forbid (people) from AlMunkar (i.e. polytheism and disbelief of all kinds, and all that Islam has forbidden); they perform As-Salat (Iqmatas-Salat), and give Zakat, and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah will have His Mercy on them. Surely, Allah is
All-Mighty, All-Wise." (V. 9:71)

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Women rights in Quran


Islam confers on women all the political and social rights, which man enjoys. She is entitled to all the
privileges bestowed upon man. Beside worldly matters, women are also equal to men in the spiritual sense. Allah
says in the Quran:
Surely, men who submit themselves to GOD and women who submit themselves to HIM, and believing men and
believing women, and obedient men and obedient women, and truthful men and truthful women, and men steadfast
in their faith and steadfast women, and men who are humble and women who are humble, and men who give alms
and women who give alms, and men who fast and women who fast, and men who guard their chastity and women
who guard their chastity and men who remember ALLAH much and women who remember HIM - ALLAH has
prepared for all of them forgiveness and a great reward (33:36)
This verse makes it clear that Muslim women stand on the same level with Muslim men and that they
can attain to all those spiritual heights to which men can attain. At several places in the Quran, believing men and
believing women are addressed in the same language and are made equally subject to the same commandments and
entitled to the same rights and privileges. Only their duties are different because their spheres of activity are
different.
When the Quran speaks about the souls of human beings, it does not differentiate between man and
woman.
O ye people ! fear your Lord who created you from a single soul and of its kind created its mate, and from them
twain spread many men and women; and fear ALLAH, in Whose name you appeal to one another, and fear him
particularly respecting ties of kinship. Verily ALLAH watches over you (4:2)
The words single soul in this verse signifies man and woman taken together. They are spoken of as one because they
are two things jointly performing one function. This verse affirms that women and men belong to the same kind and
species and those they have the same propensities.
The chains of the physical body are broken in the spiritual sphere and man and woman are regarded as one. The
equality of the status of the souls of man and woman is further emphasized when Allah also hints at the fact that man
and woman complement one another.
So their Lord answered their prayers saying, I will not allow the work of any worker from among you, whether male
or female, to be lost. You are from one another. Those therefore, who have emigrated, and have been driven out from
their homes, and have been persecuted in My cause, and have fought and been killed, I will surely remove from them
their evils and will cause them to enter gardens through which streams flow - a reward from Allah, and with Allah is
the best reward. (3:196)
The Quran does not stop at this level, it continues to explain these facts by different means and from
different angles. The Quran mentions the vision Hazrat Moses (peace be upon him) and as an explanation of one of
the incidents in his vision we read:
And as for the youth, his parents were believers, and we feared lest he should cause them trouble through rebellion
and disbelief.

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Here the expression his parents mean the human body and soul because the parents or the source from which springs
all moral qualities is the combination of the human body and soul which is the human being himself.
Allah has created man as a free agent. He bestowed upon him great natural powers to enable him to
perform the highest deeds of virtue. The human being can fulfill the great object of his life by making use of these
powers which spring from a combination of his body and soul. But if these powers are not kept under proper control,
they lead him to disbelief and transgression. These powers have been brought under proper control and their undue
vehemence curbed by the commandments and ordinances which Allah has revealed to the world in His religion.
Every human being is free to chose whether or not to follow the guidance of Allah. His freedom is of two
components. The freedom of thought controlled by the mind and the freedom of feeling controlled by the heart. The
feeling of the heart is a consequence of the thought of the mind. The former is subordinate to the latter. This is why
the two components of the inner self of the human being can be expressed figuratively by the words his parents
where the mind is likened to the father who is the head of the family and the heart is likened to the mother who is its
body.
As the peace and tranquility of the children in the family depends on the relation between the father
and the mother and the combined efforts of both of them, also the peace and tranquility of a person depends on the
harmony between his mind and heart as they form his spiritual parents.
The morals and behavior of any person are a result of the combination of the actions of his mind and
heart. If he does not profess the religion of Allah, then this combination is, in Divine estimation, a forbidden relation
which produces illegitimate fruit. The person is cast away from Allah and he lives in a ruinous hell. But when he
answers the call of Allah and embraces His religion and submits to Him, his mind and heart combine together to
fulfill the purpose of his existence. Then this relation becomes legal and bears legitimate blessed fruit. The person is
brought to a new spiritual life and attains to the peace and harmony of his inner self and he is rewarded by the love
and nearness of Allah.
Allah has hinted to this similarity when referring to women:
They are a garment to you, and you are garment to them. (2:188)
To understand this fully we need to understand the meaning of the word garment which is mentioned
here. The Quran itself explains the meaning of this word:
O children of Adam, we have indeed sent down to you raiment to cover your shame, and to be an elegant dress; but
the raiment of righteousness - that is the best. That is one of the signs of Allah, that they may remember. (7:27)
Here the Arabic word which was translated as raiment is libaas. A raiment is used to cover our
nakedness and also to to serve as a decoration and embellishment and make us look elegant. But this verse tells us
more. It continues to tell us that the apparel of piety is in fact the really fine raiment for us. Ordinary dress covers our
physical nakedness, while the apparel of piety covers our spiritual and moral nakedness. So the verse reminds us that
when we consider it to be necessary to have good clothing to cover our physical nakedness and use elegant dress to
to look graceful, we should all the more be anxious to cover our moral and spiritual nakedness. And the best raiment
for us is the apparel of righteousness and piety.
The word raiment is further explained in another verse of the Quran:

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And Allah has made for you, of that which He has created,things affording shade, and He has made for you in the
mountains, places of shelter and He has made for you garments which protect you from heat and coats of mail which
protect you in your wars. Thus does He complete His favours on you that you may submit to Him. (16:82)
The verse show that garments are used for protection form heat and also for protection in battles. But
again the verse tells us more. The verse ends with the phrase Thus does He complete His favours on you, that you
may submit to Him. This draws our attention to the fact that the real purpose of this favour from Allah is to enable us
to submit to Him. Hence we start to think about this verse in the spiritual sense. The heat from which our garments
are protecting us can be understood as the ruinous hell within the inner self of a person who is disobedient to his
Creator. He creates this hell himself out of his own choice and he has the ability to protect himself from it through
following the guidance of Allah.
Also, the protection in wars can be taken as protection in spiritual battles. Islamic Jihad (striving for
the cause of Allah) does not only involve killing and being killed but in striving hard to win the pleasure of Allah.
This can best be done by serving the cause of truth with all one's might under the command and guidance of a
Divinely appointed reformer. This is Jihad in the truest sense of the word. It can take the form of preaching and
dissemination of the teachings of Islam by peaceful means or of defending it by the sword from being destroyed by
its enemies. But the Great Jihad as termed by the Holy Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)
is the Jihad against one's baser self. i.e., against one's evil desires and propensities or against Satan.
So when we protect ourselves against our enemies in this spiritual battle, we can attain to victory in
the form of true submission to Allah.
If we now combine the meaning of this verse with the meaning in the previously mentioned verse, we
understand that Allah has bestowed upon us the ability to be righteous and pious so that we can protect ourselves
from all evil which prevents our souls from surrendering to Allah.
We can also see that the word garment is used to signify the raiment of piety which us the means of
the protection of the soul against all evil and hence, it is the means of attaining to true submission to Allah.
With this understanding of the word garment, we can now return to the original quotation:
They are a garment for you, and you are a garment for them. (2:188)
In the light of the above, we can now see that this expression can be applied to the two components of
the human inner self. Exactly as the husband and wife complement one another and protect one another against the
enemies who threaten the peace of their family, the two components of the inner self of the human being complement
one another and protect one another from all evil in their Great Jihad. Righteousness will prevent a person from
thinking wickedly and hence it will protect from his heart from inclining towards evil and at the same time
righteousness will prevent him from evil desires which can poison his mind with evil.
Thus, righteousness protects a person from the ruinous hell which can be created by him through his
disobedience to his Creator.
The two components of his inner self protect each other and adorn one another with the raiment of
piety and this will lead him to complete submission to Allah.

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After attaining to true submission to Allah and after following His guidance, a person naturally awaits
some results and gains. This is again similar to the case of a husband and wife who, after establishing their marriage,
desire to have children. In this connection Allah says:
Your wives are a tilth for you, so approach your tilth when and how you like, and send ahead some good for
yourselves and fear Allah and know that you shall meet Him, and bear good tidings to those who obey. (2:224)
The word tilth means a piece of land ploughed for sowing or actually sown with some crop or even
under crop. It also means crop or produce of a land. It is also used to signify gain, acquisition or earning and also
reward and recompense. The wife is likened to a tilth here because she is like a tilth in which the seed of progeny is
sown to bear crop in the form of children.
A wise husbandman selects the best soil, prepares the best tilth, secures the best seed and chooses the
best time and manner of sowing it. Similarly, a man should select a wife who is best suited as a tilth, i.e., pious and
well qualified and of loving nature for the benefit of his children. He should love her and treat her well and look after
her so that her life will be happy and contented and she may become best disposed to bring up the children well.
Lastly, he should keep himself in a state of good physical and moral health so that his seed for his tilth may also be
healthy in every respect. Then he will ensure that he will reap a good harvest in the form of pious and righteous
children.
Considering this verse in the spiritual sense, we see that it is giving advice for attaining to true and complete
submission to Allah. It tells a person to be careful about his ideas and opinions because whatever good or evil he
conceals in his mind will serve like a seed for his inclinations and actions and it will bear good or evil fruit for
himself. So the words send ahead some good for yourselves means plant a seed in your tilth for the good of your own
selves. The means of sending this good is found in the words fear Allah which shows that if a person wants to reap a
good harvest for his actions, he should prevent evil from its very roots through being righteous.
The phrase and know that you shall meet Him can be taken as a continuation for the words fear Allah
which means that you should fear Allah because one day you shall meet Him, on the Day of Judgment.
The phrase can also be taken as glad tidings, for those who will be righteous will have the honor of
meeting Allah in this life, which is the aim of every true and sincere servant of Allah. This is followed by the words
and bear glad tidings to those who obey, which means that this glad tiding is for the true believers. So this means that
those who believe sincerely and follow this injunction and become righteous will secure for themselves the best
results and gains. They will reap good fruit and they will enjoy the love and nearness of Allah and the true
relationship with Him. The will be brought to a new life like a newborn child and they will enjoy a life of peace and
tranquility, and inner paradise.
When a person gains good fruit out of following the guidance of Allah, he becomes encouraged and
he tries to strive more in this path so that he can achieve more results and increase the good he gained out of it. His
inner self reaches the phase of parenthood. His will and behaviour combine together to look after his faith and
protect it. Exactly like the parents who combine their efforts to look after their children and protect them. His will
submits completely to his Creator and he becomes devoted to Allah's religion and protects and nourishes it like the
mother who nourishes her young children with love and care.
The Quran has given us a practical example of this advanced stage of human spiritual ascent in the
person of Mary, the mother of Jesus (peace be upon him):
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And remember when the angels said: O Mary, Allah has chosen thee and purified thee and chosen thee above the
women of all peoples. (3:43)
Mary is the example of a righteous believer and a sincere follower of the guidance of Allah. Again we
read about Mary:
Then she brought him to her people, carrying him. They said 'O Mary thou hast done a strange thing.
O sister of Aaron, thy father was not a wicked man nor was thy mother an unchaste woman'.
Then she pointed to him. They said, 'How can we talk to one who is a child in the cradle?'
He said, 'I am a servant of Allah. He has given me the book and made me a Prophet;
And He has made me blessed wheresoever I may be and has enjoined upon me Prayer and almsgiving so long as I
live.
And He has made me dutiful towards my mother and He has not made me haughty and unblessed. (19:28-33)
These verses tell us the story of Mary when she went to her people carrying Jesus (peace be upon him). The
word for carrying him means that Mary believed in Jesus (peace be upon him) and helped him in his mission. When
her people told her that she has done a strange thing, she silently pointed to Jesus (peace be upon him) who started
introducing his religion to them.
In the spiritual sense, Mary signifies a true believer and a sincere follower of a prophet of Allah, who is
acting upon the guidance furnished by this prophet and who is preaching his religion to others.
The words carrying him means that she has embraced his religion and reflected it in her person. When she
declared this to her people and preached her religion to them, they rejected it because it was strange and unknown to
them. So she silently started introducing her faith.
She pointed to the truth by her behavior and conduct, by her complete submission to Allah and her true
devotion to His service.
She became a manifestation of the Unity of Allah.
The disbelievers could see the spiritual station to which she had attained. The fruits she achieved and gained
proved the truth of her beliefs and the prophet she followed. She taught the people to follow the guidance of Allah
through her actions which were in full compliance with the commandments and ordinances of her religion.
The verses explain to us the perfect way of preaching a religion. Mary signifies every sincere and true
follower of a prophet of Allah whether this follower is a man or a woman. A female example is used because she is
representing a person who reached this spiritual level through sincerely following the example of a prophet of Allah
and though being a reflection of the prophet. Mary is also introduced as a mother to indicate that she represents the
true believer who who has already attained to true submission to Allah and who has already gained his fruit. He was
granted a new spiritual life and has established a strong relationship with Allah. He has now reached the stage of
looking after his faith and protecting it and nourishing it. So he has spiritually reached the stage of motherhood of his
religion.

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This fact has been explained in the Quran:


Allah sets forth for those who disbelieve the example of the wife of Noah and the wife of Lot. They were under two
righteous servants of Ours, but they acted unfaithfully towards them. So they availed them naught against Allah, and
it was said to them, `Enter the Fire, ye twain, along with those who enter.'
And Allah sets forth for those who believe the example of the wife of the wife of Pharaoh when she said, `My Lord!
build for me a house with Thee in the Garden, and deliver me from Pharaoh and his work, and deliver me from the
wrongdoing people;
And the example of Mary, the daughter of Imran, who guarded her chastity - so We breathed there in of Our Spirit
-and she fulfilled in her person the words of her Lord contained in His books and was one of the obedient. (66:11-13)
In these verse we can see three examples of three different states of the inner self of a human being. The wives of
Noah (peace be upon him) and Lot (peace be upon him) represent the disbelievers who reject the truth and do not
benefit from the companionship of a righteous man or a prophet of Allah. Their inner self is in a state which incites
the soul to evil. The wife of Pharoah stands for those believers who, vthough passionately desiring and praying to get
rid of sin, yet cannot fully dissociate themselves from evil influences, represented by Pharoah, and having arrived at
the stage of the self-accusing soul, sometimes fail and falter. Mary represents those righteous servants of Allah, who
have closed all avenues of sin and have made peace with Allah and as a result, they are blessed with Divine
inspiration. They have reached the stage of the soul at rest.
Mary here represents those who attained to the true submission to Allah. Her example can be followed by both men
and women. The human race was created for one purpose, the worship of Allah. Every person whether a man or a
woman is responsible to fulfill the purpose of his existence. Starting with himself, he should combine the efforts of
his inner self together to attain to true submission to Allah. When he reaches the state of peace and tranquility of his
own self, he can bring this paradise to his own home and family. This can be achieved by the combined efforts of the
members of the family, who should all, individually and together as one unit, submit truly to Allah. Once this is
achieved, the sphere of their effort can be increased to include other members of the society who should in the same
manner combine their efforts together to bring more people to the true submission to Allah. Hence, the whole world
can be brought to true submission to Allah and peace and tranquility can spread in the earth thus bringing paradise to
earth.
This is the essence of Khilafat which springs from the inner depths of the human self. Khilafat combines together the
efforts of the true servants of Allah under one leadership to bring the whole world to the true submission of Allah.
We who live in this age are very fortunate. We have witnessed the rebirth of Islam, the true religion of Allah, which
was brought to the world by the best Prophet of mankind (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). The Promised
Messiah (peace be upon him) revived this religion by following in the steps of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings
of Allah be upon him) and he planted the seed of Khilafat which is growing into a blessed tree by the efforts of his
sincere followers under the leadership of his true successors. This tree needs the combined efforts of both men and
women to keep it growing. May Allah enable us all to nourish this tree and to be of the fortunate ones who will bring
the whole world to the true submission to Allah and spread His unity throughout the universe. Amen.

18

The Status of Women in Pakistan:


Women's rights in Pakistan' is a big question often raised in the West. It is believed that women have no rights or
privileges in the male dominated society of Pakistan.
Before discussing whether women have rights in Pakistani society or not, first understand Pakistani society.
All citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law.
There shall be no discrimination on the basis of alone".

"No citizen otherwise qualified for appointment in the service of Pakistan shall be discriminated against in respect of
any such appointment on the ground only
"Steps shall be taken to ensure full participation of women in all spheres of national life".
"The state shall protect the marriage, the family, the mother"The state shallthatwomen are not employed in
vocations unsuited to their alone"Constitution of PakistanArticles 25, 27, 35, 37
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person. Men and women of full age without any limitation
due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry or to have a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to
marriage and its dissolution. Marriage shall be entered in to only with the free and full consent of the attending
spouses. The family is the natural and fundamental group, unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and
state."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 3 & 16.
According to Farkhanda Lodi; a spirited feminist writer and an ex-chief librarian at the Government College, Lahore
says in an interview with The Daily Dawn, November 27, 2001:
"Man is a moment but woman is life."
All these beautifully constructed sentences take a180 degrees turn while considering the status of specifically
'women' in Pakistan. Our women still seem to be living in the dark ages. It is a matter of deep sorrow that being
Muslims we have completely forgotten the status of women given by Islam. Annie Bessant in her book, 'The Life
and Teachings of Mohammad (P.B.U.H)' says, "I often think that women are freer in Islam than in Christianity.
Women are more respected by Islam then by the faith which preaches monogamy."
Islam was the first religion to recognize the equality of es and granted women rights unheard of 1400 years ago.
Their other tragedy lies in the fact that what was highly progressive in those early days of Islam and which ought to
have been kept in step with the changing of the realities of life through Ijtehad, was frozen in that position through
retrogressive interpretation of religious edicts. In addition to that, male chauvinism and cultural taboos, some of them
derived from the Hindu society have combined to keep our women down.
In Pakistan the story of a woman's deprivations start even before her birth, because the girl-child is not a particularly
'wanted' child. Her life is a journey of subordination. When she is young her father decides for her on matters ranging
from whether she will get any education, to the all important matters of whom she would marry. After marriage, her
19

husband and her in-laws get hold of her reins and decide matters on her behalf; like shall she or shall she not have a
child every year, or whether she would produce only boys, or whether she can seek independent employment and so
on. Finally when she becomes old and her husband gets weak or may have gone already, it is her son or sons who
decide her fate in the declining years of her life. As if this is not enough, the whole society acts as an oppressor,
browbeating her in to obedience. Thus, the word 'woman' in Pakistan is synonymous with 'endurance'. She is simply
forced to accept certain bare facts of life once she grows up to be a woman. Be it on streets, or for that matter in
restaurants, a woman is first and foremost required to be alert. It is best to try and not notice, women are told.
According to Hina Jilani, Lawyer and Human Rights Activist, "the right to life of women in Pakistan is conditional
on their obeying social norms and traditions."
In addition to that, women in Pakistan face all kinds of gross violence and abuse at the hands of the male
perpetuators, family members and state agents. Multiple forms of violence include rape; domestic abuse as spousal
murder, mutilation, burning and disfiguring faces by acid, beatings; ritual honour-killings and custodial abuse and
torture. According to a report by Amnesty International released on June 15, 2000, several hundred women and girls
die each year in so-called 'honor-killings' in Pakistan, in a backdrop to government inaction. She is killed like a bird
in family feuds to create evidence of "illicit" connections and cover them under the garb of "grave and sudden
provocation" to escape severe punishment. The practice of Summary-killing of a woman suspected of an illicit
liaison, known as 'Karo Kari' in Sindh and Balochistan, is known to occur in all parts of the country. Kari's (the
females suspected of illicit relationships) remain dishonored even after death. Their bodies are thrown in rivers or
buried in special hidden Kari graveyards. Nobody mourns for them or honors their memory by performing their
relevant rights. Karo's (the males suspected of illicit relationships) by contrast are reportedly buried in the communal
graveyards. The promise made by the country's Chief Executive in April 2000, that all 'honor' killings would be
treated as murders has yet to be converted into anything nearing reality.
Women who report rape or ual harassment encounter a series of obstacles. These include not only the police, who
resist filing their claims and misreport their statements but also the medico-legal doctors, who focus more on their
virginity status and lack the training and expertise to conduct adequate examinations. Furthermore, women who file
charges open themselves up to the possibility of being prosecuted for illicit if they fail to 'prove' rape under the
1979 Hudood Ordinance which criminalizes adultery and fornication. As a result, when women victims of violence
resort to the judicial system for redress, they are more likely to find further abuse and victimization. As far as
domestic violence is concerned, it is the most under-reported crime because it is generally condoned by social
customs and considered as a private family matter.
A documentary titled 'Murder in Purdah'; a 28 minutes B.B.C production (1999) very effectively highlights the status
of women in Pakistan, which is considered the citadel of Islam. It discusses candidly the forms of violence against
women. The two main kinds of violence discussed are domestic violence, including burnings and disfiguring bodies
by acid and ritual honor-killings. It also pinpoints the double standards of our police as majority of the women are
put behind the bars under the Zina Ordinance. In this documentary when a question was put to a group of males of
one of the Katchi Abadis of Mardan, that why do not they let their women go outside? The answers they gave
reflected their myopic and narrow-minded ideas about women. The first respondent said that the Islamic teachings
restrict them to do so and there are various dangers attached to a woman's life if she goes outside. The second
respondent said that a woman's mind is weak and she can easily be swayed unlike a man. The third respondent
interestingly was of the view that it will become a common habit if he will not stop his sister from going outside.
These male chauvinistic answers emphasize the 'COM modification' of women whose role is limited to the four walls
of her home and is not eligible to perform any fruitful task that might be of use in the development of the society.
20

The most emotional and sensitive portion of the documentary are the burnt women shown in hospitals. They are
there as a result of the wrath of their husbands or the in-laws. The statistics of such reported cases were alarming. In
a hospital whose name was not disclosed, seven to eight such cases per week were reported. The doctors were of the
view that these women become easy victims at the hands of the males without any solid reason and only one out of
ten women is fortunate enough to survive.
The documentary also stresses the fact that the principle reason as to why women become easy prey to the wrath of
males is due to their low literacy rate. This low level of education in women is justified by the masses as being in
accordance to the Islamic teachings. However, Islam gives equal right to both men and women to attain education. It
is a sorrowful affair that our neighboring Muslim countries, especially Iran has excelled as a nation by giving equal
opportunities to women in the sphere of education while remaining in their socio-cultural-religious parameters.
In a documentary titled 'Cyberspaces and Cultural Boundaries' (2000), ambitious women leaders from the Middle
East and some parts of Africa have given their viewpoints about the new information technology at the turn of the
21st century, that has brought about immense opportunities for not only men but also women (especially for Muslim
women) in their communities according to their cultural constraints. The idea promoted in this documentary by the
Muslim women is not to change the culture of their countries to empower themselves but to be proud of what they
have and bring some modifications in it by connecting to the developed cosmopolitan world. Bushra Jabre of
Lebanon; proud of being an Arab Muslim in the documentary is shown using videos in her advocacy and training
project to empower Arab women. She asks them to do their analysis in relation to the video shown of women who
have reached to the top remaining within their cultural boundaries. She focuses not on women development alone
like in the West. In every video a husband is shown as a believer and supporter. The idea is not to empower women
over men but empowering women equal to that of men. Here the women are not asking for the impossible as the
change is positive where both men and women have an equal role to play and work collectively towards socioeconomic development.
Considering the present condition of Pakistani women even such positive development for them seems to be a far-off
cry, as women there do not even have the right to own their bodies, being exposed to the traditional male control
over every aspect of their bodies, speech and behavior with stoicism, as part of their Kismat (fate). Defiance of any
sort translates into undermining male honor and ultimately family and community honor. Severe punishments are
reported for bringing food late, for answering back or for undertaking forbidden trips etc. According to Sajida; a
journalist in Lark Ana, Feb 1999, "women in Pakistan are killed like hens; they have no way to escape and no say in
what happens to them."
Information technology, which has been supported to a great extent by our present regime for the economic uplift of
our country has the potential to improve the status of women as this is a kind of technology that is making it easier to
be a woman at home than a man. Men, as we all know love to spend time outside the home, generally bragging about
their feats, which may be little enough- but who cares? By contrast women are supposed to sit at home, taking care
of it and tending to the children. The information technology however, is changing all that. Since it allows people to
log on to their work while sitting at home and only coming in to their offices for meetings or for using confidential
data that cannot be allowed to leave the office premises. This means that a woman may sit at home and take care of
their children and between the naps, feeding and diapers, take breaks to get work done. But this is only possible
when the women in Pakistan have the skills and the necessary expertise to use it. This needs to be started from the
grassroots level, as two percent of the country's elite using this technology would not make much of a difference. The
'difference' is badly required in this age of global communication and the competitive 21st century, as who ever will
have the access to this knowledge will be the winner. Unless and until women are given formal education, not only
21

there would be no change in their status but also the country would suffer in terms of social and economic
development. Women no doubt are the backbone of any society and according to Amartya Sen.; Nobel Laureate
Economist, "Sustainable development cannot take place until women of a country get their due rights."
The role of media in Pakistan has also been lethargic in terms of improving the status of women. Pakistan television
(PTV) plays have a crosscutting viewer ship, especially among women. However, plays mostly revolve around
formula-based story lines, which cast women in either submissive roles or at the other extreme as westernized
glamour girls. A recently conducted survey (2001) by a United Nations Development Programmed on 'Portrayal of
women in media' indicates that the viewers' preferences are now tilting in favor of more gender-balanced portraying
of women. The respondents of the survey feel that the negative stereotypical images of highly emotional and
suppressed women should be reduced and downplayed. This is a sure sign of improvement in women's status, as it
would leave a positive impact on the male members of our society regarding the productive role of women and who
might then stop considering them as mere vegetables who have no say of their own. Thus, revolution is required in
the thinking pattern of the male members to change the existing notion of power. The requirement in the present
scenario is not to empower one gender over the other but a balance between the two genders towards achievement of
joint goals, better society and better future for the upcoming generations by being proud of one's own culture.
The two ways through which this target can be achieved is firstly through proper commitment of our home media
(TV, Radio Newspapers and Films) that has the power to mould public opinion and here the government's support
has to be unconditional. The second way is the evolutionary process through which the mothers by being
independent of religion, caste or creed can instill in their children from the very beginning that both the genders are
important and 'honorable' and have a key role to play in the society. But the problem is that this is only possible when
women are educated and supported by the government as equal and feeling beings to benefit from the latest
technology and contribute efficiently to the country's uplift

Women's rights in Pakistan


Women's rights in Pakistan is a prominent issue, but many activists such as the National Plan of Action for Women
and the All-Pakistan Womens Association are working hard towards equality.[citation needed] There are many ways
in which the rights of women are abused such as; domestic abuse, lack rights in education, marriage, and the work
force. Unfortunately this affects Pakistan economically. Although there are strong efforts, inspiring women figures
and organizations working to fight these oppressive acts against women, the lack of womens rights is still a pressing
issue in Pakistan.

Education
The literacy rate of females in Pakistan is at 39.6 percent compared to that of males at 67.7 percent. The objectives of
education policies in Pakistan aim to achieve equality in education between girls and boys and to reduce the gender
gap in the educational system. However, the policy also encourages girls, mainly in rural areas of Pakistan, to acquire
basic home management skills, which are preferred over full-scale primary education. The attitudes towards women
in Pakistani culture make the fight for educational equality more difficult. The lack of democracy and feudal
practices of Pakistan also contribute to the gender gap in the educational system. This feudal system leaves the
underpowered, women in particular, in a very vulnerable position. The long-lived socio-cultural belief that women
play a reproductive role within the confines of the home leads to the belief that educating women holds no value.
Although the government declared that all children of the ages 5-16 can go to school, there are 7.261 million
children out of school at the primary level in Pakistan, and 58% are female (UNESCO, Education for All Global
22

Monitoring Report 2011). Although girls have the right to get an education legally, in many rural regions of Pakistan
girls are strongly discouraged from going to school and discriminated against, as there are violent acts such as acid
throwing which many girls fall victim to for attending school.

Marriage Rights
The current laws enacted in Pakistan state that the legal age for men to be married is 18 and women 16.Many girls
are still married off into a child marriage, and many complications with this can occur as childbirth from a child can
cause complications with the baby and mother. A common system in place with marriage is the Dowry system in
which a low or no status is assigned to a girl right from the prenatal stage. There are issues around the dowry system
such as dowry related violence, in which the wife is abused by her husband. Before the marriage, the groom will
make heavy financial demands on the brides family as a condition of marrying their daughter. In order for many
parents daughters to get married, they start obtaining loans from people, getting interest based loans from banks,
utilizing their life savings and even sell their homes,(JAHEZ (Dowry Conditions Set by the Groom for Marriage)).
Within the dowry system, abuse is likely to occur after the marriage has taken place. Prior to the marriage, if certain
conditions that the groom and his family have put in place are not met, they will threaten to break off the marriage,
which would be devastating for the bride and her family because of the lengths the brides family already had to go
through to pay her dowry and because traditionally it is a great dishonor to the family.

Regional differences
Women in elite urban districts of Pakistan enjoy a far more privileged lifestyle than those living in rural tribal areas.
Women in urbanized districts typically lead more elite lifestyles and have more opportunities for education. Rural
and tribal areas of Pakistan have an increasingly high rate of poverty and alarmingly low literacy rates. In 2002 it
was recorded that 81.5 percent of 15-19 year old girls from high-income families had attended school while 22.3
percent of girls from low-income families had ever attended school. In comparison, it was recorded that 96.6 percent
of Pakistani boys ages 1519 coming from high-income families had attended schooling while 66.1 percent of 15-19
year old boys from low-income families had attended school. Girls living in rural areas are encouraged not to go to
school because they are needed in the home to do work at a young age. In most rural villages, secondary schooling
simply does not exist for girls, leaving them no choice but to prepare for marriage and do household tasks. These
rural areas often have inadequate funding and schooling for girls is at the bottom of their priorities.

Workforce
In 2008, it was recorded that 21.8 percent of females were participating in the labor force in Pakistan while 82.7
percent of men were involved in labor. The rate of women in the labor force has an annual growth rate of 6.5 percent.
Out of the 47 million employed peoples in Pakistan in 2008, only 9 million were women and of those 9 million, 70
percent worked in the agricultural sector. The income of Pakistani women in the labor force is generally lower than
that of men, due in part to a lack of formal education.

Effect of the Lack of Women in the Workforce on Economic Growth


Women are subjected to severe employment discrimination in Pakistan. Clearly the low female literacy rate is a large
obstacle in women taking part in the workforce. In addition, today females make up only 15% of the formal labor
force in Pakistan, and although this is almost triple what is was 20 years ago, this is still a very dismal amount.
Pakistans policy makers worry that increasing the womens workforce will increase the unemployment level.
However, Pakistan is largely missing out on economic growth through foreign investment as manufacturing service
industries today employ large numbers of women from Mexico to Bangladesh. In addition, for Pakistan to
significantly improve its female labor force participation rates, it will have to address a range of structural barriers
23

and social constraints, many of which are reinforced by Islamization("Gender Disparities, Economic Growth and
Islamization in Pakistan."). Islam has not promoted womens rights in the workforce since it values women as
keepers of the family honor, gender segregation and institutionalization of gender disparities. Furthermore women
who do work are often paid less than minimum wage, because they are seen as lesser beings in comparison to men,
and their working conditions vis--vis females are often hazardous; having long working hours, no medical
benefits, no job security, subjected to job discrimination, verbal abuse and ual harassment and no support from male
oriented labor unions(An In-Depth Analysis of Womens Labor Force Participation in Pakistan).

Government
Pakistans constitution places no constraints on female participation in government. In 1988, Benazir Bhutto became
the first female prime minister of a Muslim state and is Pakistan's first and only female prime minister to date.

Womens Right Violations Related to Violence


Studies done by several organizations show that has been a 13% increase in violence against women in Pakistan in
the year 2009.Rape, gang-rape, domestic violence, honour killing (Karo Kari), vani (exchange of women in settling
the disputes), and forced/child marriages are some examples of womens rights violations that have occurred in
Pakistan. Honour killing, or Karo Kari, is one example of the many violent actions against women especially, in
Pakistani society. Honour killing occurs when a family member because they have dishonored the family with acts
that are viewed as immoral. There is also the common and accepted domestic violence, in which husbands beat their
wives when upset. In addition to this form of violence against women, their rights in rural areas are even fewer as
women are plagued with fear of acid attacks, forced marriages, vigilante justice, mutilations, etc.

Organizations Supporting Womens Rights


The Malala fund, founded by Malala Yousafzai, is an organization that promotes education for girls around the world
that do not receive a formal education. The Mukhtar Mai Womens Organisation founded by Mukhtar Mai,
specializes in ending oppression through education and improving womens rights in Pakistan. The Pakistani
Womens Human Rights Organization, (PWHRO), is devoted to fighting for womens rights in Pakistan. They
encourage the Pakistani government to enforce laws that curb the violence against women that occurs in households
as well as workplaces. The PWHRO also demands that the government takes immediate action to restrain the self
made law of Karo Kari, or honor killing. The PWHRO strives to assist women in exercising their rights to live
without fear.

Notable Pakistani Women


Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani girl who stood up for the education of young girls and was shot by the Taliban. Due
to the amount of press coverage after the shooting, people around the world gained awareness for the lack of girls
receiving a formal education in many countries.Malala has inspired many people, to share their voices and terminate
the silence that comes with oppressive issues, such as the lack of education for women.
Another inspiring public figure is Mukhtaran Bibi who later changed her name to Mukhtar Mai. Mukhtaran is a
human rights activist and survivor of a gang rape involving six men. Instead of committing suicide, which is a
common reaction victims of rape suffer, she founded two schools for girls and is advocating for womens rights
through the organization she founded. Mukhtaran is another example of how women are taking a stand for their own
rights.

24

NGOs
Mohammad Ali Jinnah said in Speech delivered at Islamia College for women March 25, 1940:
I have always maintained that no nation can ever be worthy of its existence that cannot take its women along with
the men. No struggle can ever succeed without women participating side by side with men. There are two powers in
the world; one is the sword and the other is the pen. There is a great competition and rivalry between the two. There
is a third power stronger than both, that of the women.
The father of nation knew the importance of more than half of population and her participation. He time and again
mentioned the equal rights of women in his speeches, In 1940 he said:
No nation can rise to the height of glory unless your women are side by side with you; we are victims of evil
customs. It is a crime against humanity that our women are shut up within the four walls of the houses as prisoners.
There is no sanction anywhere for the deplorable condition in which our women have to live.
When it comes to rights and governments responsibility to protect and provide people with their rights; it is known
truism that governments cannot ensure. At micro level there semi or non-governmental organizations work either to
guide government what to do or assist in what government is already doing. These auxiliary organizations help
governments in one or other way. Such bodies are called semi or non-governmental organizations or NGOs.
To larger extent NGOs are playing positive role beside few negative aspects. In recent few years Women Rights have
been highlighted on international levels from Pakistan; NGOs have major role in promoting their rights. Huge
number of NGOs on National and Local levels working for women issues. According to a research conducted by the
students of University Of Karachi/ Department of Social Work in 2004, 101 registered NGOs working for the
womans right in Pakistan. Few are working for health awareness, few are engaged in providing loans on micro
levels, few working for physically or ually exploited women, few guide women to start small entrepreneurs and few
are only busy in women empowerment.
NGOs working for women have addressed issues like education, health, independence, employment, some are
working to stop the injustice against women and raise their status as individuals in society. NGOs working for the
protection and rehabilitation of women from the crimes such as ual and domestic violence, Acid Throwing, and
provision of legal protection to the victims are more active e.g. Dastak, Bargad, Aurat Foundation etc.
In British era a movement was started for women by Fatima Jinnah and few other vocal women of that time. The
significant outcome of movement can be measured with an example that in early 20th century only four out of
thousand women in this region were literate and according to the CIA website the literacy rate of total population of
Pakistan as of 2005 was 49.9% where as the share of females in this is 36%.
With the time, the motives and goals of this movement kept changing according to the need of hour. In an article,
Lewis (1994, here) said:
The womens movement has shifted from reacting to government legislation to focusing on three primary goals:
securing womens political representation in the National Assembly; working to raise womens consciousness,
particularly about family planning; and countering suppression of womens rights by defining and articulating
positions on events as they occur in order to raise public awareness.
Few of the NGOs have done remarkable work however urban areas have been the preferences of the NGOs. Woman
in rural areas is still spending same life and facing same problems; her previous generations have seen. Only few
25

unfortunate enough rural women victimized by Wadaira system(feudal); get attention of NGOs. Mukhtaraan mai
and Dr. Shazia have been vital examples. These women have been magnet for media whereas lucrative for NGOs in
bringing funds and fame. Destructive side of the picture is unimaginably sad. Where many NGOs have helped poor
women for good cause, many have just exploited women for commercial reasons.
However role of NGOs can be made a lot better when the preferences are well defined and the motives are clearer.
Few commercial NGOs have done real harm and that spoiled constructive image of the NGOs system in Pakistan.
Let a good thing remain good and play the role that is best for all. NGOs with wrong motives should be discouraged
who are misusing of the funds they collected from international Donner Agencies in the name of rehabilitation of
victims. Moreover bringing bad name not only by exploiting Pakistani women issues on international levels but also
using funds for their own selves

26

Women's Rights in Muslim Family Law in Pakistan


Introduction
Holding certain of its provisions to be repugnant to Islam, on 5 January 2000 the Federal Shariat Court directed the
President of Pakistan to take steps to amend the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance 1961 (MFLO) so as to bring the
provisions into conformity with the injunctions of Islam. The Ordinance has long been regarded by activists as one
of the few pieces of legislation protecting womens rights within the family. Following the judgement, however,
certain provisions shall cease to have effect from 31 March 2000.
This Special Bulletin is an attempt to provide activists and all those concerned about womens rights within the
family a tool for lobbying and advocacy around the issue. It shows how, over four decades, there has been a
consistent demand for the protection and strengthening of legal provisions favoring Muslim womens rights within
the family1. This demand has been strongly supported by all four major government commissions on womens
status, from the 1956 Commission (headed by a former Chief Justice) to the 1997 Commission (headed by a sitting
judge of the Supreme Court). This Bulletin therefore includes extracts relating to marriage, child marriage,
polygamy, divorce and inheritance from the:
1956 Report of the Commission on Marriage and Family Laws (Rashid Commission);
1976 Report of the Pakistan Womens Rights Committee;
1985 Report of the Status of Women Commission (Zari Sarfraz Commission);
1997 Report of the Commission of Inquiry for Women.
The Bulletin also points out that Pakistans national and international commitments oblige the state to protect and
strengthen positive provisions in personal status laws and therefore includes relevant extracts from:
The National Plan of Action (the officially adopted blueprint for implementing the Beijing Platform for Action).
The Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW);
The Bulletin brings together two written submissions presented to the FSC by womens and human rights
organizations during the Lahore hearings in the case. Activists regularly attended the hearings on the petitions at the
Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Islamabad benches, and the court acknowledged their presence by hearing their
arguments and accepting written presentations. Finally, the Special Bulletin contains two statements from human
rights organizations in the immediate aftermath of the January 5 judgment.

The Muslim Family Laws Ordinance 1961


Hearings on some 37 petitions that challenged various substantive sections of the MFLO as violative of the
Injunctions of Islam had been continuing in the FSC since 1993. The sections challenged were

27

Section 4: inheritance of grandchildren of predeceased parents:

In the event of the death of any son or daughter of the propositus before the opening of succession, the children of
such son or daughter, if any, living at the time the succession opens, shall per stirpes receive a share equivalent to the
share which such son or daughter, as the case may be, would have received if alive.
Section 5: registration of marriage:

(1) Every marriage solemnized under Muslim Law shall be registered in accordance with the provision of this
Ordinance.
(2) For the purpose of registration of marriages under this Ordinance, the Union Council shall grant licenses to one
or more persons, to be called Nikah Registrars, but in no case shall more than one person be licensed for any one
Ward.
(3) Every marriage not solemnized by the Nikah Registrar shall, for the purpose of registration under this Ordinance
be reported to him by the person who has solemnized such marriage.
(4) Whoever contravenes the provision of sub-section (3) shall be punishable with simple imprisonment for a term
which may extend to three months, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.
(5) The form of nikahnama, the registers to be maintained by Nikah Registrars, the records to be preserved by Union
Councils, the manner in which marriages shall be registered and copies of nikahnama shall be supplied to the parties,
and the fees to be charged thereof, shall be such as may be prescribed.
(6) Any person may, on payment of the prescribed fee, if any, inspect at the office of the Union Council the record
prescribed under Sub-section (5), or obtain a copy of any entry therein.
Section 6: polygamy:

(1) No man, during the subsistence of an existing marriage, shall except with the previous permission in writing of
the Arbitration Council, contract another marriage, nor shall any such marriage contracted without such permission
be registered under this Ordinance.
(2) An application for permission under Sub-section (1) shall be submitted to the Chairman in the prescribed manner
together with the prescribed fee, and shall state reasons for the proposed marriage, and whether the consent of
existing wife or wives has been obtained thereto.
(3) On receipt of the application under Sub-section (3), Chairman shall ask the applicant and his existing wife or
wives each to nominate a representative, and the Arbitration Council so constituted may, if satisfied that the proposed
marriage is necessary and just, grant, subject to such condition if any, as may be deemed fit, the permission applied
for.
(4) In deciding the application the Arbitration Council shall record its reasons for the decision and any party may, in
the prescribed manner, within the prescribed period, and on payment of the prescribed fee, prefer an application for
revision, in the case of West Pakistan to the Collector and, in the case of East Pakistan, to the Sub-Divisional Officer
concerned and his decision shall be final and shall not be called in question in any Court.
(5) Any man who contracts another marriage without the permission of the Arbitration Council shall,
(a) pay immediately the entire amount of the dower whether prompt or deferred, due to the existing wife or wives,
which amount, if not so paid, shall be recoverable as arrears of land revenue; and
28

(b) on conviction upon complaint be punishable with simple imprisonment which may extend to one year, or with
fine which may extend to five thousand rupees, or with both.
Section 7: procedure for talaq:

(1) Any man who wishes to divorce his wife shall as soon as may be after the pronouncement of talaq in any form
whatsoever, give the Chairman a notice in writing of his having done so, and shall supply a copy thereof to the wife.
(2) Whoever contravenes the provision of Sub-section (1) shall be punishable with simple imprisonment for a term
which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to five thousand rupees, or with both.
(3) Save as provided in Sub-section (5) talaq, unless revoked earlier, expressly or otherwise, shall not be effective
until the expiration of ninety days from the day on which notice under Sub-section (1) is delivered to the Chairman.
(4) Within thirty days of the receipt of notice under Sub-section (1), the Chairman shall constitute an Arbitration
Council for the purpose of bringing about a reconciliation between the parties, and the Arbitration Council shall take
all steps necessary to bring about such reconciliation.
(5) If the wife be pregnant at the time talaq is pronounced, talaq shall not be effective until the period mentioned in
Sub-section (3) or the pregnancy, whichever later, ends.
(6) Nothing shall debar a wife whose marriage has been terminated by talaq effective under this Section from
remarrying the same husband, without an intervening marriage with a third person, unless such termination is for the
third time so effective.
The FSC judgement upheld Section 5 as in no manner violative of any Injunction of Islam. Indeed, it directed the
enhancement of the existing punishment of fine and/or 3 three months imprisonment for contravening Section 5 on
registration of marriage: registration of marriage as provided for by Section 5 in a Government record will be a
positive check on the litigation where due to non registration, the marriage and/or paternity of children is denied in
order to just deprive the wife or the children from her inheritance. The measure intended to be preventive for
avoiding litigation thus in no manner be termed as un-Islamic or opposed to the Injunctions of Islam. We may also
observe that for having effectual compliance of the provision it would be desirable that the punishment prescribed by
sub-section (4) of Section 5 be suitably enhanced as that prescribed presently is not adequate to attract strict
compliance of the provision.
Section 6 was held to be reformative only and not violative of the Injunctions of Islam, although this was subject
to certain observations and recommendations contained in the judgement. The court stated that regarding
polygamy, suitable measures should be adopted to put an end to or at least minimise the instances of injustice
being found abundantly in society. It further recommended that in the event that the husband intends to contract
another marriage: the Arbitration Council should figure in when a complaint is made by the existing wife or her
parents/guardians. The intention is to protect the rights of the existing wife/wives and interest of her/their children.
However, the FSC held Section 4 to be repugnant to Islam using the argument that Islam does not provide for the
direct inheritance by orphans from their grandparents.2 The court said it would: leave it to the legislative domain of
the country to deliberate on it and bring about the law which would safeguard the interest of the orphan
grandchildren and exclude all possible complications of litigation that may crop up as a result of loose or
unthoughtfor provision of law. We are preferring the creation of a will in favour of the orphan grandchildren by the
grandparent over other solutions which may be available for the socio economic problem inter-alia for the following
reasons: [] c) that a provision can be made that in case a propositous dies without creating a will, the will - to the
29

extent of 1/3rd in favour of the grandchildren out of the estate with a ceiling that it does not go beyond the share of
their predecessor - shall be deemed to have been created by the grandparents in their favour.
Finally, while the FSC held that no valid objection can be raised to the spirit of Section 7, it also criticised the
over exuberance of legislation in a new field and held that Section 7(3) and 7(5) resulted in an implied violation
of the Injunctions of Quran and therefore cannot be maintained. The implication is that divorce should take
immediate effect upon pronouncement, while iddat could be observed subsequently, its length depending upon each
individual situation.
Womens and human rights groups issued a number of statements in response to the judgement, above all objecting
to the FSCs application of jurisdiction over the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance. The FSC was created during Gen.
Zia-ul-Haqs so-called Islamisation in 1980 with the jurisdiction to examine whether laws are in conformity with
the injunctions of Islam. However, under Article 203 (B)(c) of the Constitution, personal laws are exempted from the
FSCs scrutiny, and there have been numerous judgements since 1980 upholding this view. Nevertheless, the FSC
relied upon a 1994 judgement of the Supreme Court (PLD 1994 SC 607) which held that the mere fact that a
codified law or statute law applied to only the Muslim population of the country, in our view, could not place it in the
category of Muslim Personal Law envisaged by Article 203(B)(c) of the Constitution. In other words, the MFLO
did not fall under the definition of personal law and was therefore not immune from scrutiny by the FSC.
The orthodox attack against the MFLO

The current attack, although the most concerted challenge in the MFLOs nearly 40-year history, is in fact a
continuation of an attack, both inside the legislature and outside, by orthodox elements that began even before the
Ordinance was promulgated. Maulana Ehtishamul Haq Thanvi wrote a blistering dissenting note to the report of the
1956 Rashid Commission, whose recommendations laid the foundation for the MFLO. Subsequent attacks on the
MFLO from the religious Right have mirrored the original dissenting note.
During cycles of state-sponsored Islamisation under successive governments in the 1980s and 1990s, various
sections of the MFLO came under challenge in the FSC. The MFLO - notably Section 7 became the victim of a
highly charged debate over whether the statute law or the injunctions of Islam are to be supreme, and whether the
superior courts had the power to declare a law repugnant to Islam. In line with the fluctuating political environment,
the superior courts issued contradictory judgements on these issues, the FSC decision merely being the latest.
Certainly, it is not just the MFLO that has suffered over the years: the real victims have been the millions of women
whose rights have been undermined by this sustained attack on the MFLO. It is now time to look back at all the
recommendations made over the years for strengthening Muslim family law in Pakistan and to move forward to a
situation where womens rights within the family are fully legislated and implemented.

30

Protection of Women (Criminal Laws Amendment) Act, 2006


A BILL further to amend the Pakistan Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure and other laws
WHEREAS it is necessary to provide relief and protection to women against misuse and abuse of law and to prevent
their exploitation;
AND WHEREAS Article 14 of the Constitution ensures that dignity of man and, subject to law, the privacy of home,
shall be inviolable;
AND WHEREAS Article 25 of the Constitution guarantees that there shall be no discrimination on the basis of
alone and that the State shall make provisions for the protection of women;
AND WHEREAS Article 37 of the Constitution encourages promotion of social justice and eradication of social
evils;
AND WHEREAS the objective of this Bill is to bring in particular the laws relating to zina and qazf in conformity
with the stated objectives of the Constitution and the injunctions of Islam,
AND WHEREAS it is expedient for the aforesaid objectives further to amend the Pakistan Penal Code (Act XLV of
1860), the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 (Act V of 1898, the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939 (VIII
of 1939), the Offence of Zina (Enforcement of Hudood) Ordinance, 1979 (VII of 1979), and the Offence of Qazf
(Enforcement of Hadd) Ordinance, 1979 (VIII of 1979) and for the purposes hereinafter appearing,

31

UNIC AND NON GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS (NGOs)


A non-governmental organization (NGO) is any non-profit, voluntary citizens' group which is
organized on a local, national or international level. Task-oriented and driven by people with a
common interest, NGOs perform a variety of services and humanitarian functions, bring citizens'
concerns to Governments, monitor policies and encourage political participation at the
community level. They provide analysis and expertise, serve as early warning mechanisms and
help
monitor
and
implement
international agreements. Some are organized around specific issues, such as human rights, the
environment or health. Their relationship with offices and agencies of the United Nations System
differs
depending
on
their
goals,
their
venue
and
their
mandate.
Over 1,500 NGOs with strong information programmes on issues of concern to the United
Nations are associated with the Department of Public Information (DPI), giving the United
Nations valuable links to people around the world. DPI helps those NGOs gain access to and
disseminate information about the range of issues in which the United Nations is involved, to
enable the public to understand better the aims and objectives of the World Organization.
Twenty NGOs from Pakistan are currently associated with DPI, a figure that is gradually
increasing. These NGOs are working in diverse areas such as education, the environment, human
rights, health care and women's rights, and naturally advocate the goals of the United Nations.
Annual Meeting of NGOs, 2003
Annual Meeting of NGOs, 2002
More information on 'The UN & Civil Society' around the world

NGO's CO-OPERATION WITH THE UNITED NATIONS


NGOs can carry out co-operation with the United Nations system in the following ways:
1) NGOs may receive accreditation for a conference, summit or other event organised by the
United Nations. Such accreditation is issued through the Secretariat preparing the event and
expires upon the completion of the event. It entitles NGOs to participate in the preparation
process and in the event itself, thus contributing to its outcome.
2) NGOs may establish working relations with particular Departments, Programmes or
Specialised Agencies of the United Nations system, based on shared fields of interest and
potential for joint activities complementing the work of the United Nations office in a particular
area.
3) International NGOs active in the field of economic and social development may seek to obtain
consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). For
requirements concerning consultative status with ECOSOC, please contact the NGO Section of
the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) at the following address:
32

ASSOCIATION WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC INFORMATION


(DPI)
NGOs with effective information programmes on issues of concern to the United Nations may
apply for association with the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI). There are
currently more than 1,500 NGOs associated with DPI. The Department helps NGOs gain access
to and disseminate information about the range of issues in which the United Nations is involved,
so as to enable the public to understand better the aims and objectives of the World Organization.
Interested NGOs are requested to send to the DPI/NGO Section an official letter of request for
such association, accompanied by at least six different samples of UN-related information
materials. The NGO Section will determine if the formal application process for association can
proceed. The United Nations Information Centre in Islamabad provides assistance to Pakistani
NGOs wishing to be associated with DPI.

CRITERIA FOR ASSOCIATION WITH DPI


NGOs applying for association with DPI should satisfy the following requirements:

The NGO must support and respect the principles of the Charter of the United Nations;

The NGO must be of recognized national or international standing;

The NGO should operate solely on a non-for-profit basis and have tax-exempt status;

The NGO must have the commitment and the means to conduct effective information
programmes with its constituents and to a broader audience about UN activities by
publishing newsletters, bulletins and pamphlets; organising conferences, seminars and
round tables; or enlisting the attention of the media;

The NGO should have an established record of continuity of work for a minimum of
three years and should show promise of sustained activity in the future;

The NGO should have a satisfactory record of collaboration with UN Information


Centres/Services or other parts of the UN System prior to association;

The NGO should provide an audited annual financial statement, conducted by a qualified
independent accountant;

The NGO should have statutes/bylaws providing for a transparent process of taking
decisions, elections of officers and members of the Board of Directors.

DPI-ASSOCIATED NGOs IN PAKISTAN:


1. All Pakistan Womens Association (APWA)
2. Arts Council of Pakistan
33

3. The Citizens Foundation


4. Bunyad Literacy Community Council (BLCC)
5. Development, Education, Poverty Alleviation and Population Welfare Org. (DEEPP)
6. The Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry
7. Kuchlak Welfare Society
8. Lahore Association of Non-Government Organizations (LANGOS)
9. Pakistan Crescent Youth Organization (PCYO)
10. The Pakistan Lions Youth Council (PLYC)
11. Pakistan Rural Workers Social Welfare Organization (PRWSO)
12. Pakistan Women Lawyers Association (PAWLA)
13. PATTAN Development Organization
14. Senior Citizens Foundation of Pakistan (SCFP)
15. Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC)
16. Struggle for Change (SACH)
17. World Muslim Congress

34

ALL PAKISTAN WOMEN'S ASSOCIATION (APWA)


PRINCIPAL OFFICERS OF ORGANIZATION

Name

Title / Function

Begum Daulat A. Hidayatullah

President

Ms. Gool K. Minwalla

Senior Vice President

Begum Masudah Jawad

Executive Vice President

Ms. Yasmin Dastur

Secretary General

The All Pakistan Women's Association (APWA) is a non-profit and non-political organization whose fundamental
aim is to see the furtherance of the moral, social and economic welfare of the women and children of Pakistan.
APWA was founded by Begum Rana Liaquat Ali Khan in 1949, a leading activist for womens rights, who stated that
the role of women in the welfare of society is no less important than that of men. The current President of the
organization is Begum Daulat A. Hidayatullah
Since its foundation, APWA has been a very active organization, with branches in 56 districts, as well as fringe urban
and rural branches across Pakistan. It celebrates major events such as International Women's Day, UN Day and
UNICEF Day, and relies on donors, entrepreneurs and philanthropists to fund its work.

35

APWA was awarded the UNESCO Adult Literacy Prize in 1974 and later the Peace Messenger Certificate in 1987.
OTHER INFORMATION

Country/City where the NGO is Registered

Pakistan, Karachi

Year of foundation

1949

Year of registration with National Authorities


Year of registration with DPI

1952

Headquarters mailing address

67B
Garden
Pakistan

Telephone (Country & area code) (Number)

92 - 21 7212991

Telefax (Country & area code) (Number)

92 - 21 7221965

Email

apwa@pienet.net

Representative at United Nations:

Road

Karachi,

74400

Telephone:

Areas of activity:

Women , Youth

Scope of organization

National

Individual members

Organizations

Number of members reportedly registered with organization

Main funding sources for organizations activities

Fund-raising
contributions

Publications by organization

Pamphlets Occasionally

Activities

for

activities,

women

Voluntary

rights

UN holds a dialogue session to mark International Women's Day 2007 on the


the theme 'Ending Impunity for Violence against Women and Girls'
Islamabad, 15 March 2007

ISLAMABAD, 15 March 2007 (UN Information Centre) - UN is strongly committed to gender


equality. One of the priority objectives of UN agencies working in Pakistan is to address full and
equal participation of women in political, economic and social life at all levels of the society, and
36

the eradication of all forms of discrimination on the grounds of gender.


To raise awareness on this highly important issue of Human Rights and to commemorate
International Women's Day 2007, an interactive dialogue session on the theme "Ending Impunity
for Violence against Women and Girls" was organized by the UN Communication Group Pakistan under "One UN" umbrella, in collaboration with the Allama Iqbal Open University,
Islamabad. UN Information Centre acted as focal point for the arrangements of the event on
behalf of the UN Agencies in Pakistan.

Panelists in the session included: Dr. Khalif Bile, Acting United Nations Resident Coordinator &
WHO Resident Representative, Barrister Shahida Jamil ( Former Federal Minister for Law,
Justice and Human Rights), Ms Farhana Faruqi Stocker (Country Representative, OXFAM GB
Pakistan), Mr. Salman Asif (Gender Advisor, UN Pakistan), Dr I. N. Hasan (Pro V.C and Director
Women's Research & Resource Centre) Prof. Dr. Muhammad Khalid Masud (Chairman, Council
of Islamic Ideology) and Mr Mehmood Saleem, Secretary, Ministry of Women Development.

37

Panelists shared their views on the root causes of violence and


identified measures to combat it from the society. Emphasizing the
importance of International Women's Day, Dr Bile said, "It is our
collective responsibility to work for an enduring change in values and
attitudes at all levels of the society." He called on all relevant stake
holders to work in partnership -- Governments, international
organizations,
civil
society
and
the
private
sector.
He informed that Pakistan's UN Country Team is following up on the
recommendations if the recently released report by the High -level
Panel on System-wide Coherence 'Delivering as One' on gender
equality and women's empowerment. The High-level Panel was co
chaired by the Prime Minister of Pakistan. One of the
recommendations includes strengthening the coherence and impact of
the UN institutional gender response.

Mr. Tallat Hussain, a renowned journalist and Director News & Current Affairs of Aaj TV
moderated the dialogue session. Around 450 people from all strata of society attended the event
and took part in discussion through Q&A session.

ISLAMABAD, 27 November 2006 (UN Information Centre) - The 25th of November is the
International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The theme of this year was
"Ending violence against women".
UNIC, EU and Oxfam observe International Day for Elimination of Violence against
Women Islamabad, 27 Nov 2006
To highlight the importance and raise awareness of the Day, the UN Information Centre (UNIC),
the European Commission and Oxfam jointly held a seminar at a Islamabad hotel.

38

The session started with remarks by the Country Representative of Oxfam, Ms Farhana Faruqi
Stocker, followed by a presentation on the Ending Violence against Women Program in Pakistan.
The Head of Operation of the Delegation of the European Commission, Mr. Michael Dale,
highlighted the EU's contribution to the work to eliminate violence against women in the
country, while the Director of UNIC, Mr Tetsuo Maximilien Ohno, delivered the UN SecretaryGeneral's message on the Day.

In her keynote speech, the chief guest, H E Ms Sumaira Malik, Federal Minister for Women
Development and Youth Affairs, explained about the efforts of her ministry to eliminate violence
against women in Pakistan.

39

REFERENCES
Mr. Aftab Butt

(Exective member of FSD bar Council)

Mr.Rao Shameem Akhter

(Senior High Court Advocate)

Mr.Ahmed Saeed Awan

(Civil Judge)

Mr.Ibrar Ahmed Tung

(Advocate)

40