Karachi, 10 May 2012: The eNGO network stands in solidarity against the dual threats of abduction and forced marriages issued on 5 May 2012 by Maulvi Abdul Haleem, a former Majlis-e-Amal MNA from Kohistan, to women working in non-governmental organisations.
Haleem warned women against entering “his district”, and said that ‘violators’ of the warning would be forcibly married off to locals. He also issued a decree (fatwa), stating that professional education for women was repugnant to Islamic injunctions, on the grounds that women who get professional education would want to get a job, which, per Haleem, is not allowed in Islam in the absence of a mehram.
As such, Haleem is purporting to limit women’s constitutional right to education in Kohistan, as well as limit the right of movement of NGO workers in the region by threatening them with abduction and forced marriages.
The same Maulvi Abdul Haleem had also issued a fatwa in the past in favour of poppy cultivation and trade; an injunction in which he continues to believe. He also told the media (Dawn; 6 May 2012) that killing women in the name of ‘honour’ was a “local custom and a religious practice” in Islam.
We, the undersigned, put forth that Maulvi Abdul Haleem’s statements are unwarranted, unacceptable, unconstitutional and not based on the teachings of Islam.
We, the undersigned, call on the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take suo moto notice of the situation and ensure that the rights of women and girls are protected per the Constitution and per international conventions that Pakistan has ratified.
We further call on the Government of Pakistan to ensure that a single Islamic Counsel of Pakistan has the sole authority to issue decrees based in Islamic Law, in order to prevent situations such as these in the future.
1. Nighat Dad, on behalf of Bytes For All, Pakistan;
2. Urooj Zia, on behalf of RYSe (Reclaim Your Space);
3. Osama Motiwala, on behalf of RYSe (Reclaim Your Space);
4. Salman Saleem, on behalf of RYSe (Reclaim Your Space);
5. Sanaa Hasan, on behalf of War Against Rape (WAR);
6. Dr Bari Awan, on behalf of Citizens Education Development Foundation (CEDF), Karachi;
7. Yousaf Ajab, on behalf of Human Prosperity Organisation (HPO), Kalat;
8. Zahoor Baloch, on behalf of Human Prosperity Organisation (HPO), Kalat;
9. Mukesh Kumar, on behalf of Sandesh, Hyderabad;
10. M. Ali Mir, on behalf of Aghaaz, Mirpur, Kashmir;
11. M. Ahsan, on behalf of Seed Pakistan;
12. Salman Khan, on behalf of Seed Pakistan;
13. Caesar Ali Khan, on behalf of Organisation for Peace & Development Studies (OPDS), Buner;
14. Qamar Shahzad Ruben, on behalf of FACES, Pakistan;
15. Fakhra Hassan, on behalf of Drag It To The Top!, Lahore;
16. Saba Ismail, on behalf of Aware Girls, Peshawar;
17. Adnan Hussain, on behalf of The Awakening, Saidu Sharif, Swat;
18. Dawood Shah, on behalf of Coalition on Rights & Responsibilities of Youth (CRY), Peshawar;
19. Syed Mohd Gillani, on behalf of Change Foundation, Multan;
20. Farhat Firdous, on behalf of Evolve, Karachi;
21. Sana Kazmi, on behalf of Zindagi Trust;
22. Nobahar, on behalf of PILER;
23. Shujauddin Qureshi, on behalf of PILER;
24. Khurram Ali, on behalf of National Students Federation (NSF), Sindh;
25. Mir Askari Abbas, on behalf of NSF, Sindh;
26. M. Sauman, on behalf of Academy for Research & Training (ART), Karachi;
27. Fatima Zaidi, on behalf of ART, Karachi;
28. Sana Robab, on behalf of Youth & Women Development, Karachi.
[We are grateful to War Against Rape for drafting the resolution.]
About Bytes for All, Pakistan
Bytes for All (B4A), Pakistan is a human rights organization and a network of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) professionals and practitioners. It experiments and organizes debate on the relevance of ICTs for sustainable development and strengthening social justice movements in the country. Its mission is “ICTs for development, democracy and social justice”. www.bytesforall.pk
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