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#TryBeatingMeLightly: Pakistani women backlash against CII bill proposal

CII proposal also states that female nurses are prohibited from taking care of male patients

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  • Fahhad Rajper, a Pakistani photographer launched an empowering photo series named #TryBeatingMeLightly
  • In a recent bill proposal, Pakistan’s Council of Islamic Ideology advised that it was all right for husbands to “lightly” beat their wives for trivial offenses
  • The hash tag #TryBeatingMeLightly has gone viral in social media

In a recent bill proposal, Pakistan’s Council of Islamic Ideology advised that it was all right for husbands to “lightly” beat their wives for trivial offenses, like refusing sex, not dressing according to the tastes of her husband and not bathing after sex or menstruation.

The proposal also states that female nurses are prohibited from taking care of male patients. It bans the presence of women in receptions that are held in the honour of visiting foreign dignitaries.

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CII is a council of people who advise the government on whether the laws are formed according to Islam. The bill proposed sparked outrage amongst the Pakistani population. A majority of the people condemned it and stated that it was outrageous.

Cindy Dyer. Wikipedia.org
Cindy Dyer. Wikipedia.org

Fahhad Rajper, a Pakistani photographer launched an empowering photo series named #TryBeatingMeLightly. The series showcases the reactions of Pakistani women from all spheres of life to the proposal. It features black and white photos with captions given by the women photographed.

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The album received over 700 shares within the first 24 hours itself. Within a week, the hashtag #TryBeatingMeLightly has gone viral in social media. The focus has shifted from Pakistan to the entire world. It is helping the issue of domestic violence come to light.

Cindy Dyer, Vice President of Human Rights for Women’s Advocacy Organisation by the Voices says that domestic violence is a global problem and it affects every country, including the United States of America.

Campaigns such as hash tag #TryBeatingMeLightly help bring attention to problems of domestic violence.

-By Devika Todi, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter- devika_todi

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  • devika todi

    this is really inspirational. in a society where women still need to struggle to have an equal voice, such campaigns are of great importance.

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Pakistan’s Court Summons TV Team for ‘Disrespecting’ Valentine’s Day Ban

On February 14, Geo TV’s popular Report Card show dedicated a 15-minute segment to discussing the justification of the court’s ban on Valentine’s Day coverage and celebrations

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People buy flowers to celebrate Valentine's Day in Islamabad, Pakistan, Feb. 14, 2018. Pakistan's media regulatory authority, acting on a court order, has instructed all news channels, radio stations and print media to refrain from promoting Valentine's Day. VOA

A Pakistani court has summoned several TV reporters from the country’s largest private TV station over accusations of “ridiculing” last year’s ruling that barred Valentine’s Day celebrations and its media coverage across the country.

On February 14, Geo TV’s popular Report Card show dedicated a 15-minute segment to discussing the justification of the court’s ban on Valentine’s Day coverage and celebrations.

Two of the panelists in the show questioned the rationale for the ban.

Hasan Nisar, a prominent Lahore-based political analyst, declared the restrictions “illogical” and “ridiculous” for society.

“I do not even have anything to say on it, it’s funny,” Nisar said.

Echoing Nisar, Imtiaz Alam, a leading reporter and panelist of the show, said the restrictions were “useless.”

“How can the court interfere as it is against the fundamental rights of the people? Do we have Taliban regime in Pakistan?” Alam asked.

“This is a cultural martial law and curfew to enforce the extreme ideologies. This is a sick mindset, and the moral policing through PEMRA [Pakistan Electronic Media Authority] is shameless,” Alam said.

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Valentine's Day
People buy flowers to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Islamabad, Pakistan, Feb. 14, 2018. Pakistan’s media regulatory authority, acting on a court order, has instructed all news channels, radio stations and print media to refrain from promoting Valentine’s Day. VOA

Court order

Last year, on February 13, Islamabad’s High Court declared Valentine’s Day celebration un-Islamic and imposed a ban on any public or official celebrations.

The government reinstated the ban for a second consecutive year earlier this month to comply with the court’s ruling.

PEMRA also issued a fresh directive to remind its TV and radio licensees to refrain from promoting the day on their stations.

“Respondents are directed to ensure that nothing about the celebrations of Valentine’s Day and its promotion is spread on the electronic and print media,” PEMRA’s notification reads.

On charges of failing to adhere to the court’s order and PEMRA’s instruction, Islamabad court summoned the Geo TV host, two guests and the chief executive officer of the station to appear before the court next week and defend themselves in a contempt-of-court case.

“This act of the host and the participants apparently is tainted with malafide, ulterior motives, aims to undermine the authority of the court and to disrespect the order passed by the court, which clearly comes within the definition of the contempt of court,” the court said, according to local media.

The ban on Valentine’s Day celebrations and sensitivity toward it are not new in Pakistan. Some political and religious groups, such as Jamaat-i-Islami, have carried out rallies and protests against the celebration of the day, declaring it “unethical and un-Islamic.”

There have been instances in the past where local authorities prohibited the February 14 festivities in different cities across the nation.

In 2016, President Mamnoon Hussain also warned Pakistanis to stay away from celebrating Valentine’s Day, declaring it was “not a part of Muslim tradition, but of the West.”

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Valentine's Day
A couple buys flowers to celebrate Valentine’s Day, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Feb. 13, 2017. A Pakistani judge has banned Valentine’s Day celebrations in the country’s capital, saying they are against Islamic teachings. VOA

General debate

Valentine’s celebrations have increased in Pakistan over the last decade, particularly among the country’s youth.

The enforcement of the ban on its celebration and media coverage for a second consecutive year has sparked a larger debate among some of the country’s liberal and conservative circles.

A section of the society defends the celebrations and considers them harmless, though for others the day does not have any place in their religious practices or their traditions.

Pakistan, for the most part, is a conservative Muslim society. Public displays of affection are not the norm and often are viewed as unacceptable.

But some Pakistanis, like Saleema Hashmi, a Lahore-based artist, and renowned educator, believe the system is focusing on “irrelevant issues” at the expense of more important and pressing issues the country faces.

“Don’t our courts have better things to do instead of passing rulings on celebrating a mere romantic day?” she asked. “I do not understand how celebrating or denouncing Valentine’s Day can impact our religion, traditions, social or cultural norms.” (VOA)