What reads as a satirical story is in fact true; the Council of Islamic Ideology has now decided to take up the (non) issue of protecting men’s rights in the country.

More than enough has already been said on the redundancy of the council and the detrimental effects it has had on multiple rights issues in Pakistan – DNA testing in rape cases has been deemed worthless by members of CII, parents are thought to possess the supreme authority over when their children are to marry – even if they are underage – and husbands are allowed to ‘lightly’ beat their wives according to the foggy lens the members of the council view the world with.

The selective criticism of all facets of rights granted to women, while inanely looking to protect men in an extremely patriarchal society must not be laughed off. It is becoming increasingly obvious that apart from abusive husbands and families, men involved in harassment and a plethora of other threats, women are now supposed to protect themselves from the CII as well, as it remains committed to stepping on the hard efforts of civil rights organisations and activists to empower women and grant them their due rights.

When efforts are made to give any group rights, whether it is women or minorities, it does not require a corresponding increase in protection of the majority group. Women’s rights, black rights, minority rights, all are in public debate because of a history of oppression of these groups. For a majority group to be offended by this is petty and selfish as they have always been in a position of privilege. “Men rights” cannot be a movement because women do not oppress the vast majority of them. It’s like asking for “White rights”, or “rich people rights”.

This is a state body that has no coherence on even a single governmental edict. The country’s policy and stance on the status of women in the country is at a completely different tangent, thankfully. Granting rights to one half of the population is not un-Islamic. Maybe members of the non-functioning body should be given an update of world events and a breakdown of crimes committed against women and compare them to the small number of crimes committed by women against men. This might not do much to make the CII any more receptive to healthy debate about women’s rights, but it might give individual members a greater grasp of what is actually going on in the world around them.