LAHORE - The Jamaat-e-Islami has also joined the Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam (JUI-F) in opposition of Punjab Protection of Women against Violence Bill.

The remarks against the bill which Punjab Assembly unanimously passed on Wednesday directly came from the chief of country’s leading religio-political party following repeated mockery of JUI-F chief Fazalur Rehman on the move made by the legislature of Pakistan’s most populated province to protect women’s rights.

“The law is an attempt to hit our family system. It will affect the relations between male and female family members. The new law is rejected even by the women folk of Pakistan,” said JI chief Sirajul Haq while addressing a party gathering here on Sunday.

Siraj also smelled a conspiracy behind the move made by PML-N in Punjab in shape of the bill. He maintained the women protection act was purely western agenda to demolish the family system and Muslims traditions and civilization in Pakistan.

Some civil society members were surprised over the remarks issued by Sirajul Haq at a time when his own party announced to expand its top decision making body the 60-member Majlis-e-Shura (Upper Council) by adding 11 female members. The female members to become part of Shura will be elected by direct vote of party’s women workers.

The move is considered a very progressive approach in contemporary times considering the fact that Islamist parties in Pakistan and all over the world hardly give women any representation in the decision making. But yesterday’s statement by Sirajul Haq disappointed the rights activists.

“I am surprised over the remarks of JI chief against the bill. Jamaat-e-Islami is not such a hardliner party. They (JI) must review its opposition to the bill,” said Abdullah Malik, a lawyer and rights activist.

JUI-F head Fazlur Rehman has been repeatedly criticising the members of the Punjab Assembly since the passage of the bill. He has been mocking at the lawmakers, saying there was no such need to introduce a new bill; a simple amendment to address the wife as the husband and the husband as the wife would have done the trick.

The Punjab Protection of Women against Violence Bill, which has 31 clauses, provides a system for complaint registration as well as penalties for offenders. Under the law, a family court would fix hearing within seven days from receipt of the complaint. The defendant will have to show cause in court in the same week. All complaints would be decided within 90 days from the day of the receipt.

The law provides that victims of domestic violence cannot be evicted from their homes without their consent. If they are evicted, the court can intervene.

Meanwhile, another religio-political party - Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) - termed the women protection bill just a political stunt of PML-N government. PAT leaders Maj (r) Muhammad Saeed, Khawaja Amir Fareed Koreja and Fayyaz Waraich, in a statement, said the rulers of Punjab were always at forefront to commit crime against women. “PML-N is not sincere to give females their due rights in the society,” they added.