We stand 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 (NGO).
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 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.