Women in Lahore protests against honour killings
Women in Lahore protests against honour killings Getty images

Pakistan's influential Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) has outlined the circumstances in which it believes men are permitted to beat their wives.

The 20 member body advises parliament on Sharia law, and though its rulings are not binding the council is highly influential.

The CII rejected a bill to protect women in Punjab, branding it un-Islamic, and has instead proposed its guidelines on the circumstances in which husbands can use violence against their wives, Pakistan's Express Tribune reported.

The Punjab Protection of Women Against Violence Act 2015 proposes the formation of a women's force to respond to claims of physical, psychological or financial abuse. Among the measures if provides for is for is the right of female protection officers to enter any premises in which a woman is being held captive. It also allows for the establishment of a nationwide toll free telephone line through which women can report crimes, and of a network of shelters.

The bill was passed by the Punjab legislature in February.

The bill though is opposed by Islamic political parties and organisations, which have threatened to launch protests if it is not withdrawn. The country'[s largest Islamist party, Jamaat-e-Islami, is among those to campaign against the bill.

Under the CII's draft alternative guidelines, a husband is allowed to "lightly beat" his wife if she defies his commands and refuses to dress as he wishes, turns down a demand for intercourse without any religious grounds, or does not take a bath after intercourse or her menstrual period.

It adds that a beating is also permissible if a woman does not wear a hijab, interacts with strangers, speaks so that she can easily heard by strangers, and provides monetary support to people without gaining the permission of her spouse.

The 163 page bill also advocates a wide range of restrictions on women's education, employment, and socialising. It argues that women should be banned from being educated alongside men after primary school, from taking part in military combat and interacting with men socially. It also proposes that female nurses should not be allowed to treat male patients, and that women should not be allowed to work in advertising.

The bill says women should be allowed to enter politics without the permission of their parents, anyone who uses the Quran in a forced marriage should be jailed for 10 years, and anyone who forces a non-Muslim woman to convert should also be jailed for 10 years.

The CII will forward its own bill to the Punjab legislature for approval.

Pakistan has one of the world's worst women's rights records, and is listed 147th in a list of 188 nations in the United Nations Gender Inequality Index. A 2014 report by the women's rights Aurat Foundation NGO found that every day of the year, six women were murdered, six were kidnapped, four were raped and three committed suicide.

In 2013 the organisation found 5,800 cases of domestic violence were reported in Punjab, the country's most populous province. Women are also subjected to acid attacks and honour killings.