pakistan
Tuesday Oct 20, 2015
By
AFP

Women not required to cover faces under Sharia, says CII

By
AFP
Women not required to cover faces under Sharia, says CII
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's top religious body has said women are not required to cover their faces, hands or feet under Islamic Sharia law, a rare judgement from the conservative council of clerics seen as "encouraging" by rights activists Tuesday.

The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), which was formed in 1962 to advise parliament on the compatibility of laws with Sharia, made the ruling during its meeting on Monday.

However the chairman of the council Maulana Muhammad Khan Sheerani also "advised women to follow ethics and have a careful attitude in society", a spokesman told AFP.

He said the cleric had recommended women "cover up their body parts to avoid threats or mischief".

Farzana Bari, a prominent women´s rights activist, termed the ruling "very interesting".

"It is a good sign, the clergy seems to have realised that their legitimacy is being challenged and this ruling is aimed at improving their image," Bari told AFP.

"The orthodox clerics have been put on the back foot, look at the Supreme Court decision about blasphemy laws, it´s encouraged some clerics to come forward and speak about amending the laws," she said.