Civil Society Condemns Farogh Nasim’s Sexist Remarks Before The Supreme Court

Civil Society Condemns Farogh Nasim’s Sexist Remarks Before The Supreme Court
Civil society activists have issued this statement on the arguments made by former law minister and lawyer Farogh Nasim who is representing the government in Justice Qazi Faiza Isa's reference in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

"We, members of women’s human rights platforms, cultural groups, youth activists, legal community, academicians, litterateurs, and civil society activists are outraged by, and strongly condemn the highly derogatory, inflammatory, unconstitutional, and openly sexist, misogynist remarks made on 12 June 2020, by Mr. Farogh Nasim, the Government Counsel, during a hearing of the Government’s reference filed against Hon. Justice Qazi Faez Isa in the Hon. SCP.

As reported in the mainstream print and electronic media, when the Hon. Bench asked Mr. Nasim to explain under which law the Hon. Judge was personally obligated to declare assets belonging to his spouse, who is an independent taxpayer, he could not quote any valid Pakistani law or legal obligation, and instead resorted to quoting from the Quran.  When the Hon. Bench asked if Mr. Nasim was implying that this eliminates the independent legal status and capacity of women under Pakistani laws, he provided no legal response and did not retract his previous statement.

We strongly condemn Mr. Nasim’s legal and intellectual dishonesty, and his misuse, misappropriation, misrepresentation of the Quranic text and context, falsely attempting to create the illusion of a legal argument where none exists.  This case is far too important in the history of Pakistan’s judicature, and the development of its jurisprudence, for it to be perniciously diverted and misguided into insignificance.  Mr. Nasim has abused his professional duty to assist the Hon. SCP, but instead is trying to mislead it into assailing and demoting the legal status and capacity of Pakistani women.

The Quranic verse Mr. Nasim quoted, does not eliminate, or even limit, women's legal independence regarding their personal financial matters.  All schools of Islamic law are unanimous in their assertion that women have the legal capacity to deal with their own financial and property matters independently.

In his classical work titled “Muhammadan Law” (Volume-2), the renowned learned scholar, jurist and authority on Muslim Law, Mr. Justice Syed Ameer Ali, for the purpose of Islamic jurisprudence in our Subcontinent, explicated that marriage is essentially a contract between two partiesand does not automatically give the parties the right to each other’s property; that the legal capacity of the wife is not subsumed under that of her husband; and that the wife retains full power to use and dispose of her property at her discretion,even to the extent of entering into contracts without her husband’s consent or permission. He clarified that she is not under her husband’s legal guardianshipand may even sue him.

No legal practitioner, much less an advocate of the Hon. Supreme Court acting on behalf of the Government, could possibly be ignorant of the above rights – well established in Fiqh and protected by the Constitution of Pakistan and the laws operating under it. Furthermore, Mr. Nasim appears to have forgotten that non-Muslim women are also equal Pakistani citizens, with Constitutional and legal rights.  Thus, his crude attempt to mislead the Court with such Machiavellian exploitation of religion in a purely legal case, is a coldly calculated, deliberate attempt to muddy the waters and to divert the Court towards a dangerous direction in the current milieu in Pakistan.

We demand that at the next SCP hearing, Mr. Farogh Nasim must publicly acknowledge, apologise for, and retract his dishonest, fallacious arguments; as well as publicly reaffirming, in open Court, his recognition and acknowledgement of the legal, Constitutional status and capacity of adult married Pakistani women to deal with their financial and property matters independently of their spouse."

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