PAN, July 7, 2010

Women barred from venturing out of homes

"The religious scholars asked women not to go to bazaars without male relatives"

Jafar Tayar

Clerics in northern Badakhshan province Wednesday issued a resolution, asking women to refrain from venturing out of home without an immediate male relative.

Women in burqa
Such Taliban-era laws are becoming more common in Afghanistan and is increasing the restrictions put on women by the Taliban as well.

The resolution was issued by members of the provincial ulema council members, who met in the Juram district two weeks after unidentified gunmen shot dead two women allegedly involved in prostitution.

Daulat Muhammad, administrative head of the district, told Pajhwok Afghan News the decision was taken to prevent the killing of women.The women had been referred to the provincial attorney office, but they were granted bail for lack of a female detention facility. The women were gunned down the day they were bailed out.

"The religious scholars asked women not to go to bazaars without male relatives," said Muhammad, who explained that the resolution was not applicable to girl students, female teachers and government officials.

Women's Affairs Director Zo Fanoon was unaware of the clerics' decision. However, she supported any step aimed at preventing illegitimate activities."The implementation of such a resolution should not violate women's rights," said the regional head of Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), Wahiduddin Arghoon.

Some women in the district expressed concern at the resolution, fearing it could create problems for them.

"Such restrictions may create problems," said Nasima, 30, who purchases edibles and other daily-use items for her family. She added she would be happy if the resolution prevented immorality, but it should not deprive women of their freedoms.

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