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‘Govt committed to ending violence against women’

ISLAMABAD: The government was determined to root out anti-women practices, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Sherry Rehman said on Tuesday.

She said all the political forces agreed that heinous practices like alleged killing of girls in Balochistan could not be condoned. Sherry said that the alleged honour killing case in Balochistan was under investigation and Pakistan People’s Party Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari had urged the government to take action on it.

“The PPP co-chairman discussed this issue in a meeting with the prime minister, stressing that the culprits should be brought to book even if they come from an influential background,” she said.

“Zardari said that the protection of the citizen’s lives is the responsibility of the government. There can be no justification for honour killings and the government has an obligation to stop such practices by punitive legislative and institutional measures,” Sherry quoted. She said that arrests had already been made. “In the past, the PPP had moved legislation on honour killing in parliament on several occasions. A legislation that denies indemnity to the perpetrators of such crimes is the most effective tool to fight this practice,” the minister added.

Sherry said a democratic society could not tolerate an act that endorsed eliminating a life in the name of honour. The unanimous resolution passed by the Senate condemning the incident reflected the consensus of the political forces and public representatives that this practice was unacceptable, she said.

“This is a very encouraging sign since earlier such acts would always receive a divided response from the both the Houses.” Sherry added that the government’s seriousness to curb honour killings and for the well being of women reflected its strong commitment to the cause of human rights.

Law-making: “Our steps to root out anti-women practices go beyond law-making. We are working to facilitate institutional structures to ensure that our policy actions are backed by institutional capabilities to respond to such crimes,” she said. “It is our government’s commitment and the responsibility to ensure that no part of the population has their rights suppressed by illegal customs,” she said.
Source: Daily Times
Date:9/3/2008

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