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National Assembly body approves ‘Reproductive Healthcare and Rights Bill’

By: WAQAR LILLAH

The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Human Rights on Wednesday passed “Reproductive Healthcare and Rights Bill 2012” with consensus, which is aimed at promoting reproductive health rights in accordance with the constitution and international commitments made by the government.

The committee adopted the proposed Bill seeking to promote the reproductive health rights of men and women and to redress the complications related to pregnancy and childbirth, which are among the leading causes of mortality and morbidity for women of reproductive age. The proposed Bill further states that Islamic injunctions enjoin that of all ordained rights, the principal right is the right to life. The Bill also seeks to give legal status to this right because in Pakistan an average eighty women die every day because of pregnancy related complications.

The committee, which met here with Riaz Fatyana in the chair, also discussed the issue of sexual abuse of Wajanti, a minor girl of minority community in District Omerkot. Fatyana expressed grave concern over delay in registration of FIR of the case, saying that loopholes are still there in the investigation. He directed the concerned authorities to carry out the DNA test of the victim urgently.

Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Police Mirpur Khas, Ghulam Haider Jamali, while briefing the committee said that the incident took place on December 2, 2012 and FIR was registered on December 4, while the accused (Rano Mallah r/o Ghulam Nabi Shah Town) has been arrested by the police on December 5.

Medical examination of the arrested accused was conducted on December 5 and the accused was produced before the Court of Civil Judge & JM Sammaro on December 6, where the confessional statement of the accused u/s 164 Cr.P.C was recorded wherein he admitted his guilt, he added.

The DIG informed the committee that the chemical report was received on December 20, which revealed that the arrested accused has raped the girl (Wajanti). Jamali said that police had also interrogated some suspected persons namely Noval Meghwar, Hashim Mangrio and six other, but no evidence of their involvement in the incident was found, adding that accused has been tried in the ATC.

To a question by the committee members about the registration of false cases against the victim family, he said that no single case has been registered against the victim family. He said that the finding of the commission constituted by the Chief Minister Sindh for conducting fresh investigation of the case were same as the investigation report of the police.

The committee recommended that DNA must be carried out during the investigation of the case and such cases should be trialed in ATC. It further recommended that the Courts must take up rape case as early as possible. About the appearance of the MD PTV, Yousuf Baig Mirza before the committee to clarify his position regarding the allegations levelled by a TV actress Ayesha Sana, the chair informed the members that the MD had submitted a reply to the committee, stating that the matter is sub-judice and as per rules and procedure of the National Assembly, the matter could not be discussed in the committee.

Representative of Law Division told the committee that the parallel proceeding would be carried out by the committee in the cases of such nature, however the implementation on the committee’s recommendations would be materialised after the judgement of Court where the case is trailed. Subsequently, the committee decided to take up the matter in its next meeting.


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