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Violence against women to be dealt with sternly: Faisal

ISLAMABAD: The issue of honour killing (Karo-Kari) echoed in the National Assembly on Tuesday and Interior Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat assured the House that the government would not allow any discrimination law against women.

The minister gave the assurance while speaking on a calling attention notice that was moved by MP Bhandara, Mehnaz Rafi, Kashmala Tariq, Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada and Dr Muhammad Farooq Sattar. The calling attention notice was about the incidents of Karo-Kari in the country and the selling of a girl by her father against her wishes at Mirpur Mathelo.

The minister said the government would ensure implementation of the law in its true spirit and take serious notice for not registering an FIR in any case of honour killing. Faisal said although maintaining law and order is purely a provincial matter, however, the federal government would take notice of any case of honour killing if reported by the members of the Parliament.

The minister said the government was concerned over the incidents of Karo-Kari as these occur frequently. “The laws exist to deal with such acts,” he added. Faisal warned if the staff at police station refused to lodge an FIR against such cases, he would hold inquiry against them.

Earlier, Parliamentary Secretary for Interior, Sanaullah Khan Mastikhel opposed the calling attention notice terming it baseless. He said he had inquired from the Superintendent Police, Mirpur Mathelo about the issue who informed him that no such incident took place in the area. However, women members on both the sides were not satisfied with the answer and rose on their seats to protest against the issue.

MP Bhandara said his notice was based on a news report published in a national daily. He deplored that more than 90 per cent attackers had been acquitted by trial courts because of flaws in judicial system. Mehnaz Rafi urged the government to keep strict vigil on the killing of women in the name of honour. Kashmala Tariq stressed the need for making fresh legislation on discriminatory laws against women especially Articles 338, 308, 306, 307 and 309 of Pakistan Penal Code. She complained about the incorrect reporting of such incidents. Riaz Hussain Pirzada said that nobody could be allowed to kill people for the sake of social traditions. Dr Farooq Sattar also criticized the killing in name of Karo Kari and termed it a symbol of feudalism.

Agencies add: Presiding officer Wasi Zafar Chaudhry gave a ruling after some discussion on a motion moved by MNA Sherry Rehman for the elimination of gender discrimination as prohibited in the Constitution that the assembly would continue the debate on gender discriminatory laws on the next private member’s day.

MNA Nahid Khan said women are suffering in the country due to discriminatory laws against them. She demanded the repeal of the Hudood Ordinance due to which, she said, hundreds of women were sent to jails on petty issues. She criticized abolishing of the five per cent quota for women in government jobs and said that government must provide opportunities to women in all fields. MNA Hafiz Hussain Ahmad said there was no question of negating the rights of women as enunciated by Islam. However, he opposed the motion, saying, “No law can be changed or altered falling in the category of ‘Hadood-e-Allah’. He said, “We should not forget our genuine social norms, while imitating the western values”.

He said the Islamic Ideology Council should be consulted to review the laws like the Hudood Ordinance. Nafeesa Raja said women had been suffering from the implications of the Hudood Ordinance for the last 23 years.

Sahibzada Fazal Karim strongly condemned the motion and termed it a step to manipulate the laws enunciated by the Holy Quran. Wasi Zafar told the House that 17 MNAs had opposed the motion.

He suspended the debate till the next private member’s day. Parliamentary Secretary Interior Sanaullah Mastikhel assured the assembly that the Computerized National Identity Cards (CNICs) are being issued to all the genuine Pakistanis.

Source: The News

Date:3/31/2004

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