LAHORE: The approval of the Punjab Protection of Women against Violence Bill 2015 will help curb incidents of violence against women, said Salman Sufi, a senior member of the CM’s Special Monitoring Unit Law and Order, on Sunday.
“The bill was passed after addressing and incorporating all reservations of members of the civil society, leaders of the Opposition and Islamic scholars,” he said.
He said that the chief minister wanted to ensure that legislation should make a real difference in the lives of victims of domestic violence. “It is for the first time that a bill provides protection through an in-built implementation mechanism to ensure speedy justice-delivery to victims,” he said.
Sufi said that Pakistan had been declared the third most dangerous country in the world for women. “The conviction rate for such cases is very low. Violence against women cases are increasing in the Punjab. In Punjab, eight women are raped, 11 battered and assaulted, and 32 women are abducted daily,” he said.
He said that the bill had been approved by the cabinet in May 2015. “It was first laid before the Punjab Assembly in June 2015. Many reservations were raised against the bill. In order to address them, the law minister formed a committee consisting of all parties. After more than nine months of meetings, eight amendments were made to the bill. Jamaat-i-Islami’s Dr Waseem Akhtar’s only reservation was the language used about the forced entry of protection officers into a victim’s house to save her from abuse. At his request, the language was amended. The whole committee then supported the bill,” he said.
He said that the bill included comprehensive protection from crimes including abetment of an offence; domestic abuse; emotional and psychological abuse; economic abuse; stalking; and cybercrime.
Separately, Punjab Commission on the Status of Women Chairperson Fauzia Viqar praised the passage of the Punjab Protection of Women against Violence Bill 2015. “The bill is aimed at upholding the principles of kindness, justice and equality enunciated by Islam,” she said.
She said that the Constitution promised equality and protection to all its citizens. “It encourages special provisions for women and children in Article 25 (3),” she said.
She said that the legislation was a deterrent against domestic violence.