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Bill in PA on women’s ownership rights

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly will legislate to protect and secure the right of ownership of women of their movable and immovable property.

Pakistan People’s Party MPA Noor Sahar introduced “The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Enforcement of Women Ownership Rights Bill, 2011” in the assembly on Thursday that proposed to declare deprivation of women of their ownership as a penal offence punishable up to five years imprisonment and fine of Rs50,000.

The bill says that Islamic Sharia provides equal guarantee for the protection of life and property of men and women whereas the Constitution and Section 5 of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Sharia Act, 2003 enjoins upon the government to legislate with respect to the protection of the said right.

It says that Sharia gives due respect to women in society and guarantees their right of ownership. The mover said that the right of ownership of women was at stake in the society and such rights were violated by means of coercion, fraud, fabrication, forgery and cheating. It was necessary to protect and secure the said rights of women in society, she added.

The bill defines the ‘ownership’ as the right of ownership in the property both movable and immovable, which is devolved upon and vested in women by way of inheritance, gift, purchase, mehr or acquired by them by way of any other legal and Sharia means. It proposes that no person shall abridge, violate, curtail or obstruct the right of ownership or possession of a woman, nor shall he dispossess any woman of her property save in accordance with the law.

According to the bill whenever a woman files a suit, the court shall decide the case in six months and district police shall hand over possession within one month of decision of court failing which the said officer shall be charged under Section 5.

Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Barrister Arshad Abdullah did not oppose the bill.

MPA Abdul Akbar Khan withdrew The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Malicious Accusation Discouraging Bill, 2011 after law minister told the house that government was already working on the issue and would bring a bill very soon. MPA Mohammad Zameen Khan also withdrew The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Public Service Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2011.

Earlier, Awami National Party MPA Saqibullah Khan Chamkani through a call attention notice expressed serious concern over deteriorating law and order situation in the suburban localities of provincial capital.

He complained that police had failed to curb lawlessness in the surroundings of Kohat Road and its adjacent areas. He said that the area had become ‘no go zone’ and robbers, kidnappers and other criminal gangs had been given free hand. The lawmaker said that activists of Lashkar-i-Islam, a militant group based in Khyber Agency, were also involved in kidnapping for ransom.

Source: DAWN