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‘Bill on domestic violence soon’

KARACHI, July 7: MPA Humaira Alwani of the Pakistan People’s Party on Monday said that preparation of a bill to check domestic violence was under way and urged the masses to come forward with their suggestions on the basis of which a comprehensive law could be formulated.

Addressing a press conference at the Sindh Assembly, the treasury member, quoting a study, said that almost one in every three women in the country was subjected to domestic violence. Since there was no specific law to check the menace, the culprits never got punished, she said.

Ms Alwani said that in the first quarter of the current year over 328 incidents of violence against women had been reported in which 35 women had been killed after being declared kari, over 110 women were raped, ten women were gang raped, 24 had committed suicide, 30 were subjected to severe domestic violence, acid was thrown at six women while two others were burnt.

She deplored that whenever a woman or a child managed to gather enough courage and reported matters pertaining to domestic violence to the police, instead of taking any action against the culprits, the victims were asked to return home as it was their internal matter.

The PPP legislator said that domestic violence was not specific only to Pakistan, it was a global phenomenon and it occurred even in highly developed countries like the USA, and the UK but as there were specific laws in those countries which were enforced effectively, the culprits were taken to task.

She said that she had spoken to the chief minister who assured her of the government’s support and said that the bill would also be discussed in the cabinet, which she would submit with the assembly as a private member’s bill.

Ms Alwani said that though her party had the required strength in the assembly and it could easily pass the bill, she still wanted to develop a consensus.

She said that she had also approached the MQM legislators, who had also assured her of their support, and would also approach other members of the assembly and hopefully the bill, would be adopted unanimously.

She said that it was her party’s policy to abolish all the laws that were discriminatory. She said that the government also planned to increase the number of family courts.

Ms Alwani said that she was also working on the issue of harassment at the workplace and a relevant bill would also be submitted with the assembly soon.

She said that efforts were also being made to declare jirgas illegal and steps were under way to ensure that women got their share in inheritance and quota for women in every field was being enhanced.
Source: Dawn

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