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Govt accused of committing gender discrimination

KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly on Thursday recommended the provincial government to approach the federal government to repeal section 89 of Pakistan Penal Code which allows punishment to the students of age below 12 years of age in the schools.

Moved by PPP’s MPA Shamim Ara Panhwar and signed by the other MPAs, the resolution said that currently the section 89 of the Pakistan Penal Code was allowed punishment in good faith for the benefit of a person under 12 years of age, or of unsound mind, which needs to be repealed as the section of the law is being misused by some teachers by giving corporal punishment to the students.

Panhwar said that many teachers were found involved in torturing the students in the name of corporal punishment, which had resulted in drop out ratio in primary and secondary schools in the province.

She unveiled that not only the students leave the school because of the constant fear of punishment, but it affects the mental health of the students too.

During the speeches on the resolution, the members divided as some of the MPAs supported the some punishment for the students in the schools.

Education Minister Pir Mazharul Haq supported the idea of repealing the 89 Section of PPC, saying that taking advantage of the law even those students are given the punishment who are not able to sustain it, which is hazardous.

Ruling PPP’s Humera Alwani claimed that there were 30 per cent drop out ratio in government schools because of the corporal punishment.

She emphasised on the government to bring a law to regulate the religious seminaries in the province, where students beaten regularly.

Speaking against the idea of repeal of the law, MPA Chairman Public Account Committee Jam Tamachi Unar said that teachers give the corporal for the benefit of students, which should be continued.

Nuzhat Pathan of PML-Likeminded and Anwar Mahar of PPP said that light punishment is good to ensure discipline among the students. Later, the resolution was passed unanimously.

Meanwhile, the House also adopted another resolution moved by Bilqees Mukhtar of MQM which said stated that government is requested to revive introduction of the training of Girls Guidance, National Cadet Course, Civil Defence and First aid training for all the students in the schools and colleges with immediate effect.

Majority of the MPAs especially women lawmakers including Humera Alwani, Farheen Mughal and others supported the idea and said that after rape incidents in India, the girls were being imparted with training of martial arts for self defence.

However, the Public Accounts Committee Chairman MPA Sardar Jam Tamachi Unar while speaking on the resolution advised the house to not float such ideas as women start torturing their spouse. He said that women should not come out without wearing scarf/Hijab. He advised the house to move a resolution to ensure that every woman must wear a scarf to remain safe from any attack. Meanwhile, MQM’s MPA Heer Soho moved a privilege motion, alleging that finance and planning department has reduced the funds MPAs’ priority programme of women MPas elected on reserved seats to half, which is gender discrimination.

She informed the house that Sindh government has announced to allocate Rs60 million funds for all MPAs, but fifty per cent funds have been given to women lawmakers, however all funds have been released to our male colleagues.

Sindh Minister for Food Nadir Magsi supported the privilege motion and advocated the case of women MPAs, saying that they must get equal share of the funds as male MPAs receiving.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah assured the mover to look into the matter and revive the equal share of funds for the women MPAs. Later, the mover withdrew her privilege motion.

Meanwhile, Saleem Khurshid Khokhar of PPP in his adjournment motion said that blasphemy law is being misused in the country.

He referred the murder of the Governor Punjab Salman Taseer, and recently case lodged against the Pakistan’s Ambassador in USA Sherry Rehman was also misuse of the law. However, the law minister opposed the adjournment motion as Speaker also terming the motion as out of order rejected it.

Source: The Nation

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