ISLAMABAD: A grand function to be chaired by President Pervez Musharraf and attended by federal ministers and other MPs, top civil society leaders, senior diplomats, prominent women activists and intellectuals is being organised early next week to celebrate the passage of the Women Protection Bill and as part of the government efforts to enforce it. “For the moment, there are two proposals under consideration: Musharraf will give his assent to the bill at any time or he will sign it in full public view at the high-profile function to be held most probably on December 4 at the Convention Centre,” an official told The News. The ministries of information and women’s development have been assigned to organise the event, he said.
As the government is set to intensify celebrations over the final clearance of the bill, its leading antagonist and Musharraf’s chief opponent, the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), will be heightening its protest. The National Assembly passed the women’s bill in just one day on November 15 at top speed. The bill sailed through the Senate more smoothly with the MMA opposing it rather half-heartedly. The high-profile function is part of the government’s vigorous efforts to project the law that has significantly amended the Hudood Ordinance promulgated by General Ziaul Haq way back in 1979.
The bill has dominated Pakistan’s politics for the past six months. The political focus will remain on it in the coming months as well as the election fever will pick up. In the beginning, the ruling coalition was vacillating because of the likely political repercussions of framing the law. Mainly to drag its feet on the bill, the government side did engage in talks with the MMA and formed a religious scholars’ committee to hammer out consensus on it. However, the recommendations of the body were ignored in the final draft of the women’s bill. This is what its members are saying day in and day out.
Source: The News