ISLAMABAD, Nov 9: President Gen Pervez Musharraf has directed the government to get the Protection of Women Bill passed `at all costs’ during the forthcoming National Assembly session starting on Friday. Addressing a meeting on Wednesday, the president said that discussion on the proposed bill should be held as soon as Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz returned home from abroad.
According to official sources, he said if there were any need for `minor’ improvement in the bill it should be done during the assembly proceedings. He said the bill should have been adopted much earlier, adding that differences within the ruling coalition over the issue should be sorted out. “The government must take a firm stand on the Protection of Women Bill,” the president was quoted as having said at the meeting attended by several national and provincial legislators.
The government, the sources said, was in a difficult situation because if it took into account the MMA committee’s recommendations then its ally Muttahida Qaumi Movement and the opposition Pakistan People’s Party of Benazir Bhutto would not be siding with it. Besides, the meeting set up a committee under Information Minister Muhammad Ali Durrani to `aggressively’ project in the media the government’s point of view on the Bajaur air strike and the Dargai suicide attack. “But we conveyed to the president that we cannot effectively defend the government on these incidents because nobody shares information with us,” said one participant.