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NA partially adopts bill on women rights

By: Tanveer Ahmed

ISLAMABAD: Lower House of parliament, on Tuesday, partially adopted Prevention of Anti-Women Practices (Criminal Law Amendment) Bill, 2008 by passing some amendments in it but referring others to the Law Ministry for a legal opinion following discrepancies pointed out by few lawmakers.

The House, on a private member day, with heavy legislative business on its agenda, went smoothly all along until the Prevention of Anti-Women Practices (Criminal Law Amendment) Bill, 2008, moved by PML-Q MNA Dr Donya Aziz, which was close to be passed, witnessed amendments introduced by MQM MNA SA Iqbal Qadri that triggered some objections from others ultimately leading to Speaker Dr Fahmeeda Mirza to refer some clauses to the Law Ministry for its legal opinion.

However, she declared that the amendments proposed by Qadri with no objection from the mover stood passed.

The bill is aimed at prohibition of depriving women of inheriting property, forced marriages and marriage with the holy Quran.

Interestingly, the bill that received some objections on its language was earlier passed by the Standing Committee on Women Development and vetted by the Law Ministry.

Dr Donya Aziz, though submitted herself to the ruling of the chair to refer some clauses to be re-examined by the Law Ministry, sounded harsh to criticise Adviser to Law Ministry Farooq Awan, who she believed was not well versed with the bill and should be ashamed for not being properly informed on it.

She said there were several practices and customs against human dignity and contrary to the Islamic injunctions.

The House also took up the Right of Information Bill 2011, moved by MNA Sherry Rahman to provide for the recognition and realisation of the right to information and its role in the promotion of good governance and transparent government.

Sherry Rahman, speaking on the bill, pointed out that this would replace the Freedom of Expression Law, 2002, which was introduced during dictatorial regime. She said that there were several hurdles in access to information in the country and noted that right to information was universally recognised as a human right and was also enshrined in the constitution of Pakistan under Article 19A.

She pointed out that significance of the said piece of legislation was the protection of all individuals who disclosed information as the will not be subjected to any legal, administrative and employment related sanction as long as they acted in good faith and in the reasonable belief that the information was substantially true.

MNA Khurram Jahangir Wattoo introduced the Constitution Amendment Bill 2011 (amendment of article 245) seeking that no foreign intervention or violation of international boundaries shall be allowed except with the approval of parliament.

It envisages that all treaties, agreements or MoUs or any other instruments related to the defence of Pakistan or cooperation in the field of defence shall be presented before parliament within 30 days of it signing or execution and duly ratified or subject to changes as made by parliament. MNA Kishan Chand Parwani introduced the Hindu Marriage Bill 2011 to provide a special form of marriage and divorce among Hindus.

Source: Daily Times


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