PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Domestic Violence against Women (Prevention and Protection) Bill, which has been stuck in the provincial assembly since 2012, is likely to get the nod of lawmakers in the coming sitting of the house as the assembly’s Select Committee unanimously approved its final draft after making certain changes to the original bill.
The department of social welfare, special education and women department requested the assembly’s secretariat to place the bill before the house at the earliest.
A notification said the minister in charge had agreed with the draft amendment made by the law and parliamentary affairs and human right department.
Speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani has called the sitting of the assembly on Monday, which was earlier adjourned, said a notification issued here on Thursday.
Bill likely to be approved in next assembly session
The bill on domestic violence has been pending with the assembly since 2012. The first draft was tabled in the assembly in 2012 when the Awami National Party and Pakistan Peoples Party had a coalition government in the centre and province as well. The Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl had stanchly opposed it at that time.
The document was redrafted during the coalition government of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Jamaat-i-Islami and was tabled in the assembly in 2016. The JI had expressed serious reservations about the bill, whose draft was referred to the Council of Islamic Ideology. The council fully rejected the draft and termed it un-Islamic.
After getting an overwhelming majority in the 2018 general elections, the PTI government tabled the bill in the assembly on Feb 11, 2019, and was referred to the Select Committee of the house over objections raised by the MMA lawmakers.
After reaching an agreement with the MMA, the government has now decided to introduce the bill in the coming sitting. Amendments proposed by the MMA have been incorporated in the bill.
“We have now no objection to the bill as certain amendments proposed by us have been included in it,” said MMA MPA Inayatullah Khan, who is also a member of the Select Committee.
He said the main contention of the MMA was that certain clauses of the bill were in conflict with the teachings of the Holy Quran and Sunnah.
“A wrong perception was created that the MMA is not against domestic violence. In fact, we (MMA) were opposing certain sections of the bill,” he said, adding that the MMA would not oppose the bill provided that changes proposed by the Select Committee were incorporated in the draft.
One of the changes proposed by MMA to the bill is inclusion of a clarification related to ‘sexual abuse’ so as to exclude ‘marital rape’ from it.
Now, Section 2(P)(iii) of the bill provides that ‘sexual abuse’ does not include ordinary and natural relationship amongst husband and wife so committed in accordance with injunctions of Islam.
The definition of ‘psychological abuse’ has also been slightly changed and now it is defined as “psychological deterioration of aggrieved person which may result in anorexia, a suicide attempt, or clinically proven depression resulting from complainee (accused) oppressive behavior or limiting freedom of movement of the aggrieved person.”
Violence is defined as an act, omission, commission, or conduct of the complainee, which results in any physical, psychological, emotional and economic abuse to the complainant and also include but not limited to abetment, assault, criminal force, criminal intimidation, hurt, mischief, harassment, sexual abuse and wrongful confinement as defined in the Pakistan Penal Code.
The proposed law prohibits domestic violence saying no person will commit, aid and abet for the commission of the act of domestic violence.
Another change made to the initial bill is about the composition of the district protection committee.
The initial draft included four persons from civil society apart from other members in the DPC, which has now been reduced to two. Similarly, on insistence of the MMA, the district khateeb of the relevant district and a psychologist have also been included in the DPC as members.
Other members of the DPC will be the relevant deputy commissioner as its chairman, executive district health officer, district officer social welfare, district public prosecutor and chairperson of the relevant district committee on the status of women.