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Pro-women draft bill: government decides to amend law on domestic violence

ISLAMABAD: The government on Friday decided to make changes in different clauses of a landmark pro-woman draft bill – Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Bill, 2009 – after right-wing parliamentarians resisted its passage from the joint-sitting of the parliament.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman chief of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F), who had openly threatened of dire consequences if the bill was bulldozed, walked out from the meeting, which was convened to discuss the controversial clauses of the draft bill after the opposition blocked its passage from joint-session on Thursday.

Maulana Fazalur Rehman accused NGOs of working on foreign agenda and told media persons that the proposed bill did not reflect Islamic values and had similarities with Indian laws.

“This bill will not help women in getting justice.

It will rather pave the way for vulgarity in the society and what to comment on freedom to woman, as the Council of Islamic Ideology (CCI) has already given its recommendations”, he maintained.

While talking exclusively with this scribe, Yasmeen Rehman, a PPP MNA who moved the bill in parliament on April 5, said: “We discussed the bill with other political parties today (Friday) during a meeting headed by Khurshid Ahmed Shah.

MNAs including Dr Azra, Maulana Fazalur Rehman, Attiya Inayatullah, Zahid Hamid and Haider Abbas Rizvi also attended the meeting.

“The bill’s controversial points were reviewed.

The overall result of the meeting was positive but the final review of the bill would be held on Monday during a meeting headed by Syed Khurshid Ahmed Shah.

The bill would be re-tabled on Monday or Tuesday (next week),” Yasmeen Rehman said.

While talking exclusively to Business Recorder, Wasim Wagha of the Aurat Foundation said: “Women have been facing atrocities and violence committed by men since long.

Women are treated like animals in most of remote areas of Pakistan.

Forced marriages, Wani, marriage with Holy Quran to save property and karo-kari are some of the brutalities the women have to face”.

Wagha said that gender equality did not imply that women and men were not different, but that they had equal value and should be accorded equal treatment.

Despite many improvements in the status of women, there were still many inequalities as two-thirds of the people in the world who cannot read are female, nearly 70 per cent of the world’s poorest are also females.

“We, the members of civil society and human rights activists, once again strongly condemn the deferral of the long-pending and most urgently needed bill on domestic violence due to patriarchal, anti-women mindset of some of our male parliamentarians”, The bill was unanimously passed by the National Assembly in 2009 and was referred to a mediation committee by the Senate.

After the 18th Amendment, Senator Nilofar Bakhtiar moved the same bill in the Senate and it was passed unanimously.

Shockingly, the JUI-F, PML-N and the PPP expressed their reservations and asked for more time to review the contents of the bill.

Condemning the parliament’s reluctance to provide legal protection to women against family violence, civil society activists called for immediate passage of the bill on domestic violence from joint sitting of the parliament.

Business Recorder