By: Akhtar Amin
PESHAWAR: Registration of cases under the new law of “Enforcement of Women Ownership Rights Act” 2012 has been started in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where women are deprived of rights in the inherited property in most families.
The first case, “Mst Nazakat Sultan v/s Sardar Imtiaz Hussain,” etc in accordance with the new law was registered and is under trial in the court of district and sessions judge.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government took the lead in empowering the women and protecting their rights in the inherited property by passing the law on June 5, 2012. Under the law the violators would be punished by imprisonment of up to five years and a fine not exceeding Rs50,000.
The law says: “No person shall violate, curtail or obstruct the right of ownership or possession of women in the inherited property.” The provincial Anti-Corruption Department after completing procedural formalities including forensic examination of the power of attorney registered an FIR on September 4 against Sardar Imtiaz and his brothers under the new law.
An official of the Anti-Corruption Department said the respondent brothers were facing charges of fraud and forgery to allegedly deprive their sisters of their inherited property through use of a fake power of attorney.
A member of the Human Rights Commission, South Asia, Abdul Samad Marwat, told The News that filing of cases under the new law was encouraging and good news for thousands of women who are being deprived of inherited property.
He said the unlawful practice was being observed across the country and women were even deprived of their right of marriage due to fear that they would demand their right of inheritance. He said judiciary was the only hope for the women to get this right.
About the likely non-implementation of the law, he opined the women could easily get inheritance right if they started filing and pursuing cases. The federal and provincial governments have made necessary enactments and amendments in section 498-A of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), 1860 to bring it in line with the provisions of the said act.
The new laws cover a wide range of rights for women, including granting them constitutional protection in claiming their rights in inheriting property and making it a criminal offence if they are deprived of their rightful share in the inherited property.