ISLAMABAD: Specter of violence against women continues in different forms and various events taking place in different parts of the country expose the macabre consequences sending waves of shock and alarm in the society. Women being considered as weaker segment of society are more vulnerable to many forms of violence and among them domestic violence represents the most common form.
The oft quoted ‘Women thy name is frailty’ resounds in oneÂ’s mind when a heart rending picture of wailing and crying females are brought naked and when especially every effort is made to condone these barbaric and un-Islamic incidents with self proclaimed social and traditional taboos. The recent incident in Balochistan was an eye opener for those vying in the forefront for the women’ cause. Putting females under the shackles of centuries old traditions in form of vani, sawra, karo kari and wata sata continue to persist in remote areas under the patronage of elders or the influential clans. Among these forms, domestic violence is a multifaceted problem with biological, psychological, social and environmental roots as evident from various incidents of brute violence perpetrated by family members or in laws. Many factors including social, political, religious and local taboos continue to resist attempts to change the whole landscape.
The World Health Organization defines domestic violence as “the range of sexually, psychologically and physically coercive acts used against adult and adolescent women.” “Domestic violence, hidden in nature and considered as a private matter involves physical, sexual, emotional, social, economic and physiological abuse committed by a person,” as defined by legal experts. There is a need to provide legal mechanism for protection of victims of domestic violence in line with the provision of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The Article 25 establishes the principle of equality of all citizens before law and then goes on to disallow discrimination on the basis of sex and then to allow the state to make special provisions for the protection of women and children. Articles 27 and 34, allow affirmative action for women and Article 35, which confers special protection on the family, marriage, the mother and the child. The amended Protection of Women (Criminals Laws Amendment) Act, 2006 provides ‘relief’ and protection to women against misuse and abuse of laws relating to Zina and Qazf (Enforcement of Hudood Ordinance 1979), and the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act 1939.
However, the issue of domestic violence under this law remains unaddressed.Numerous cases are reported but the officials concerned offer reluctance to intervene by terming them as ‘private affair’ of the complainants. An effort to address the issue was, however, made by the National Assembly Standing Committee on Women Development on April 26, 2007 when a bill called ‘Domestic Violence Against Women and Children (Prevention and Protection) Bill, 2007’ was submitted to the cabinet for approval. However there was no progress and the then government’s tenure ended on November 2007. Protection of Women (Criminals Laws Amendment) Act, 2006 has been enacted on December 1, 2006 to provide relief and protection to women against misuse and abuse of law and to prevent their exploitation. This Act is providing 30 important amendments in the existing Offence of Zina and Qazf (Enforcement of Hadood Ordinance 1979), the Pakistan Penal Code (Act XLV of 1860), the Code of Criminal Procedure 1898 (Act V of 1898), and the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act 1939. Shaheena Iqbal advocate opined that all of us should know how much meaningful steps were required to end violence against women.
Source: The Frontier Post