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Women’s Welfare Bill tabled in NA

ISLAMABAD: Women parliamentarians of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) submitted the Bill of Women Welfare and Development Act 2004 in the National Assembly Secretariat on Thursday. The bill demanded that women should not be detained in prisons and should be subjected to house arrest only.

“Through this Bill, we demand that accused women should not be detailed in jails,” MNA Samia Raheel Qazi said. Only 30 percent of women, who are currently imprisoned, were charged under the Zina Ordinance, she said. The rest had been detained in drug cases. She also said that the MMA believed that the Hudood Ordinance should be amended but not repealed.

“There are certain problems with the implementation of the Hudood Ordinance which must be corrected,” she said. “But being a law of the Quran, even parliament has no right to repeal the Hudood Ordinance.” Ms Qazi said that MMA would meet the prime minister and other women parliamentarians from different political parties to develop consensus over the issue of the women’s bill.

“Citizen committees comprising local people should be formed at all police stations,” the bill suggests.” The government should appoint policewomen to every police station in the country to register complaints against and by women and girls.” The bill held that the option of pre-arrest bail should be given to women and that cases related to women should be processed immediately. The bill demanded that honour killings, which deprive women of their legitimate right to inheritance and ban second marriages, should be declared a punishable offence. Other traditions like Swara and Wani should also be made punishable offences. Through the bill, steps would be taken to get women a share in their parent’s assets after their marriages and “property in the name of women” would be declared “personal property”.

The bill read that the media should highlight the true character of women and all programmes that damage the dignity of women should be banned. Basic health units should be established at the union council level where a lady doctor should be present and special courts should be established to try women suffering from mental and physical torture.

The bill also talked about throwing acid on women and said that the offence should be given stricter punishment. Manufacturing low quality stoves should also be a cognisable offence. The bill demanded that burn units should be established at all main hospitals of the country and that women universities should be set up in all federating units. MMA parliamentarians condemned the killing of the two Pakistanis in Iraq and said that the incident proved the failure of President Pervez Musharraf’s foreign policy. They said that these polices were taking the president to a “point of no return” because they had been adopted on the advice of the US and were against Islam and Muslims. Women parliamentarians also demanded that the president should announce that Pakistan would not send troops to Iraq.

Source: Daily Times

Date:7/30/2004

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