Pakistan Poised to Finally Outlaw Domestic Violence Against Women

Islamabad, Pakistan- The Pakistani legislature is poised to at last outlaw domestic violence as a bill has passed the lower house of parliament and needs passage by the Senate prior to signing into law by President Asif Ali Zardari.

Those individuals that are found guilty of beating women and or children could face a maximum six month in jail and also be fined up to 100,000 rupees  or a little more than $1200 US , a considerable sum for the average Pakistani.

The law will classify domestic violence as any act of physical, mental or sexual assault, force, harassment, hurt, confinement, and deprivation of economic or financial resources. For years, many Pakistani and International Human Rights groups have complained that Pakistani women suffer severe discrimination, violence and “honor killings” where a victim is murdered for allegedly bringing any perceived shame or dishonor to their family. In many villages rape is commonplace and used as a form of punishment against a family or clan by ones who have been “wronged” to settle scores.

Women have been increasingly isolated and marginalized by the spread of fundamentalism in many parts of Pakistan where the Taliban have brought a strict and narrow minded interpretation of Islam and the roles of women in it.

“This is very good news. Introducing a law against domestic violence was long a demand for this country’s women,” said Farzana Bari, a women’s activist who told a reporter for the Associated Press that as many as one in three women were subject to domestic violence.  “We want to put pressure on the government to implement this legislation in the true letter and spirit, despite social, feudal and tribal norms which do not facilitate women’s empowerment,” she said. “In our society, many women and children are not protected even inside their houses, this law will help them,” she added.

The passage of this bill is long overdue and necessary as Pakistan’s society needs to enact what is considered a basic law in many countries and one that treats women and children as individuals rather than the property of men. It is hoped that the Senate of Pakistan quickly passes the bill and Zardari signs it into law as women in Pakistan need to be protected by the rule of law in this very paternal and still very much feudal society.

 

Reported by Manzer Munir for www.PakistanisforPeace.com

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  1. The culture of violence is pervasive in the Arab/Moslem world. No law will change this.

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