Women-specific bills passed: Fourteen-year jail term for acid-throwers

Published: December 12, 2011

The bill was introduced last year by then MNA Marvi Memon, MNA Begum Shahnaz Sheikh and Advocate Anusha Rehman in a bid to prevent the growing incidents of violence against women. DESIGN: FAIZAN DAWOOD

ISLAMABAD: Acid victims sitting in the gallery of the upper house witnessed the landmark Senate proceedings in awe.

The Senate unanimously pass­ed two historical bills upholding the rights of women, The Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention Bill 2010 and The Prevention of Anti-Women Practices (Criminal Law Amendment) Bill 2008, on Monday — indicating the changing status of the Pakistani women.

The bill on Acid control and Acid Crime recommends 14-year to lifetime imprisonment sentences and levies fines up to Rs1 million for the perpetrators of the crime.

The Senate unanimously passed the twice-snubbed landmark private bill demanding greater social protection for women, the Prevention of Anti-Women Practices Act 2011, which was authored by PML-Q MNA Dr Donya Aziz. It had remained stuck for three years, first in various National Assembly committees and then the house itself.

Reactions

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani hailed the passage of the bills and congratulated the members of parliament asserting: “This reflects the great effort and struggle by women lawmakers of Pakistan which will be praised by international community”.

The bills

Mover of the acid prevention bill Senator Neelofar Bakhtiar expressed gratitude to the members of the Senate for supporting the bills regarding women-specific issues.

Senator Najma Hameed of PML-N also thanked the house and noted: “It’s a historical moment for us. For the first time there has been no opposition for any bill in the upper house.”

The purpose of the bill is to control the import, production, transportation, hoarding, sale and use of acid to prevent misuse and provide legal support to acid and burn victims.

The bill was introduced last year by then MNA Marvi Memon, MNA Begum Shahnaz Sheikh and Advocate Anusha Rehman in a bid to prevent the growing incidents of violence against women. After much scrutiny, the committee of women development approved the bill in October 2011, further amending the Pakistan Penal Code 1860. The amendment in Section 336-B states: “Whoever causes hurt by corrosive substance shall be punished with imprisonment for life or imprisonment of either description which shall not be less than fourteen years with a minimum fine of Rs1 million.”

While appreciating the passage of the Prevention of Anti-Women Practices (Criminal Law Amendment) Bill, Dr Donya Aziz revealed that she and other supporters of the bill in the National Assembly and its standing committee had faced significant resistance.

Fair treatment for the fairer sex

• Forcing a woman into marriage for settling a dispute to be a non- bailable offence

• Bartering a woman in such a way to be punishable by three to five years jail and a fine of Rs0.5 million

• Depriving a woman of her inheritance can lead to imprisonment of between five and 10 years or a fine of Rs1 million or both

• Forced marriages (other than those for settling disputes) to be punishable by between three and 10 years jail and a fine of Rs0.5 million

• Forcing a woman to “marry” the Holy Quran to result in a jail term of three to seven years and a fine of Rs0.5 million

Published in The Express Tribune, December 13th, 2011.

Reader Comments (39)

  • sashayub
    Dec 12, 2011 - 8:48PM

    would this include the protection of women, who refuse the decision of Wani???

    Recommend

  • Salma
    Dec 12, 2011 - 8:57PM

    and they say it’s sham parliament. Shame on those who say this just because they themselves are not yet a part of the parliament! great achievement but one should not forget all those women who for long years tirelessly fought for this legislation and those who have been subject to these practices. Today is their day!

    Recommend

  • Imran Mohammad
    Dec 12, 2011 - 9:26PM

    throwing acid, physical violence and sexual torture against women will be considered >>criminal acts and the one found guilty of the crime would..

    So that means it was ok before. So, anyone who has committed these acts up until now is not criminal. What an oxymoron !!! It just tells what kind of society are we.

    Recommend

  • Salman
    Dec 12, 2011 - 10:18PM

    Good work Senator Nilofar Bakhtiar.

    Recommend

  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Dec 12, 2011 - 10:34PM

    Congratulations.

    Pakistan is progressing.

    Recommend

  • Mirza
    Dec 12, 2011 - 10:37PM

    @Salma: I agree with you 100%. IT is not surprising that the rightwing parties are bent upon undoing the democratic mandte. It is always mullah/military and SC alliance which has been udndoing the previous election results.
    Let us hope that the new govt of righwing parties does not change this law as “unIslamic”. There is an open war going on in Pakistan against the secular elected govt. Let us hope that people (especially women) wake up and fight against the tribal, mullah and rightwing alliance. Even if the current govt is not good let us not throw the baby with the bathwater.
    Thanks and regards,
    Mirza

    Recommend

  • Cautious
    Dec 12, 2011 - 11:30PM

    Step in the right direction — unfortunately I’m pretty sure that people who think it’s acceptable to throw acid in a woman’s face don’t care whether you pass “special laws” or not. For reasons beyond me some people in your society think this is culturally acceptable – and you need to work on that.

    Recommend

  • Parvez
    Dec 12, 2011 - 11:36PM

    This appears to be good news. Let us hope that those effected by such crime get relief through the law and it does not remain a paper exercise.

    Recommend

  • Realist.
    Dec 12, 2011 - 11:41PM

    Good Work parliament.

    Still a rubber-stamp Parliament ?
    A parliament which recovered Billions through Public accounts committee is still a rubberstamp parliament because JI or IK is not the part of it.

    Recommend

  • mehwisheraz
    Dec 13, 2011 - 12:24AM

    indeed its a great effort……women are always underestimated and being “punished” by so called illetrate law makers…i hope this is a ray of happiness 4 them bt only in case if law is implemented rightly

    Recommend

  • Realist.
    Dec 13, 2011 - 12:39AM

    Nilofar Bakhtyar has proved herself to be a Gem for pakistani women & the society at large.
    SHE was the one who initiated Amendments in Hudood laws!

    Recommend

  • Asad
    Dec 13, 2011 - 1:12AM

    wait a minute….forced marriages and abuses against women were not crime until now?

    Recommend

  • farhan
    Dec 13, 2011 - 1:12AM

    This should be non bailable, compoundable, min life term offence. Shame on everyone. This is a farce.

    Recommend

  • Nomi
    Dec 13, 2011 - 2:15AM

    Those who are responsible and practice all this are sitting in Parliament. They know how to deal with it even if it is a Law…They are above Law.

    Recommend

  • Tariq
    Dec 13, 2011 - 3:04AM

    Good decision. I am happy people are working for human rights.

    Recommend

  • alicia
    Dec 13, 2011 - 3:10AM

    Is domestic violence a crime under this law?

    Recommend

  • waqas
    Dec 13, 2011 - 3:12AM

    TAIT!!!!!!! something mysteriously positive…. :)

    Recommend

  • Mohammad Ahmed Khan
    Dec 13, 2011 - 3:41AM

    Good but it would be more good if such animals punished according to this law.

    Recommend

  • Singh
    Dec 13, 2011 - 4:35AM

    Congratulation to all Pakistani. It is good baby step toward better Pakistan. Please keep your journey toward better social life.

    Recommend

  • Adeel759
    Dec 13, 2011 - 4:40AM

    Well Done, Pakistan.

    Recommend

  • Temur
    Dec 13, 2011 - 4:47AM

    Great news. Only strict laws and their implementation can bring us out of jahiliya.

    Recommend

  • Dec 13, 2011 - 5:14AM

    A Great job by the parliament.

    Recommend

  • Hu Jintao
    Dec 13, 2011 - 5:14AM

    @Imran Mohammad:
    Issues like these were handled by Civil Departments now its changed Crime

    Recommend

  • Aini
    Dec 13, 2011 - 5:52AM

    I agree. This is a good step to empower women. I just hope that all the money they receive is put towards the paltry amount the government spends on public education. But I doubt many of the people who actually do such criminal acts against women even have a million rupees. And if acid is hard to get, they will merely use oil or boiling water.
    The only way to empower yourself in this world is to gain knowledge and distribute it.
    Pakistan needs to shape up and reform their public education system. Pakistan’s literacy rates are appalling in comparison to many countries. 15-24 years male literacy rate is 79% whereas the female equivalent is 59%.Unicef
    This is ridiculous for a muslim country when the first words revealed to the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) were: Read! In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists). Holy Quran surah 96
    We should strive to be more like Malaysia or Indonesia where both the male and female literacy rate is well above 96% for males and females.Unicef

    Recommend

  • pakhero
    Dec 13, 2011 - 5:57AM

    good but enforcing it will be the bigger issues, old traditional revenge cant be stopped by a few laws being passed and these laws wont be respected if they arent enforced from the start.

    Recommend

  • Awais
    Dec 13, 2011 - 5:58AM

    It was about time that such laws were made to protect women, their rights, and their lives.
    Especially when it came to acid, it just ruins the whole life of a woman. The only problem that remains is, imposing the law.

    Because to be fair, there is also a law against robbery, phone snatching and such, but I have never in the past heard of being prosecuted for these crimes, especially phone snatching.

    Recommend

  • Syed Kashmiri
    Dec 13, 2011 - 6:14AM

    It is the IMPLEMENTATION, stupid. Not the laws on the books.

    Recommend

  • Tahir
    Dec 13, 2011 - 6:23AM

    @Salma @Mirza This bill was developed by Marvi Memon, she is neither rightwing nor liberal, and please kindly find out the facts that she is no longer in parliament because she said it is useless.

    Recommend

  • AsliShalsi
    Dec 13, 2011 - 7:26AM

    For all those who had been acting surprised and being useless sarcastic, ZIP IT. You all know how women are treated in Pakistan. Its a landmark achievement and must congratulate all those who are behind this bill. It is nothing short of amazing to get such a bill passed through a feudal parliament, Kudos a great achievement indeed. But just passing the law is not enough its implementation is completely another thing, still hopeful.

    Recommend

  • syed baqar ahsan
    Dec 13, 2011 - 8:32AM

    The number of laws and amendments by this govt or assembly made for the people of Pakistan specially for women is an excellent job done.

    Recommend

  • sara
    Dec 13, 2011 - 9:56AM

    TIT for TAT!!! throw acid back to those ** faces. and then give 14 yrs jail.

    Recommend

  • nikhat
    Dec 13, 2011 - 12:21PM

    @sara:
    I agree with Sara. Just fourteen years sentence is not good enough. Lets see if the Bill works.

    Recommend

  • Alveena Babar
    Dec 13, 2011 - 2:13PM

    Zindabad

    Recommend

  • Muhammad Ali
    Dec 13, 2011 - 3:06PM

    Mubarak all pakistani brothers and sisters.

    I have a suggestions that All police stations must have 50% women office staff.

    Recommend

  • Maulvi Imran Ahmed
    Dec 13, 2011 - 4:32PM

    Thank you for this excellent legislation is also due to Marvi Memon and MNA Anusha Rehman. Good work !

    Recommend

  • Bilal
    Dec 13, 2011 - 9:30PM

    Good work, keep it up.

    Recommend

  • Dec 14, 2011 - 4:59PM

    THIS IS THE BEST DAY IN PAKISTAN HISTORY. Now the Government should also repeal the Blasphemy Laws which are hated by the whole world.

    Recommend

  • Alamgir
    Dec 18, 2011 - 5:07AM

    Good work.certainly. However, the inheritance part of the bill as passed by the National Assembly, is surprisingly and conspicuously missing from the same as passed by the Senate. Any explainations??
    Is it a printing error, or has this equally vital part of women's legitimate rights been hit for a six in the Senate?
    Recommend

  • Maulvi Imran Ahmed
    Dec 18, 2011 - 10:23PM

    @Alamgir I share your concern. How do we find out? It is not as if we are a functioning democracy where this question could be emailed to our local MNAs with a realistic expectation of a prompt, knowledgeable and truthful response.

    Recommend

More in Pakistan