Many women in Pakistan are unaware of the laws made for them, which makes them suffer at the hands of violence.
This was the crux of a dialogue on domestic violence bill held at a local hotel here on Thursday. Often it is the influential and highly qualified people behind the social evil, opined civil society representatives and parliamentarians.
Humera Fasihuddin, a legal adviser on women rights, read out a poem by Paulette Kelly, dedicating it to all battered women. The opening stanza read, “I got flowers today; it wasn’t my birthday or any other special day; we had our first argument last night.”
She gave the background of the bill, which was passed in the National Assembly in 2010 but lapsed in the Senate. The event aimed to discuss the bill and if it required amendments, so as to incorporate the suggestions in the final draft.
However the parliamentarians seemed to be in a rush to attend a parliament session, instead of taking the dialogue to fruition. Instead of reaching any conclusion, they shared views based on their experiences and ensured support for the passage of the bill.
Senator Abdul Haseeb from Muttahida Quami Movement said there is a need to put an end to the involvement of bureaucracy, including men who are actually one of the major hurdles in the way of women seeking justice and protection. He added that this can only be done if National Commission on the Status of Women becomes an autonomous body.
Senator Suraya Amiruddin said, “In Balochistan women are facing the worst form of violence; they are being thrown in front of dogs, buried alive and dragged down the stairs as punishment.”
Senator Fauzia Fakharuz Zaman said she belongs to an area where if a woman goes to the police to seek justice, her family refuses to accept her and she is beaten up by her husband.
Federal Minister of Law and Justice Moula Bakhsh Chandio said he belongs to a village where animals have more respect than women. He stressed on a need to educate women to make them realise their rights and raise children well.
The event was organised by the non-government organisations Bardasht and Bedari and in collaboration with Cavish Development Foundation.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 3rd, 2012.
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