Deadlock remained over the passage of the Domestic Violence Bill, 2009 in Parliament, despite the government’s promise to address the opposition’s concerns over some controversial clauses.
The bill could not be tabled before the parliament on Monday due to overwhelming opposition from various parties.
“Monday was a sad day for women as we again failed to evolve a consensus on the domestic violence bill,” said Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Information Secretary Mushahidullah Khan.
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), generally known as a rather pro-women political party, surrendered before the strong opposition of PML-N and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) when PPP senior minister Khurshid Shah announced, “We will not pass this bill till we develop consensus on the issue.”
“The women working on ‘western agenda’ who breached parliamentary norms on Friday by entering the meeting room will be punished if found guilty,” Shah said, pledging that the PPP-led government will address JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman’s reservations “at all costs”.
The announcement came in the midst of a strong protest of JUI-F supporters in front of the parliament building.
“We will not let the government table this bill, no matter what happens,” JUI-F leader Abdul Ghafoor Haideri told The Express Tribune.
Meanwhile, JUI-F lawmaker Asia Nasir requested the speaker of the National Assembly to take the resolution her party moved against the’ NGO women’ who disrupted lawmakers’ meeting on Friday which was discussing the controversial clauses of this bill.
“We are not against the passage of this bill. We want action against a woman (Farzana Bari) who breached parliament’s rules,” she said.
Mover of the bill PPP MNA Yasmeen Rehman assured the house that she was trying her best to evolve a consensus on the issue. “We are amending some clauses and have also requested opposition parties, particularly the JUI-F, to give their proposals,” Rehman said adding: “We will consider their proposals with an open heart”.
JUI-F, the only religious political party protesting against the bill , claimed that various clauses of the bill “promote Western culture in the Islamic state”.
One of the objectionable clauses, according to the opposition, reads: “Deputing of Protection (police) Officer for women. The provincial government shall appoint this police officer”. The government’s method to ensure women protection through the National Commission on the Status of Women has also been objected by JUI-F lawmakers.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 10th, 2012.