Sorry ladies, no protection for you

Why was it so disappointing that the Domestic Violence Bill was shelved due to strong resistance by the opposition?

Mani Khawaja April 14, 2012
Everyone knows that Pakistan does not have the most efficient of governments. Neither would one argue that our politicians are the brightest of the bunch, nor the most honest.

Tales of corruption, incompetence and nepotism are so widespread that the average Pakistani has become immune to them.

The common man on the street has enough problems on his plate, ranging from high inflation to loadshedding, and is already struggling to make ends meet, to really care about what the government is doing.

In all honesty, we don’t really expect that much from our government.

In fact just getting through the allotted five years without being overthrown by a military coup or the opposition is supposed to be quite the achievement.

So then why was it so disappointing when the news came out that the Domestic Violence Bill had been shelved due to strong resistance by opposition parties?

I guess it was too much to ask of our elected representatives to set aside their political differences and find common ground to ensure the safety of women and children across the country and protect them from violence and abuse.

Apparently the right of women to maintain their dignity and to ensure that they have legal protection against any form of abuse at home, which is all too common in our country, is a hedonistic western concept.

In fact, the country should be grateful that we have such visionary leaders that will fight tooth and nail against the imposition of such an obviously un-Islamic notion. The JUI-F and opposition parties should be lauded for protecting our people from the roots of all evil that are the NGOs.

As Mr Fazlur Rehman said,
“NGOs continue to promote the culture which keeps women away from Islam and that is not acceptable to us.”

Protecting our mothers, daughters, sisters and wives from abuse is obviously unacceptable and as our esteemed MNA Khawaja Saad Rafique implied, only some unknown external forces were stakeholders in the passage of the bill.

If women will be able to legally prosecute their abusers, what’s to stop them from demanding a right to education, equal work opportunities and pay?

How will our country survive then?

It really gets to me that an essential piece of legislation has been blocked under the guise of protecting our religion and culture.

This is nothing but an obvious attempt to protect the status quo that gives men unquestionable might over women.

How long will political parties use religious propaganda to justify their own shortcomings and promote a backwards and archaic way of thinking?

I wonder how many of our elected representatives actually even read the contents of the bill or even fully realise the repercussions of the continuous delay of its implementation.

It is shameful that the vulnerable segment of our society, that consists of a majority of women, children and minorities faces tremendous challenges and abuse in all walks of life in a country which is supposed to be founded on Islamic principles.

I sincerely request our politicians, that the next time they decide to rally against something or someone going against the tenants of Islam, they should actually try and gain first-hand insight about what Islam truly is.

 

Read more by Mani here.
WRITTEN BY:
Mani Khawaja A journalist and musician. He tweets @manikhawaja88 (https://twitter.com/manikhawaja88)
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

COMMENTS (35)

Mike | 9 years ago | Reply Im really sure that it was a mistake of occident had given that much rights to women, even more than men right now (its ridiculious) and besides it has proven doesnt work. It is one of the main reasons for the social chaos we have in occident now a days. So I strongly congratulate Pakistan for dont let enter to its culture these harmful ideas of gender equality that come from other planet to them. I m thinking that must be more trustworthy girls there than in occident for their correct culture of gender.
Rubina dewan | 9 years ago | Reply Violence is not a phenomenon specific to any one part of Pakistan. This practice is prevalent across the country and continues to persist as one of the most heinous, systematic and prevalent human rights abuses in the country. Violence has many shapes, forms and its consequences in every society. It may in the form of customary practices or it may be an outcome of unnecessary pressures on individuals. In Pakistan, the status of women varies as per their regions, customs and social disparities. The rural and urban women are divided due to uneven socio-economic development and the impact of tribal, feudal, and capitalist social formations on women's lives is unavoidable as many women are victim of violence, they are suffering from physical, sexual, reproductive and mental health problems and dies as a result of ignorance. In 2011, Awaz Foundation Pakistan stated of violence against women in South Punjab, 687 women were kidnapped, 259 were murdered, 90 were victims of violence, 124 went died due to honor killing, 294 were raped while 14 women were victims of sexual assault. Pakistani women have long been victims of abuse, now the government took step to stop the violence against women. On 20th Feb 2012, domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Bill 2012 women’s has been approved by senate with the consent of parliamentarians. The bill includes the provision to be a criminal offense to threaten to divorce wife. Threat of physical violence will be sentenced to imprisonment and fines as well. This bill provides a protection to all the members of family as well as adopted children. Though steps have been taken by parliamentarians to endorse the rights of women and it is most progressive bill as well because It enables direct access to the police station and court but needed implementation at central level as well as a law similar to the Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act 2012 be adopted at the provincial level as there is a lacking of attention paying towards “actual women’s concerns” with rural and urban women. There is need to incorporate other “vulnerable groups” in the scope of the bill to ensure protection of any victim of domestic violence and the State should commit itself to monitor and evaluate the law on an annual basis to ensure implementation and to learn from the process what needs to change. We should recognize, that women require state mandated infrastructure to access the law, there is a need to make them enable to access the police station and courts, in filling FIR and in collecting evidence and in enforcing the orders by assisting them in drafting applications as every individual woman has a right to get relief from domestic violence.
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