Rights activists praise passing of historic women's bill in Punjab

Women have fought for their rights for decades in Pakistan, where so-called honour killings remain commonplace

Afp February 25, 2016

LAHORE: Activists on Thursday hailed the passing of a historic bill protecting women's rights in Punjab, with the legislation establishing a helpline and shelters while calling for some defendants to wear GPS trackers.

Women in Pakistan have fought for their rights for decades, in a country where so-called honour killings and acid attacks remain commonplace.

But the Punjab Protection of Women Against Violence Bill redefines "violence" to include "any offence committed against a woman including abetment of an offence, domestic violence, emotional, psychological and verbal abuse, economic abuse, stalking or a cybercrime".

Punjab Assembly unanimously passes protection of women bill

Zohra Yusuf, head of the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), welcomed the bill and expressed the hope that efficient enforcement will help protect women and ensure that offenders do not escape justice.

"The bill appears to be a rather comprehensive attempt to institute a system for prevention of violence against women and for protection and rehabilitation of the women victims," Yusuf said in a statement issued on Thursday.

Yusuf said the bill includes a broad definition of violence and steps to make complaint submissions easier. "These are all much-needed measures that deserve praise but it is important to remember that cosmetic and purely procedural changes have not had an impact in the past," she said.

Abdul Qahar Rashid, spokesperson for Punjab's provincial assembly, told AFP that the bill, which was passed unanimously, must be signed by the provincial governor before it becomes law.

The Pakistani women risking it all for their rights

Under the new legislation, the government will institute a universal toll free help line for the women, and will establish district protection centres and residential shelters under a phased programme.

Family courts must fix hearings within seven days of a complaint, the bill says, with all complaints to be decided within 90 days.

The court can also order a GPS tracker to be installed to monitor a defendant's movements, provided an act of grave violence has been committed or is deemed likely to be committed.


Khan | 5 years ago | Reply The passing of bills does not make society better until the laws are implemented and our biased views are changed about the women in our society. This sectarian society is full of hatred for women, because we are taught to hate them by our elders, and more than that the so called Sects. It's accursed, morally corrupt, pitiful society which cannot be good for anyone either women or innocent honest people.
Sceptic | 5 years ago | Reply Punjab leads the real change. Let us see if the staggering provinces could catch up.
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