Women empowerment: CII’s interpretation of domestic violence bill criticised

Published: June 3, 2016


PESHAWAR: Women rights activists and chairpersons of two important bodies working for the rights of women under the umbrella of the provincial government expressed their concerns regarding the role of Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) and its continuous dissatisfaction with K-P domestic violence bill.

To discuss the issue, a seminar titled ‘Showcasing Conference on Prevention of Violence against Women’ was organised by Germany’s leading provider of international cooperation services Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) at a local hotel in the city on Thursday.

On the same day, a seminar on women, democracy and gender disparity was organised by Sahara Development Foundation (SDF), at Peshawar Press Club.

Participants at the moot urged the government to expedite legislation process, ensure protection of women’s rights and take action against increasing incidents of violence against women.

Questioning interpretations

Addressing the conference, Qaumi Watan Party MNA Meraj Hamayun said the K-P domestic violence bill was prepared by the government with assistance from a religious scholar.

“The fact that CII termed the bill in conflict with Islamic laws is a matter of concern,” she said, adding, the body’s use of language and choice of words for women was unacceptable.

Hamayun questioned how CII, ruled by one scholar, was creating misperceptions about women in society.

PTI Women Wing President Neelum Toru echoed similar sentiments. She said it was a matter of concern that section officer in the law department of the province had sent the bill to CII for interpretation. She added they have written a letter to CII to explain their actions so appropriate amendments can be made.

Towards international standards

Provincial Minister for Irrigation, Social Welfare, Special Education and Women Empowerment Sikandar Hayat Khan Sherpao appreciated the efforts of GIZ and said the graft body had been providing support to social welfare department since 2011.

“K-P is a militancy-hit province and the country needs support of international donors in various programmes,” the minister said, adding the provincial government had managed to accomplish a great deal due to support of GIZ. “Various laws regarding violence against women and multiple drafts of bills like those about acid throwing and burning were prepared with assistance from GIZ,” he said.

Country representative of UN Women for Pakistan Jamshed Kazi said Pakistan was a signatory of UN conventions and treaties and was under an obligation to adopt international laws and prevent violence against women.

Prevention of Violence against Women programme GIZ team leader Christian Kapfensteiner said the aim of the six-year project was to support the implementation of regulatory framework on prevention of violence against women, strengthen awareness about the issue and develop models that provide and process advice for enhancing quality of services for victims of violence.

The participants at the conference at the press club said women in the country were more vulnerable due to weak implementation of relevant laws. They urged the government to pass all rules and legislation without further delay to ensure women were protected and violence against them could be curbed.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 3rd, 2016.

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