“The law of inheritance for women was always there and it is unfortunate that we need a new law for its implementation,” women caucus convener Uzma Bukhari said on Monday.
She was addressing an interface with civil society organisations organised by Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD).
“Women can now register inherited properties under their name by paying Rs500 stamp duty. Heavy stamp duty had prevented them from doing so in the past,” she said.
She said a consultation would be held in the first week of April to chalk out the agenda for the first year of the caucus.
She said a women caucus was first established at the National Assembly in 2008.
She said the caucus would oversee enforcement of laws, intervening in special cases and checking which laws needed to be amended or if new legislation was required.
She said the caucus had recommended changes in the Child Marriage Act 1929. She said the caucus had sought increase the age of legal marriage age from years to 18 years.
She said the caucus had also recommended amendments in the Family Courts Act 1964, The Punjab Marriage Function Bill 2014, Dowry and Bridal Gifts (Restrictions) Act 1976, the Guardian and Wards Act and family laws related to minorities.
She said these amendments would be tabled with the Domestic Violence Bill.
She said soon female police officers would handle cases of women. She said the conviction rate in criminal cases related to women was less than 1 per cent.
Women caucus secretary Hina Pervaiz Butt said, “In an acid attack case in Iran, a judge ruled that acid be thrown on the convict’s face. We need such rulings to make teach such criminals a lesson.”
Butt said a meeting with the ombudsman had been scheduled to implement sexual harassment laws. She said a public awareness campaign for empowerment package would also be launched.
Butt said entrepreneurship and financial independence were very important for women empowerment. She said consultations with the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry would be held to set up a chamber for women.
Treasurer Nausheen Hamid, said, “The caucus hopes to play an important role for women-specific legislations and also in ensuring accountability and transparency. It will act as a watchdog in the provincial assembly.” Aurat Foundation manager Mumtaz Mughal recommended 33 per cent representation for women in all standing committees of the provincial assembly.
It was endorsed by Bukhari, Butt, Hamid and the other caucus members.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 1st, 2014.