There is never any justification for violence against women and children. NEVER! This should be a wake-up call for all Pakistani men, self included, to behave themselves. Jinnah’s Pakistan Zindabad!-YLH
NA bill outlaws domestic violence
ISLAMABAD: In a major move against domestic violence against women and children, the National Assembly passed a private bill on Tuesday aimed to prevent the prevalent curse through quick criminal trials and a chain of protection committees and protection officers.
The Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Bill must be passed also by the Senate to become law, which will provide for monetary and other relief to aggrieved persons through protection orders whose violators will be punishable with jail terms and fines to be given to the sufferers.
The comprehensive 28-clause bill, which was moved in August last year and apparently went through a thorough vetting by an 18-member house Standing Committee on Women Development, was piloted by an activist of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Ms Yasmeen Rahman, with a party veteran, Shakeela Khanum Rashid, and Chaudhry Mohammad Birjees Tahir of the Pakistan Muslim League-N as co-sponsors.
Cheers from all sides of the house marked the passage of the bill before the start of an inconclusive debate on the prevailing power crisis on the second day of the lower house’s summer session.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Babar Awan congratulated all parliamentary parties for approving the legislation, which he said was aimed at emancipation of women.
According to the bill, domestic violence includes — but is not limited to — ‘all intentional acts of gender-based or other physical or psychological abuse committed by an accused against women, children or other vulnerable persons, with whom the accused person is or has been in a domestic relationship’.
Some of such acts could be ‘assault’ as defined in the Pakistan Penal Code, use of criminal force, criminal intimidation, economic abuse, entry into an aggrieved person’s residence without his or her consent, harassment, ‘mischief’ against property, physical abuse, stalking, sexual abuse, verbal and emotional abuse, insults or ridicule, ‘wilful or negligent abandonment of the aggrieved person’, wrongful confinement and ‘other repressive or abusive behaviour … where such a conduct harms or may cause imminent danger or harm to the safety, health or well-being of the aggrieved person’.
The bill gives an aggrieved person the right to approach a first class magistrate’s court personally with an application or through another authorised person and the court must fix a hearing within three days and give a decision within 30 days.
The court protection orders could prohibit the accused from committing or aiding or abetting domestic violence, dispossessing an aggrieved person of household, give monetary relief to meet expenses and losses as well as for maintenance.
The first breach of a protection order will be punishable with imprisonment of up to one year, but not less than six months, and a minimum fine of Rs100,000, which will be paid to the aggrieved person. But a violation for the second or third time, or more, will be punishable with up to two years’ imprisonment and a fine of not less than 200,000 payable to the aggrieved person.
The offence of breach of a protection ‘shall be cognizable, non-bailable and compoundable’, and convictions will be appealable before a sessions court.
However, filing a false complaint—which the complainant knows or has reason to believe to be false — in a court will be punishable with simple imprisonment of up to six months or with fine of up to Rs50,000, or with both.
The bill provides that while the federal government will take steps for ‘operationalising the provisions’ of the new law, each provincial government will constitute a protection committee of two police officers and two women councillors and appoint a protection officer in each tehsil, or sub-district, with duties such as informing the aggrieved persons of their rights and help them in filing their cases.