ISLAMABAD - The National Assembly Tuesday unanimously passed 'The Prevention of Anti-Women Practices (Criminal Amendment Bill) Bill 2010 to prohibit certain practices leading to exploitation and discrimination against womenfolk including marriage with the Holy Quran, giving a female in marriage or otherwise in Badla-e-Sulh, Wani or Sawara and depriving women of inheriting property.
The bill moved by MNA Donya Aziz was succeeded to get clearance in the third attempt, as the bill has twice been deferred in the last NA session (35th session) of private member day. The four clauses of the anti-women practices bill had been passed after thorough discussion.
By substituting section 310-A of the Pakistan Penal Code (Act XLV of 1860) the bill says: Whoever gives a female in marriage or otherwise compels her to enter into marriage, as badal-e-sulh, Wani or Sawara or any other custom or practice under name, in consideration of settling a civil dispute or a criminal liability, shall be punished with imprisonment of wither description for a term which may extend to seven years but shall not be less than three years and shall be liable to fine of five hundred thousand rupees. The chapter about the prohibition of depriving woman from inheriting properly, says that whosoever by deceitful or illegal means deprives any woman from inheriting any moveable or immovable property at the time of opening of succession shall be punished with imprisonment for either description for a term which may extend to ten years but not less than five years or with a fine of one million rupees or both.
As per the prohibition of forced marriage in the bill, Whosoever coerces or in any whatsoever compels a woman to enter to marriage shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term, which may extend to ten years or for a term which shall not be less than three years and shall also be liable to fine of five hundred thousand rupees.
In the section prohibition of marriage with the Holy Quran, the bill says: Whosoever compels or arranges or facilitate the marriage of woman with the Holy Quran shall be punished with imprisonment of with description which may extend to seven years which shall not be less than three years and shall be liable to fine of five hundred thousand rupees.
In the explanation of the bill it was cleared that Oath by a women on Holy Quran to remain unmarried for the rest of her life or, not to claim her share of inheritance shall be deemed to be marriage with the Holy Quran.
During the discussion on the bill, the mover of the bill Donya Aziz said the objections were being made in the draft. The usage of 'but and 'coma were being point out as otherwise legislators are found least interested in such discussions.
According to the statement of objects and reasons, it was stated that 'there are several practices and customs in vogue in the country which are not only against human dignity, but also volatile human rights. Such customary norms are likewise contrary to Islamic injunctions. It is, therefore, necessary that such inhumane practices and customs are done away forthwith and the persons continuation such practices be dealt with severely by providing penal and financial liabilities.
Earlier, in the last session (35th session of NA) on the discussion on this bill, some points in different clauses of the very bill were opposed by PML(N) Muhammad Bashir Virk, Naseer Bhutta and PPP legislator Justice (Retd) Fakhur-ul- Nisa.