Law changed to allow bail for women
Musharraf promulgates ordinance; 1,300 female prisoners to be freed immediately
ISLAMABAD, July 7: President General Pervez Musharraf on July 07 promulgated an ordinance to facilitate release of women detained on various charges, including violation of Hudood laws. About 1,300 women will be immediately bailed out under the new law. During a meeting with women members of the cabinet and parliamentarians and prominent women from various fields at the Aiwan-i-Sadr, the president said that women imprisoned in cases other than murder and terrorism would be released.
The president reaffirmed his commitment to promoting and protecting women’s rights. The ordinance will provide for immediate release on bail of about 1,300 women prisoners, Women Development and Youth Affairs Minister Sumaira Malik said, adding that “the ordinance will continue to provide relief to women in the future”. She said it was a “great day in the history of Pakistan with regard to promotion of women’s rights”, adding that the government would do away with the un-Islamic laws affecting women.
“We will do away with it. We are ready and prepared and women would no more be exploited in the name of laws,Â” she said. The ordinance is called ‘Law Reforms Ordinance 2006’ with an amendment to clause 497 of CrPC that relates to grant of bail to women languishing in jails. In reply to a question, Ms Malik said the government would not be blackmailed by anybody on removal of un-Islamic provisions from laws. She said the Hudood Ordinance had been discussed by all segments of society and the government desired to remove only un-Islamic provisions.
President Musharraf expressed support for efforts aimed at protecting womenÂ’s rights and said that women’s political empowerment by the government had provided the basis for their emancipation. “I am on women’s side for their empowerment,” he said as women legislators hailed the ordinance. Referring to the increase in women’s representation to 33 per cent at grass roots and 17 per cent seats reserved for them at the national level, he said the government was also striving for the economic empowerment of women and encouraging loans for them through Khushhali Bank.
The president hoped that the Rozgar Pakistan programme would help achieve that objective. He emphasised that education and capacity building of women through enhancement of their skills in various fields was essential for their empowerment. “Education will be a key factor in emancipation of women,Â” he said, adding that the increasing number of women getting education at institutions of higher learning was a positive development. He supported appointment of women on higher posts on merit.
AP adds: The Hadood Ordinance currently does not allow women’s release on bail. Currently, more than 6,000 women are awaiting trial in different jails of the country.