Legislation needed to curb all sorts of violence against women -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Legislation needed to curb all sorts of violence against women

ISLAMABAD: Speakers at a seminar on Monday stressed the need of more legislation to curb all sorts of violence against women which are even accepted as traditional norms in the society.

Besides crimes, institutional factors such as male domination, patriarchal biases in criminal justice system and law enforcing agencies hamper the women access to justice.

The seminar on: violence against women and seeking a way forward, organised by the SDPI, called for a serious efforts from all quarters including the judiciary and the politicians to eradicate all sorts of violence against women.

Aqsa Khan, a director at an NGO, said that it was important to know the factors, including personal, societal, political and institutional, that hamper victims` access to justice.

She said steps were still needed to provide adequate safeguards to women. There have been lacunae in the system to provide justice to victim women, which indirectly condones acts of violence allowing perpetrators a free hand to commit violence with the belief that they will not be punished.

“Women continue to face social, cultural, political and institutional barriers in getting justice, due to their subordinate position in society, lack of education, information and awareness,” she added.

She pointed out that it was important to engage men not just through gender sensitisation trainings but to involve them actively in programmes related to violence against women.

Kowkab Iqbal advocate highlighted various legislations, including Penal Code, for eradicating violence against women. He referred to five codes that could have been used in this particular case including Case of attempted murder according to Pakistan Penal code 324, secondly accusing a woman without evidence that makes it offence of Kazaf according to Hudood laws of 1979.

He told the audience that in this case the punishment was the same as for Zina, but due to lack of awareness the aggrieved people were not able to refer to such laws.

In addition, he mentioned the Pakistan Penal Code laws that apply to trafficking of women, Hudood Ordinance of 1979 that has punishments for rape.

Mr Iqbal said ignorance among women about their rights needed a social change in the society and not mere legislation.

He stressed that religious and societal reforms could contribute in bringing about change in the mindsets of people.

Faisal Gorchani of SDPI, shared a recent case of Karo Kari in Rajanpur and the exemplary role of community social workers Rod Kohi Development Organization (RDO), Lal Garh, in resisting this alleged case amid a deep-rooted culture of Karo Kari in those areas backed by local powerful feudal.

The speakers highlighted that traditions like karo-kari and persecuting women in the jirgas were basic tools for the influential specially in rural areas to maintain their undue social status and continue to exploit the masses.

They said that social changes would eventually lead to higher education and improved standard of living of masses, which would than not be exploited by the powerful elites.
Source: Dawn
Date:4/5/2011