PHC rejects petition against Women Protection Act -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

PHC rejects petition against Women Protection Act

The bench, comprising Justice Talat Qayyum Qureshi and Justice Aijaz Afzal Khan, observed that the petitioner had already moved the Supreme Court of Pakistan against the WPA “that’s why the petition is inadmissible before the PHC”.

Petitioner Shahid Orakzai had moved the PHC on December 21 last against WPA, praying the court to declare it as ultra vires of the Constitution. Besides, the petitioner had contended that the law also contravened the commandments of the Holy Qur’aan in Sura Yusuf, Sura Nisa and Sura an-Noor.

“The act breaches the Fundamental Right of Dignity of man and privacy of home enshrined under Article 14; the right of equality before law under Article 25; the freedom of expression and the freedom of press under Article 18; as well as freedom of trade and profession under Article 18 of the Constitution,” the eight-page petition quoted him as saying.

Orakzai added that the “impugned Act” like the Offence of Zina (Enforcement of Hudood) Ordinance, sought at least four adult Muslim male eyewitnesses for evidence, “whereas the Holy Qur’aan doesn’t seek any witness at all.”

The Holy Qur’aan, he observed, decides the disputes of alleged sexual transgression or misconduct by a single word ‘Shahed’ as elaborated in Sura Yusuf; and as such does not require any repetition of evidence by another two or three witnesses. “Both the impugned Act and Hudood Ordinance confuse the word ‘Shaheed’ with the word ‘Shahed’. To sustain the charge of Zina, the Holy Qur’aan insists on four attesting persons than four eyewitnesses or onlookers.”

The WPA, he maintained, casts out women from the witness stand and robs thems of their judicial rights. It obstructs the religious and moral duty of Muslim women to bear witness to the truth as ordained in Sura Aal-e-Imran, verse 135.

He went on to say that the Act discriminated citizens on the basis of sex alone, “which is specifically forbidden by Clause 2 of the Section 25 of the Constitution.”

The Act as such doesn’t cite any other reason whatsoever for excluding the women from giving any testimony before the sessions court, whereas the Holy Qur’aan gives the women the priority in addressing the court (Sura Yusuf) and treats her testimony at par with that of her husband (Sura an-Noor),” he argued in the petition.

The petitioner contended that the Act did not draw the required line between the Christians women and other non-Muslim women, “whereas, the Holy QurÂ’aan and the Constitution of Pakistan emphasise that line. Besides, the Act deprives all non-Muslims women of their right to testify the fact before the court of law.

“The WPA relates to two matters in the Concurrent Legislative List, whereas the Majlis-e-Shura is not empowered to do any such legislation unless the constitution or the law expressively provides for extending the executive power of the federation in any province to a matter with respect to which the provincial assembly has also power to make laws,” he said.

The Act practically grants a free license to sexual corruption and immorality by taking every house or living quarter as a home. The Home in Article 14 is not a residence but the abode of a family in Article 35.

“It can’t be equated to the brothel as mentioned in two explanations to the newly-added sections 371-A and 371-B,” the petitioner said.

Referring to the WPA wordings “any prostitute or any person keeping or managing a brothel”, he remarked: “The liberty to any person to operate a brothel next door to a home would be Fundamental Wrong than a Fundamental Right.”

It can clearly be seen that the end of objective of the legal surgery is to dilute the prescribed penalty for sexual misconduct on one hand and make judicial procedure impractical on the other, “so that Qur’aanic jurisprudence is discarded through lack of practice and promiscuity is methodically encouraged,” the petitioner concluded.
Source: The News
Date:2/8/2007