Police violating provisions of women’s law
PESHAWAR, Aug 23: Police have been violating the provisions of the Protection of Women Act and have recently arrested women accused in different cases of adultery.
It has been learnt that under the Protection of Women (Criminal Laws Amendment) Act, 2006, a woman cannot be arrested in cases of fornication and no court could take cognisance of such offence unless a complaint had been filed with it.
Officials of the Pandu police station on Thursday arrested a couple, claiming that they were required in a case registered at the Manthra police station in Sialkot.
The police claimed that the woman, Rameen Akhter, was already married to another person, Ilyas of Sialkot, and she had eloped with an inhabitant of Peshawar named Fazal Hayat. An FIR in the case was filed on Aug 15 under section 365-B of the Pakistan Penal Code.
The above-mentioned section was incorporated in the PPC through the Protection of Women Act and it deals with kidnapping, abducting or inducing a woman to compel her for marriage.
An official at the Pandu police station told Dawn that they would produce the couple before a local court on Friday to get their transit custody and hand them over to the Punjab police.
He said that as the woman had married the accused Fazal Hayat, therefore, she was now a co-accused and they had to be arrested.
The official expressed ignorance about the amendment in the law regarding not arresting a woman without permission from a court in cases of fornication and adultery.
“When she is an accused person why should not she be arrested? I am not aware about any law which prohibits her arrest,” he said.
In another case, officials of the Akora Khattak police station arrested three people, including a woman, a few days ago on charges of fornication.
An FIR was registered against the woman, Gul Sanad, and against Mohammad Tilal and Haseeb by Iqtidar Ali, husband of the woman, at the Akora Khattak police station on July 30. He alleged that his wife had eloped with Tilal with the support of his friend Haseeb.
The accused were charged under section 496-B (fornication), 497 (adultery) and 109 (abetment) of PPC. Interestingly, section 497 is no longer in the PPC as it was repealed through the Offence of Zina (Enforcement of Hudood) Ordinance in 1979.
The woman and the accused man were arrested from Karachi and brought to Akora Khattak.
The woman was allowed bail by a local court in Nowshera on Aug 17. However, as she has been facing threat from her family; therefore, she remained in the prison.
The chairman of the Voice of Prisoners, Noor Alam Khan, told Dawn that the police had been misusing the law as women offenders could no longer be arrested on charges of fornication and adultery.