Report on protection women bill presented in NA -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Report on protection women bill presented in NA

By Asim Yasin

ISLAMABAD, September 05 2006: Amid strong protest and walkout of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal from the National Assembly on Monday (Sept 04), the government presented the report of the Select Committee on Protection of Women Bill that relates to amendments to the Hudood Ordinance. The report, presented by Chairman of the Select Committee of the National Assembly Sardar Nasarullah Dreshek, also created a division among the opposition parties as the Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) fully supported the government and preferred to stay away from the MMA and PML-N’s walkout.

It is to be mentioned here that the MMA and the PML-N had boycotted the select committee, constituted last Monday (Sept 04) to consider the Protection of Women Bill and also adopted the same stance when its report was presented in the NA. As the report was presented in the NA, the MMA raised slogans in opposition to the bill and termed it ‘ultra vires of the Constitution’.

The MMA came back to the House raising slogans of “Allah-o-Akbar”. They gathered in front of the rostrum of the speaker and returned the copies of the report to the Speaker Secretariat. They continued to chant slogans against the bill and announced they would continue opposing the bill in and outside parliament.

The PPPP legislators participated in the proceedings and made their speeches on a point of order on the killing of Nawab Akbar Bugti. The report of the select committee was originally not part of the agenda of the day but it was presented in the House as a supplementary item. Liaquat Baloch raised this issue of presenting a supplementary agenda of the day for presenting the report but the speaker did not agree with him observing that the sense of the House could be taken for this purpose.

After the report presentation, the speaker allowed the members to speak on the points of order which turned into mini-debate on the killing of Akbar Bugti, in which one of the members from the treasury benches Malik Farooq Azam from Bahawalpur took on the statements of federal ministers on Akbar Bugti while accusing them of fuelling the fire. The debate on point of order started when a member from the treasury benches Ali Akbar Vaince raised is the issue of reports about the burning of Punjabi settlers’ shops in Balochistan, and in response members from both sides got an opportunity to speak on this issue.

The speaker, who usually does not allow points of order during the business of the House, on Monday (Sept 04) open heartedly gave the floor to members to express their feelings. The legislators from the PPP accused the government of creating hatred among the provinces while members from the treasury benches also highlighted the need to create provincial harmony. Vaince, who made the first shot and said what was the fault of the Punjabis for getting such kind of treatment in Balochistan. He also criticized Akbar Bugti for his past and justified the action against him.

But contrary to the government line, member from the treasury benches Malik Farooq Azam refuted the claims of his colleague and said Balochistan was burning and federal ministers and some members of the treasury benches were busy in propagating other stories, which were negating the facts. He said same script of 1971 was being repeated and the same kind of statements was being given.

He said the feelings of Baloch people after the killing of Akbar Bugti is justified but government is not looking into the root cause. He also criticized the statements of Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Dr Sher Afgan Khan Niazi on Akbar Bugti, saying that he should stop fuelling the fire. During his speech members belonging to the Seraiki belt on the treasury benches also thumped their desks. Nahid Khan of the PPPP also objected to the remarks of Vaince saying that this is not the time to create hatred among the people of Pakistan.

Earlier, the select committee of the House finalized the bill for the consideration of the NA, which would take it for debate on Thursday. The PPPP has also submitting its dissenting note on some of the clauses while supporting on majority of the bill’s clauses. The PPPP sources hinted that party fully supports the bill when it would come for voting as a “package deal’, as few of its amendments had been made part of the bill. A legislator from the Fata, Muhammad Noorul Haq Qadri also submitted his dissent note on the bill.

According to the approved version of the bill, the offences listed in section 11 to 16 of the offences of Zina (Enforcement of the Hadd) Ordinance, 1979 are omitted and brought into Ta’zir offences. All these are being inserted as sections 365B, 367A, 371A, 371B, 493A and 496A of the Pakistan Panel Code (PPC). Section 12 and 13 of the offence of Qazaf (Enforcement of Hadd) Ordinance, 1979, are also omitted. The rape (Zina-bil-Jabr) was brought in to Ta’zer and incorporated in PPC in sections 375 and 376, respectively, while adultery (Zina-bil-Raza) kept in Hadd.

A new offence has also been added in the PPC (502B), which provides that in case of rape the identity of women or her family member shall not be publicized and violation thereof shall be punishable with six months imprisonment or fine or both.
Source: The News