Bill on honour killings promised
KARACHI – Prime Minister’s Adviser on Women Affairs, Neelofar Bakhtiar, has said that a bill on the honour killing will be brought in the parliament for discussion in the next few days.
Speaking at a press conference at the Pakistan Muslim League House on Saturday, she said that the bill had been discussed in the parliamentary committee, which had also given its recommendations. The bill would soon be tabled in the parliament for debate after which a comprehensive law would be formulated.
She said that various new proposals had been included in the bill under which an accused person in the honour killing case could not become a “wali”, and the government would not be able to give remissions to the culprits.
Ms Bakhtiar said that minimum punishments had also been cited in the proposed law in those cases where the person was not murdered but injured. Honour killing under the proposed law would be considered as murder, she added.
However, she said that under the proposed law the crime of honour killing had neither been made compoundable nor non- compoundable and it had been left on the discretion of the courts to declare it compoundable or non-compoundable.
She said that the recommendations of the National Commission on Status of Women regarding the Hudood Ordinance were sent to the law ministry. She further said that the government would take the final decision on the issue after seeking recommendations from the Islamic Ideology Council.
The adviser said that various schemes were being implemented for the uplift of women. With the UNDP’s help, political schools for women were being set up and some of these would become operational by the end of this year, she added.
Women resource centres were also being established in 10 districts all over the country. Two of these centres – one in Karachi and the other in Sukkur – would be set up in Sindh, she added. Besides, she said that seven crisis centres were also being established. Moreover, she said that the committees to check violence against women had already been set up.
Neelofar Bakhtiar said that the government had also increased its share in the First Women Bank from five per cent to 20 per cent. She said that the ministry had also received over Rs100 million for women development. Owing to these two developments, the ministry would be able to provide better financial assistance to women, particularly those in rural areas.
In order to empower women economically, she said that the government was encouraging women to establish the women chambers of commerce and industry.
In January 2005, she said, Pakistan would host an international conference “Beijing Plus 10” in Islamabad. Another international conference would be organized in collaboration with the APWA, she said.
The adviser also announced that Manzar Rawal and Huma Talpur had been nominated as PML Sindh Women Wing president and general secretary respectively; while Sindh Women Development Minister Saeeda Malik, Sultana Ibrahim and Zaibunnisa Afzali had been given responsibilities in the central PML Women Wing.