Govt to get tough with ‘vani criminals’
MIANWALI, April 25 2006: The so-called champions of women’s rights and democracy have never bothered to strive for legislating anything for the betterment of women, particularly against the tyrannical vani tradition. This was stated by Senator and Adviser to the Prime Minister for Women Development and Welfare Nilofer Bakhtiar while speaking at an inaugural ceremony of the outdoor facility at Sultan Khan Memorial Hospital (SKMH) on Ballokhel Road here on Monday April 17.
She claimed that she had studied discriminatory laws in the PPC which stated that cash, land, property, crops and even women could be given in compensation to settle feuds. She said such laws needed to be amended for the welfare of women. The senator said the present government had the amendment passed through the National Assembly by adding Section 310-A in the PPC. Under the law, she said any person found involved in a ‘vani crime’ would face a punishment of 10 years hard jail.
The adviser said that women in Mianwali could remain in veil according to norms of the area, but they would be provided protection against the tyrannical custom of vani in future. Nilofer said the government had given an equal status and opportunities to women, but some people in foreign countries were propagating for their vested interests that women were being given in compensation for the crime committed by their fathers or brothers.
She said the maternity death rate was very high in the country, particularly in remote areas like Chitral and Gilgit. Lauding SKMH chairman Hameed Akhtar Niazi for establishing a maternity hospital in Mianwali, the adviser pledged to provide all necessary equipment for the maternity and child welfare ward.
Earlier, Hameed Akhtar Niazi in his welcome address, said the Women Development Ministry had donated Rs2.786 million to the hospital while the Pakistan Baitul Maal had contributed Rs398, 550. He said the SKMH management had spent about Rs7 million on the construction of its basement while more funds were needed to complete the building.
Niazi regretted that he could not get financial support from the well-off people of the area. He requested the adviser to get released Rs20 million funds for the completion of the project. Later, the adviser visited the Women Crisis Centre where Chairperson Zeenat Aamir Rokhri briefed her about the performance of the centre and problems they were facing.
The senator also addressed women councillors at Jinnah Hall and also met with vani victim girls. She urged upon the women to raise their voice against the heinous custom of vani. They should recourse to the crisis centre where they would get the legal and police assistance. She also held a meeting with District Nazim Obaidullah Shadikhel and DPO Ziarat Kiyani in connection with vani cases.