Helping children and women? -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Helping children and women?

On July 30, 2010, Daily Times exclusively reported that paedophilia was reaching alarming levels in Punjab. According to the available statistics, there were 2,012 cases of paedophilia reported in 2009; however, only 81 percent of these cases were registered with the police. Even when the cases are reported, the victims find it hard to bring their molesters to book due to lack of evidence and social stigma persuading parents to stay silent. There is a 9.4 percent increase in paedophilia cases from 2008. The most vulnerable age group is between 11-15 years. The report also found that the majority of victims were abused by acquaintances. These facts speak volumes about the urgency of the matter. We must implement the National Child Protection Bill. Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira stated on July 5, 2009 that he “will leave no stone unturned to defend and pass the bill from parliament”. It has been two years since the bill was tabled in parliament and we are still waiting.

On the one hand our children are at risk of being abused while on the other hand, violence against women has also increased. When one reviews the statistics available for the first six months of 2010, the picture is bleak. In Punjab, 2,690 cases of violence against women were reported while 2,909 women were victimised. The Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Bill would have dealt with the majority of these cases. But the bill, which was unanimously passed by the National Assembly, lapsed since the Senate failed to pass it within three months. It is yet to be re-promulgated, thus it would not be incorrect to say that our legislative record is not inspiring. The stumbling block for most debates on legislation regarding domestic issues is the debatable interpretation of Islamic laws by self-proclaimed religious experts. Even if a bill is passed by parliament, it is not implemented; a case in point being the Protection Against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act 2010. This bill was greeted with a sigh of relief, yet women continue to suffer sexual harassment at the workplace.

Parliament will only earn the sobriquet of being supreme when it delivers the goods. So far it has failed to protect both women and children. *
Source: Daily Times