Implementation of women laws only way to ensure relief

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By Humaira Shairf

ISLAMABAD, Jun 7 (APP): Strict implementation of laws for the protection of women are the only way forward to ensure relief to the woman folk.

A number of legislation promulgated by different regimes failed to check
discrimination against women in different spheres within four walls of the house or in outer world for working ladies.

These legislations failed to bring in any tangible change in the society in regard to protection of women and child rights in the country.

Pakistan is among one of the countries which has taken numerous steps for ensuring rights of marginalized segments in last few years besides signing of international treaties and conventions related to Human Rights (HR) but still criticized for HR violations.

Secretary Ministry of Human Rights, Nadeem Ashraf stated that without basic level of economic emancipation no one would get through their rights.

“If women are not economically stable and reforms in judicial system is ensured, grievances of vulnerable groups could not be addressed”, Nadeem remarked.

As first step legislation on key issue of child marriages, acid throwing, domestic violence etc. has been done but to counter the issue of implementation, National Action Plan has been introduced for the first time.

The Secretary further said they have directed all provinces to submit their strategy plan for implementation, initiated an awareness campaign on HR education and mechanism to access them through electronic and print media to get results at the earliest.

The timing of Ministry of Human Rights (MOHR) helpline 1199, has been increased from 9.00 am to 10.00 pm and within a month more steps would also be taken under hand holding concept, follow up of complains, providing free lawyers etc. to facilitate people.

Giving details of laws introduced by federal government for ensuring rights of women in last three years, an official of ministry of HR informed that it included Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace (Amendment) Bill, 2014, Hindu Marriage Bill, 2015,Anti-Rape Laws (Criminal Laws Amendment) Bill, 2013 and Anti Honour Killing Laws (Criminal Laws Amendment) Bill, 2014.

The provincial assemblies, he stated, made eight laws for the protection of rights of women in last three years including Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act, 2013 by Government of Sindh.

The next one is Elimination of Custom of Ghag Act 2013 enacted by Government of KPK. Punjab Commission on the Status of Women Act 2014. The Balochistan Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act, 2014.

KPK Deserving Widows and Special Persons Foundation Act, 2014,
The Punjab Fair Representation of Women Act, 2014, Hindu Marriage Act,  2016 by Government of Sindh, The Punjab Protection of Women Against Violence Bill,2015.

Measures of Federal and Provincial Governments undertaken for protection of the rights of child since July, 2013, he said that the Criminal Law (Second Amendment) Act, 2016, and the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2015 has recently been enacted.

A draft National Commission on the Rights of the Child Bill, 2015, has been prepared for effective supervision, coordination and monitoring
implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

To set up uniform standards in child rights, the HR ministry introduced bill on ‘National Commission on the Rights of the Child”.

The next endeavour is Draft Child Protection ICT Bill, 2016, which aims at providing protection and care to children in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury, neglect, maltreatment, exploitation and abuse.

The Bill also aims at providing alternate care to unattended children such as orphans, children with unknown parentage, abandoned, neglected or homeless children.

The enactment of the proposed Bill will provide a protective and enabling environment for the children of Islamabad Capital Territory.
Under Punjab Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Act, 2015 Restraint
(Amendment) Act, 2015, wedding of a boy below 18 year and girl below l6 years be considered an offence punishable with imprisonment which may extend to 6 months and fine of 50,000 rupees.

Punjab Prohibition of Child Labour at Brick Kilns Ordinance, 2016 enacted considering it necessary to prohibit employment of below 18 years children at hazardous work places.

Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act, 2013 declares marriage below the age of 18 years punishable by law.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Elimination of Custom of Ghag Act, 2013,
addresses the customary practice under the name of Ghag whereby a male person forcefully demands or claims the hand of a women without her own or her parents’ or wail’s consent.

It has been made an offence punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years but shall not be less than three years and shall also be liable to fine up to five hundred thousand rupees or both.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Prohibition of Employment of Children Act, 2015, has been enacted to prohibit employment of children in any establishment and to regulate the hours and other conditions of workers in commercial establishments in the province.