Islamabad - The Pakistan People’s Party Senator Farhatullah Babar on Thursday identified ‘broken criminal justice system and misrepresentation of religion’ as core issues in continuing violence in the country, especially against the women.

Speaking at the launch of three publications on women-related issues by National Commission on the Status of Women, Babar said that the women were the worst sufferers of violence. He said that even a constitutional body such as Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) had interpreted religion in ways that militate against women.

“At the time of the passage by Sindh Assembly of the Child Marriage Act requiring a minimum age of eighteen years for marriage of girls, the then chairman of the CII had asked for treason trial of the members of the provincial assembly,” he added.

Babar said that recently, the council decreed that DNA tests were not permissible in rape cases.

“Beating of wives by husbands is also permissible according to the council but community homes for elderly are not permissible as these are against our norms and traditions,” the PPP leader said.

He called for maintaining a catalogue of crimes against women in the country and the status of court cases. “We must maintain such a catalogue as it might persuade the state and the society to deeply reflect on continuing violence against women with impunity,” the lawmaker said.

He called for appointing a special public prosecutor to pursue on behalf of the state cases of violence against women. “If we can demand a special public prosecutor for crimes against media persons, why the same can’t be demanded for 50 per cent of the population, which is also very vulnerable,” the senator said. “They are victims of violence in the name of men’s honour and subjected to gang rape and acid attacks to disfigure them. The instruments of violence against them vary from area to area; being kitchen stove in Punjab, pesticide in south Punjab, axe in Sindh and guns everywhere,” he said.

About the jirga system, he said that by excluding women from it and institutionally degrading them, the jirgas had been nothing but instruments of violence against women.

“To empower and enable them to fight the crimes, women must have economic rights, right to own land, right to inheritance and equal wages. The draft Constitution of October 1950 contained clear cut provisions for ending all forms of torture and also for equal wages for women. But both the provisions were deleted in the draft Constitution finalized in 1956,” he said.

 

 

shafqat ali