ISLAMABAD - The National Commission on Status of Women (NCSW) clarified Tuesday that the bill passed by the Senate on Monday — Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act 2012 — does not criminalises domestic violence and it is only for ICT not for the whole country as the National Assembly can only legislate for ICT.

Fouzia Saeed, Member National Commission on the Status of Women, in a statement clarified that this is not the bill that was passed by the National Assembly in 2009 and that one is still in the pipeline for the joint session. And for the last two years never came on the agenda in a joint session.

This is a similar (but not the same) bill, moved as a fresh bill by Senator Nelofer Balhtiar in the Senate. It is a private member bill and was tabled Monday last. It was passed after discussion unanimously and now it will go to the NA session for their approval.

Secondly, it is important to note that this bill does not criminalises domestic violence. This is only about getting an order for protection or restraining order to ensure that the abuser can be made to stay away from the aggrieved person and also deals with some temporary maintenance and custody issues. Thirdly, it is only for ICT as the national assembly can only legislate for ICT. It is not for the whole of the country.

For criminalisation of the act of domestic violence we have prepared amendments to PPC and given to the HR ministry since a few months. That will be moved as a Government Bill. That is for the whole country and will declare Domestic violence a crime.  We do need to move fast on that front as both together can make the crime accountable.