Minister pledges legislation to ban dowry in Punjab

By Faizan Bangash
May 18, 2024
Minister for Social Welfare and Baitul Maal Department Sohail Shaukat Butt chairs a meeting in this image, released on May 2, 2024. — Facebook/Social Welfare and Bait-ul-Maal Department, Government of the Punjab

LAHORE: Provincial Minister for Social Welfare Suhail Shaukat Butt assured the Punjab Assembly on Friday that the government would legislate to end the curse of dowry.


Responding to an issue raised by PMLN legislator Ahsan Raza Khan regarding dowry, Minister Butt called dowry a societal curse and emphasised the need for revolutionary steps to protect poor families from this menace.

Suhail Shaukat Butt highlighted the problems parents face due to dowry, including blackmail and exploitation. He promised that the Social Welfare Department would draft legislation to eradicate dowry, making it easier for daughters to get married without this financial burden.

Ahsan Raza Khan, the PMLN MPA, noted that despite existing inheritance laws, the burden of dowry forces some poor individuals to consider suicide. He mentioned that over 13 million women in the country have not been able to marry on time due to dowry demands.

Khan pointed out that 80% of society consists of poor and working-class people with an average income of Rs32,000. He questioned how a poor person could afford both education and marriage expenses, including dowry. He called for a complete ban on dowry and extravagant wedding displays.

The PMLN legislator praised his leader Shehbaz Sharif for enforcing the one-dish system at weddings to help poor people.Meanwhile, opposition legislator Hafiz Farhat Abbas criticised Punjab Police officials for their failure to protect the public.

Speaking on the floor of the Punjab Assembly, Abbas recounted a crime incident in the Factory Area and expressed disappointment that none of the senior police officials was present to address the issue. He emphasised that law and order could not improve merely through elite police uniforms, but required practical measures to support affected families.

Provincial Minister Mian Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman assured the assembly that he would personally visit the aggrieved family and provide an update to the Assembly on Monday.Additionally, opposition MPA from Rahim Yar Khan Ejaz Shafi mentioned a viral picture on social media that had caused frustration within the government. Opposition MPAs also protested against the mistreatment of MPA Rashid Tufail by PA security staff at the entrance.

The deputy speaker explained that heightened security measures were necessary due to high threats. Mian Amjed Ali Javaid, PMLN MPA from Toba Tek Singh, expressed dissatisfaction with the response provided by Sports Minister Faisal Ayub Khokhar. Malik Arshad, PMLN MPA from Sahiwal, acknowledged the positive actions of the sports minister. The deputy speaker later adjourned the session.