ISLAMABAD: PPP parliamentary leader in the Senate Monday introduced the `Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Bill, 2020’ in the House and said that by estimates 90 percent of women in Pakistan are subjected to some form of physical, emotional, verbal or sexual abuse.
It was the private members day and the PPP legislator tabled the bill, which was referred to the House standing committee concerned for deliberations and report. She explained that through this Bill, the act of domestic violence would be criminalised with penalties prescribed for offenders.
Moreover, she continued the bill brings domestic violence into the public domain and responds to the urgent need for giving women the rights guaranteed in Article 25 and also the bill gives the court the discretion to order monetary relief to the aggrieved and ensures safe shelter for the victim. “Based on a zero-tolerance policy for violence against women, this proposed piece of legislation provides relief and protection for the aggrieved ones,” she noted.
She contended, “violence is not accepted anywhere and there is a need to criminalise it at the federal level, just like how it is done in other countries and in our two provinces. Sindh has comprehensive laws to safeguard women against domestic violence and PPP also has a clear no tolerance policy towards it”. She called domestic violence, a hidden epidemic of the world.
Senator Sherry said that the COVID-19 had made the situation worse in relation to domestic violence and the world had seen a spike in domestic violence cases; there was an urgent need for better enforcement of women’s protection laws.
Senate Chairman Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani assured the House that he would take a decision in consultations with Leader of the House and Leader of Opposition on the constitution of the committee of the Whole on the proposal for the establishment of a constitutional court and the options for enhancing the current set up of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Senators from across the aisle spoke on a motion, tabled in the House by PML-N Senator Muhammad Javed Abbasi the House might discuss need for establishment of a constitutional court. State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan did not oppose the move and said that this needed threadbare consultations with all the stakeholders, as if taken the step would be a major one in the context of judiciary for the last 73 years.
He agreed with opposition senators that the Supreme Court was faced with a plethora of cases and had to put aside cases to take up issues of urgent nature and establish benches accordingly. He added such courts were set in many other countries and this experience was successful in certain countries and unsuccessful in others.
Speaking on the motion, PML-N Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed said there had been so much pressure on the apex court while political parties also failed to make the rules of the game and related matters. He pointed out that the apex court had given certain judgements, which were billed as controversial and even there was talk of judicial murder even. He supported the idea of a constitutional court and he referred to three judgments of the Supreme Court, which were never referred to as precedents and these included the decision of banning the National Awami Party, the conviction of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and the verdict against Nawaz Sharif in 2017, which was called a soft coup. The recent judicial reference also turned out to be controversial, he added.
Leader of the House Dr. Shahzad Waseem, speaking on the motion moved by JI Senator Mushtaq Ahmad on the matter, said that Pakistan and Afghanistan are linked by deep, religious and historical relations. In the context of the Soviet Union or 9/11 situation in Afghanistan, he noted Pakistan had been with the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan always been active in resolving the issue of Afghanistan.
“Today, countries around the world, including the United States, agree that negotiations are the answer to Afghanistan’s problems and time has proved that Afghan peace is possible only through negotiations.
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