PESHAWAR: After going through a gruelling review and rejection by Council of Islamic Ideology, the domestic violence bill is back in the hands of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to go through another examination in hope to land on the floor of provincial assembly one day.
Provincial Minister for Social Welfare and Women Development Sikander Sherpao says that the bill would be tabled very soon in the provincial assembly.
“The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is not only going to table the domestic violence bill in the provincial assembly after reviewing and removing the objections raised by the Council of Islamic Ideology, amendments in the Provincial Commission on the Status of Women, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Act 2009 are also underway to make it autonomous and give it a status it deserves,” he adds.
When contacted to know about the status of domestic violence bill after it went through a review by the CII, as requested by the provincial government, the minister insisted that the bill was not rejected by the CII. The CII had raised some questions and needed some clarifications or changes in some definitions.
Minister insists CII has not rejected the bill rather it needs some clarifications
“The provincial women commission and social welfare department have started work on it. We will remove those points on which CII’s reservations are valid and then table it in the provincial assembly,” said the minister.
He said that law department had been involved too so that if CII had raised any valid point, it could be removed so that the bill was presented in the provincial assembly as soon as possible.
The Provincial Commission on the Status of Women itself has been unable to have a visible recommendatory status and the draft it prepared after several consultations was sent to CII for review which as was expected rejected it. The CII rejected some 28 out of some 32 sections of the proposed law including the very definition of the ‘domestic violence’.
The minister also admitted the fact that inability of the commission to perform as was expected of it when it was established was due to the inherent lacunas in the law under which the commission was formed. The lacunas in the law created hurdles, hampering its performance due to lack of autonomy in the financial and administrative affairs of the commission.
“The provincial law department has vetted amendments to make the commission more autonomous. After the budget session, it would be presented in assembly for approval. The commission would be more autonomous and won’t rely on social welfare department anymore,” said Sikander Sherpao.
He said that they were going towards complete autonomy and the commission should not rely on social welfare department for financial matter. He admitted that financial and administrative hindrances had affected the performance of the commission, set up to review and give its recommendations on legislation and matters relating to women.
The minister said that the entire social welfare and women development department had remained a neglected department so far. He said that his department was making necessary amendments in law of PCSW of the province to make it autonomous.
Despite being a statutory body established under the Provincial Commission on the Status of Women, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Act 2009, the commission has powers to review provincial legislation for women, assess government programmes and projects for women and monitor the mechanism and institutional processes for social care and justice for women towards the overarching goal of achieving emancipation of women, equalisation of opportunities and socio-economic conditions among women and men and elimination of all forms of discrimination against women in the province. Yet the commission having such a Herculean job has not been able to make its own presence felt or achieve a status of its own so far.
There has been very little legislation on issues relating to women in Khyber Pakthunkhwa despite having provincial autonomy during the Pakistan Tehreeki-i-Insaf, Jamaat-i-Islami and Qaumi Watan Party coalition government.
Despite reported cases of burning of girls, honour killings and beating, the provincial government has so far been wavering on legislation on domestic violence like its predecessors progressive ANP-PPP coalition government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Courtesy : Dawn News