ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif addressed reservations of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islami Fazl chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman over a legislation against domestic violence formulated last month, at a meeting held at the Prime Minister House on Monday.
The PM had invited Maulana Fazlur Rehman to discuss the Punjab Protection of Women Against Violence Bill which redefines “violence” to include “any offence committed against a woman including domestic violence, emotional, psychological and verbal abuse, economic abuse, stalking or a cyber crime”, which the JUI-F was vociferously opposing.
Speaking to the media the JUI-F Chief said, “The Prime Minister heard our reservations against the law. He promised to amend the bill so that it does not contradict the Quran and Sunnah.”
He said the that PM will form a committee which will look into the reservations of the religious parties.
The JUI-F Chief had earlier called members of the Punjab Assembly Zanmurids, an Urdu language term for uxorious husbands.
According to the new bill, protection officers will be liable to inform the defendant whenever a complaint is received. Offering resistance to the protection officers will be punishable by up to six months imprisonment and a fine of up to Rs500,000.
Special Centers will also be set up for reconciliation and resolution of disputes concerning women.
Violence against women has been criminalized in Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) which is a federal law. Acts of domestic violence are also an offence under various sections of PPC, and punishments for these have been prescribed in this federal law too.
According to the new law, a toll-free number (UAN) will also be introduced to receive complaints while a district protection committee will be setup to investigate women’s complaints in this regard.
The bill has been welcomed by rights’ activists but condemned by clerics who call it an ‘invasion of the privacy of the house’.