End domestic violence
By Javed Iqbal Belharvi
Domestic violence, child marriages, and bonded labour, child abuse, and child labour are never ending social problems of Pakistan. The civil society and intellectuals of Pakistan have written extensively on above mentioned social problems of Pakistan but to date no positive affects have been encountered in the society.Domestic violence has become a major issue in Pakistan especially for young girls. In Pakistan 5000 women are killed from domestic violence with thousands of others maimed or disabled. A survey carried out by the Thomson Reuters Foundation ranked Pakistan as the third most dangerous country in the world for women, after Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo; it is followed by India and Somalia. I thought the subject needed more extensive treatment hence this article.
At first glance, I shall put forward what is domestic violence. Domestic violence can be defined in various forms. Domestic violence in plain words means, violent or aggressive behavior within the home, typically involving the violent abuse of a spouse or partner. There are many causes of domestic violence in Pakistan for instance; poverty, illiteracy, social taboos, and even women in the society of Pakistan are considered as second class not inferior to men this is due to male dominance. In furtherance, lack of government\’s interest in enacting proper laws restricting domestic violence and lack of awareness on women\’s rights can be considered as in factors list which allow domestic violence in Pakistan. Van Wormer, Katherine; Fred H. Besthorn, \’Human Behavior and the Social Environmen\’t, Macro Level: Groups, Communities (2nd ed.), mentions that in traditional and backward societies, it common and acceptable that a man can physically beat his spouse. I wholly agree with Zaman, Habiba, who in his book Family, \’Law and Politics\’ provide that another reason given for abuses is the superiority of patriarchs in Islamic society, which marginalizes women\’s role.
In Pakistan, India and Bangladesh women have reported attacks ranging from physical to psychological and sexual abuse from partners, in-laws and family members. In 1998 of 1974 reported murders the majority of victims were killed by either family members or in laws in the sub continent. A survey carried out by the Thomson Reuters Foundation ranked Pakistan as the third most dangerous country in the world for women, after Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo; it is followed by India and Somalia. Here, it seems pertinent to mention that Pakistan is listed among dangerous countries for women in the world. There are various reasons of this one major reason for domestic violence in Pakistan to me seems is not giving dowry and bridal gifts at the marriage contract. In 1976, the government of Pakistan introduced a piece of legislation prohibiting dowry and bridal gifts to eliminate such customs, but all efforts of the government went in vain due cultural and societal norms combined with government\’s ineffectiveness. In 1999 the Senate of Pakistan rejected a resolution which would have condemned the practice of murdering women for the sake of family honour. The following year, on 21 April 2000, the national government leader Pervez Musharraf declared that honour killings were \”vigorously condemned\” by the government and would be treated as murder. The Ministry of Women Development set up ten crisis centres to help the victims of domestic violence and raise the awareness level of the people on this issue. In 2011 the Senate passed the Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention Bill to repress acid attacks in the country; the senate also passed the prevention of anti-women practices bill.
The PPP led last coalition government in 2009 introduced a bill concerning a Domestic Violence Protection by then the Member Parliament from PPP, Yasmeen Rashid. The bill was passed by the Parliament but it was failed in the second chamber of the Parliament, the Senate within the prescribed period of time.It is noteworthy that the Council of Islamic Ideology objected to the bill and said that it will increase the ratio of divorce in the country and further it is crucial to mention here that in the bill proposed by Yasmeen Rashid, noted children and women the victims of domestic violence ignoring elderly and weak men. The council argued that the punishments suggested by this bill are already enacted by other laws and suggested lack of action on these laws being the reason for increase in domestic violence. Since, the introduction of 18th amendment this subject has become a Provincial matter instead of Federal and I reckon the current of Punjab seems to have no plan to introduce any legislation protecting women and children in the Province.
It was re-tabled in 2012, but met with a deadlock in parliament because of stiff opposition from the religious right. Representatives of Islamic organizations vowed resistance to the proposed bill, describing it as \”anti-Islamic\” and an attempt to promote \”Western cultural values\” in Pakistan. They asked for the bill to be reviewed before being approved by the parliament. The bill was passed for Islamabad Capital Territory. The rise in domestic violence, child abuse, and child labour is alarming and increasing day by day. The government seems to be busy in constructing roads and delivering speeches to get attention of the public instead of legislating on crucial matters. Let us make Pakistan strong democratic nation where women have same rights and liberty which are given to men.(Sarmad Ali Advocate)