Prevention of Anti-women Practices Bill moved in NA
( Women can end marriage if husband guilty of qazf
* Vani, depriving women of inheritance, forced marriages to be punishable
By Irfan Ghauri and Zulfiqar Ghuman
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain tabled the Prevention of Anti-women Practices Bill 2006 in the National Assembly on Tuesday
The bill would add a new chapter (XXA) to the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). Section 498A of the new chapter says depriving a woman of her inheritance would be punishable with seven years imprisonment or with a fine or both. Section 498B would outlaw forced marriages and provide for three years in prison and a fine for the offence. Section 498C would disallow marriage with the Quran and provide for up to three years imprisonment with a fine.
Under Section 498D, a woman can seek to end her marriage if her husband, knowing of a qazf complaint by his wife in a court, fails to undergo the procedure of lian by his absence or otherwise. The husband would also be punished for qazf. Under Section 498E, a woman who admits to zina in lian proceedings would be liable to prosecution for zina. The bill would also add a new section, 402D, in the Criminal Procedures Code, restricting the provincial governments’ authority to suspend or commute sentences under Section 376 of the PPC in rape cases.
The bill also proposed to substitute Section 310A of the PPC with a new section to provide for three year imprisonment and/or fine for giving a female in marriage in badal-e-sulh, vanni or swara to settle a dispute.
Mujeeb Pirzada and Khurshid Shah of the PPPP objected that the government should have moved the bill instead of tabling it as a private member’s bill, terming Shujaat’s initiative a “point-scoring move”. The house agreed to send the bill to a select committee, whose make-up the speaker will decide after consulting parliamentary party leaders.