Bill on domestic violence introduced amid MMA reservations

Updated February 12, 2019


Minister says govt to adjust "suitable" amendments proposed by opposition.— AP/File
Minister says govt to adjust "suitable" amendments proposed by opposition.— AP/File

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Domestic Violence against Women (Prevention and Protection) Bill was introduced in the provincial assembly on Monday as members of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal remained apprehensive about the proposed law.

“The government should not pass the bill in haste. We (MMA) will bring amendments to the bill and will vet it on the yardstick of the Holy Quran and Sunnah,” member of the religious alliance Inayatullah Khan said soon after law and parliamentary affairs minister Sultan Mohammad Khan introduced the bill in the house.

Maulana Lutfur Rehman, another MPA of the alliance, expressed reservations about the bill and termed the matter very serious.

He asked Speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani to refer the bill to the house’s select committee and said the previous Punjab government had to withdraw the law after religious parties opposed it.

Minister says govt to adjust ‘suitable’ amendments proposed by opposition

Law minister Sultan Mohammad assured MMA members that the government would accommodate the opposition’s suitable amendments to the bill.

He said the bill would be put in the house for detailed discussion and might be referred to the committee.

The previous government of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf kept the bill regarding domestic violence against women in cold storage for more than three years.

The Jamaat-i-Islami, which was a coalition partner of the PTI in KP from 2013 to 2018, was not in favour of the bill.

The Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl was also against the bill.

The PTI’s previous government had referred the bill to the Council of Islamic Ideology in 2016 before introducing it in the assembly to pacify religious circles. The council had turned down the draft, saying it’s in contradictions with the Shariah.

“The bill to provide prevention of domestic violence against women in order to protect women from sexual abuse, psychological abuse, economic abuse and stalking and for the matters connected herewith and ancillary there to,” states statement of objects and reasons of the proposed law.

Section 3(1) of the bill says no person shall commit, aid and abet for the commission of the act of domestic violence.

According to sub-section 2 of Section 3, any person, who commits an act pursuant to sub-section (1), shall be deemed to have committed an offence under this Act and shall be liable to be punished for such imprisonment and fine as provided for the said offence in the Pakistan Penal Code 1860 (act No XLV of 1860).

The bill proposes the formation of a seven-member district protection committee to be headed by the deputy commissioner concerned.

The committee will meet at least once a month.

Its main functions are to assist the victim in obtaining any medical treatment necessitated due to the domestic violence and to relocate the victim to safer place and keep official record in respect of the incidents of domestic violence.

The government will establish a toll free help line for reporting of the domestic violence incidents, shelter homes and take other necessary measures to accomplish the objective of this act.

Minister Sultan Mohammad also introduced the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ministers (Salaries, Allowances and Privileges) Act, 2019, to amend Section 8’s sub-section (2) of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Act No IV of 1975, suggesting increase in house furnishing grant from Rs500,000 to Rs1,000,000 per year.

The opposition through an adjournment motion highlighted the ongoing tug-of-war between the governor and chief minister over the delegation of powers in the erstwhile Fata.

MMA MPA Inayatullah in his motion said despite the enactment of 25th Amendment to the Constitution, certain administrative powers in the merged tribal districts had been transferred to the governor, which he considered to be unconstitutional.

He said the government had lost administrative powers after the constitutional amendment.

Opposition leader Akram Khan Durrani said the tussle between Governor Shah Farman and Chief Minister Mahmood Khan had triggered uncertainty in the province.

He said after the approval of that constitutional amendment, all powers had been delegated to the chief minister.

Mr Durrani said the police and levies forces had been brought under the deputy commissioners in tribal districts.

He said the chief secretary and provincial police officer were transferred the same day in an unprecedented development.

The opposition leader said merger with KP had created administrative vacuum in the erstwhile Fata and the abrupt transfer of top officials had caused uncertainty.

ANP MPA Khushdil Khan termed the formation of a four-member advisory council for seven merged district unconstitutional.

He said the government had no legal and constitutional powers to form advisory council comprising former bureaucrats.

Minister Sultan Mohammad said the chief minister was the chief executive of the province and that he enjoyed all powers and that the governor only advised the government on matters.

He said a summary for the appointment of judges to seven merged districts had been approved, while the police system would be introduced there very soon.

A question regarding financial and clinical audit of eight teaching hospitals of the province run under the Medical Teaching Institutions Act was referred to the standing committee on health.

The committee will probe fresh appointments to teaching hospitals and revenue generated through MTIs.

Published in Dawn, February 12th, 2019