ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) vice-president Senator Sherry Rehman on Saturday “condemned the barbaric and gruesome murder of a girl, Noor Mukadam, in the capital and called for provision of speedy justice to all the victims of domestic violence in the country.
“In a span of two weeks, there have been multiple cases of violence against women. With such incidents happening on a daily basis, it is important for us to discuss why the domestic violence bill is needed in Pakistan. This bill seeks to protect women, children, and other vulnerable groups from domestic violence. It also provides relief and rehabilitation to all victims of domestic violence,” Ms Rehman said in a statement.
Discussing Khadija Siddiqi’s case, she said it was shocking that the man who had stabbed her 23 times had been granted remission on account of donating blood and on payment of the requisite fines of Arsh and Daman. She regretted that the man did not even get to complete his five-year jail sentence.
Sherry questions delay in passage of bill against domestic violence
“This is not the example that we should be setting. On the other hand, Usman Mirza who assaulted a couple (also in the capital) is still on physical remand. There needs to be swift justice in such cases,” she added.
Ms Rehman regretted that Pakistan ranked at 151st position out of 153 countries at the Global Gender Gap Index of the World Economic Forum. She said there were countless cases which did not get reported or make it to social media but one could not deny “femicide happening” in Pakistan.
“Someone needs to take the responsibility for Quratul Ain who was murdered by her husband within her home, or for the women who were beaten up by the men of their family. We can no longer ignore the sufferings of our women,” she added.
Highlighting the importance of the domestic violence bill, she said that “this landmark legislation is long overdue and most certainly, the need of the hour.
“It’s high time that we outlaw practices which are a threat to the safety and wellbeing of our women. Instead of blaming women for sexual violence, it is important that we work towards changing our culture of sexism and misogyny,” she suggested.
“I had moved this bill in 2004 when I was an MNA. After that, devolution allowed provinces to make laws to protect women. Sindh’s law is still the model law but why is the federal government unable to accept either my law moved in 2020 in the Senate or the human rights ministry’s?” she asked.
Ms Rehman, who is also the party’s parliamentary leader in the Senate, said the government needed to do more than just act in sporadic cases. She said there was a need for the government to institutionally have a response mechanism and an environment that enabled women to be safe and empowered in public and private spaces.
“It is also the government’s responsibility to ensure that women feel safe to speak up against the injustices happening to them,” she added.
Published in Dawn, July 25th, 2021