Why did PTI so strongly oppose the Protection of Women Against Violence Bill?

Published: February 28, 2016
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The well-organised implementation will definitely help females by guaranteeing that criminals will be held for their criminalities. PHOTO: AFP

The Punjab Assembly unanimously approved the Protection of Women Against Violence Bill, calling for an end to all criminalities against women, such as, domestic violence, acid attack, rape, psychological and economic abuse, stalking, and cyber-crimes. The 31 clauses of the new bill provide an efficient system for complaint registration and penalties for offenders.

According to the clauses, a toll-free helpline (UAN number) will be launched to receive direct complaints. It also calls for the creation of protection centres and shelters homes, where conflicts and misunderstandings can be settled and help partners reach reconciliation.

Under the law, those convicted of life-threatening crimes against women will have to wear a GPS bracelet and any illegal meddling will be dealt with a GPS tracker that can result in one year imprisonment and a fine up to Rs200,000. The law further states,

“To protect life, dignity and reputation of the aggrieved, a woman protection officer may direct the defendant to move out of the house for 48 hours.”

Moreover, any unfair accusation and fabricated complaint can result in a three months imprisonment or a fine of Rs100,000. The bill also directs family courts to fix hearings within seven days of a complaint.

Overall, it is a historic bill to protect women against all evils and crimes. The well-organised implementation will definitely help females by guaranteeing that criminals will be held for their criminalities and a malevolent individual will not go unpunished. The new law emerges as a saving mechanism for prevention, combating and eradication of violence against women as well as for security, justice and reintegration of the mentally and physically tortured victims.

The bill has magnificently covered all the critical must-have consolidated statutes dealing with violence and crafted the complaint system easier than ever. It’s certainly a milestone towards women rights, empowerment and gender equality.

However, there is a section of society that strongly opposed the new protection bill and considered it an attempt to authorise secularism, deteriorate cultural values and vulgarity in the country.

Punjab government’s spokesman Zaeem Qadri stated that this bill collides with our social setup and involving man in such a way would affect the domestic lives.

Furthermore, a prominent cleric Mufti Muhammad Naeem also openly criticised the protection law by terming it against our culture and Islamic Sharia. He accused the Sharif brothers for promoting secularism and liberalism by following western values. Surprisingly, the party that opposed this bill the strongest was PTI.

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I failed to understand the hue and cry over a simple straightforward law for merely the protection of women. The people who think that curbing such violent acts would collide with our social setup and cultural values are actually the believers of patriarchal societal structure. Such criticisms are a way of reinforcing male supremacy, thus creating notions of religion, culture and traditions justifying the male domination and longing to control women lives. This sort of mind-set puts women in an extremely vulnerable situation.

The rate of violence against women throughout the country paints a very gloomy picture. There are instances where husbands have attacked their wives and cut their noseslips and ears after domestic disputes. Such incidents occurred in different cities such as Faisalabad, Abbottabad, Bahawalpur, Mansehra, Naushero Feroze and various parts of Balochistan.

In Pakistan, women are murdered merely for giving birth to girls, burnt in fake incidents of stove burning, suffer acid attacks, rapes, spousal abuse, forced abortions, forced prostitution, acute domestic violence and swapped for settlements. Unfortunately, most of these crimes go unreported due to lack of women independence, social acceptance and weak legal and justice framework. These dreadful instances highlight the sufferings of women in the name of cultural and religious norms that male dominated societies endorse.

In our society, women are considered secondary, so they must be obedient and subservient. This passive role is levied by the conformist society in so many different ways – via society’s traditional beliefs, ancestral customs and religious codes. Conventional traditions and attitudes fabricated on artificial rule-books of culture, religious and sociological doctrines make it extremely challenging for a woman to stand up against such practices.

Initiating a domestic violence law for the protection of women is not mental slavery of the west. Cutting off women’s facial features are not social values in any part of the world. No violent act is justified nor reinforced in the teachings of Islam. Likewise, such legislation cannot destroy the family system or domestic lives.

There is a huge difference between religious beliefs and man-made values. In this modern and technological age, women are subjected to various forms of gender-based violence, unscrupulous control, sexism and misogyny reinforced by patriarchal theories. Social custom is a euphemism for deep-rooted patriarchy that condones violence against women. Everything that stresses women’s respect and dignity is in fact an incipient provocation for strong patriarchal mind-set.

The rotation of shameless crimes won’t be interrupted till criminals are not penalised. All male members of society are not accountable for violence and crime against females, but they must use all means to cease it. Intensive campaigns that alter the significance to tackling men’s approach rather than women’s attitude are pivotal so that deep-rooted cultural change uplifts women’s status on the basis of humanitarianism and not on man-made biased social customs. This can only be possible if each and every law is enforced effectively with strong commitment.

Tanveer Khadim

Tanveer Khadim

An avid reader, freelance writer and a blogger, Tanveer is pursuing fashion designing. She has a passion for cooking, attended cookery courses and tweets as @TheFusionDiary (twitter.com/TheFusionDiary)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Fahim

    Some parts of this law will make women more vulnerable. For example if a woman complaint against his husband that he misbehaved with him and put him in jail. She is going home permanently. If women is not a doctor, engineer, MBA or any other highly qualified degree holder then life would be more difficult.Recommend

  • naveed

    I don’t understand the point made by this new law,did any one in his right mind ever think burning women,throwing acid upon them or wani were legal acts,if not than whats the point in bringing another law.its now the presence but application of law which is missing and will never happen as long as the civil service continues to act like private armies for the rulers,Kasur and Model town incidents are cases in pointRecommend

  • Parvez

    It boggles the mind that there are people against something that is patently ‘ good and a step in the right direction.’
    My view which is mostly cynical is : This is basic politics, Nawaz pushed this through because it made him ‘ look good ‘…..but he whispered in the ear of his partner-of-convenience JUI-Fazlu Rehman ‘ ….buddy now you go and sink it and I’ll give you something if you do ‘. On the PTI, Nawaz had no need to do anything it was just obvious that the PTI would oppose anything the PML-N did….without thinking. Another in the string of blunders committed by Imran Khan.Recommend

  • talha usmani

    This bill is a great start for a prosperous future and should be unanimously adopted by all provinces. And any party which opposes this bill must ask the question if their family member had to go through the ordeal which thousands of Pakistani women go through everyday, how would they react to it without a strong & efficient law. They should stop treating women as just baby producing factories.Recommend

  • Commemtator

    Only those men are opposing the law who themselves are involved in such violence. They are the people who believe mistreating and beating woman is their right. Their egos cannot be satisfied until they control women and for their mental and egoistic satisfaction men wrap violence in cover of tradition. Pathetic misogynist mentality is so common in Pakistan.Recommend

  • kiran

    Absolutely correct. Legislation for the protection of women against violence is the need of the hour, our male oriented society is very much hostile towards the laws that can protect weak women. They always want to suppress females and establish their hegemony without realizing what tender aged boys are learning from these atrocities.

    It is not a crime to be a woman but abusive behavior of men makes it a huge crime to be born as a woman. Every abusive behavior should be curbed and the culprits should be brought to justice if we want to secure every single women and healthy society in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Sami

    PTI will oppose anything that will come from PMLN. In their hatred they have become blind. The logic is already dead for them. Believe me if PMLN will bring anti-rape bill in assembly then Imran will dole out reason that how rape is good for the society.

    I am sure pretty sure even one day Nawaz Sharif will state that the World is round and the next day PTI will bring the arguments that how Earth is totally flat and Mr Sharif is lying.Recommend

  • aptitude

    All those critiques are right. Hurting and beating and killing women is indeed our culture. Any bill to protect women against harm is indeed against our culture but conforms to Islam. Hence, proven that, our culture IS against Islam and HAS to be corrected. Which Islam is it to deprive women of their inheritance rights?
    Dear barbaric husbands! YES Islam allows you to hit your wife BUT with a solid reason. Even then, you cant cause them physical harm and injury or any lasting effects. Do not seek excuses yall psychopaths. The bill should be there to put you on leash.
    Dear mullas! let your wives speak. Let us hear whether they favor this bill or not.
    Dear politicians! you have taken patriarchy to whole new zenith. I am dumbfounded at the least. Will you allow your son-in-law to beat your daughter yo hypocrites! ?Recommend

  • Rd px

    If it was passed ‘unanimously’ why do u say PTI objected to it ?Recommend

  • Gullu, Guddu and Gomnath.

    Remember Taliban Khan? Hamara Bhai Khan? U Turn Khan?
    Office for extremists in Islamabad Khan? Well, there you have it.
    The man is showing his true colors. A bigoted misogynist.Recommend

  • Akhwandk

    Why is the title about PTI but only one line in the article is about PTI. This is clickbait. I know for a fact PTI members of the Punjab Assembly voted for the bill. The rest I agree with you wonderfull Hai Kudos PMLNRecommend

  • Mohsin

    Reading the details of this bill made me really happy. About time we take a stand against the patriarchal societal values that only exist to curb the women. Maybe we can now think about entering 20th century (yes 21st century is still too far off, but one day we’ll get there too)Recommend

  • Nasir Jadran

    Women protection bill is a first step in a right direction. If a Mullah is opposing, it is understandable that they don’t have understandings. But if a so called “progressive” “awareness” Tsunami opposes Women Protection Bill it is only but duplicity. Imran Khan who professes moderate Islam was and is supporter of liberal values. At least he once was before jumping into Pakistani politics beleaguered with hypocrisy or duplicity. Abstaining to vote for women’s protection narrates this that PTI’s boasting for a new Pakistan in fact is a new way to Mullahism in sugarcoated slogans. Pakistan Army Chief has bestowed a DHS land in Karachi for Shaukat Khanam my advise is before jumping into bandwagon Army should seriously vet politicians and their policies!Recommend

  • Liberal Mind

    This article does a splendid duty of pointing out all the problems which women confront in Pakistan.
    These bad attitudes and backward psychology are actually holding back Pakistan and its Nation. Mean people usually use religion to justify their sick mentality.Recommend

  • Jatt Sher

    This bill is a very unrealistic solution to a very real problem. The places in which such domestic abuses happen, tribal KPK, rural Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan etc. hardly any cases will be reported. Also the kicking out of the house part is very derogatory and would not be accepted in rural areas. This bill is more suited to liberal USA than Pakistan. A bill shoudve been drawn keeping Pakistan in mind.Recommend

  • Hasan Malik

    That is a nice write up, we all stand up for such a great bill to be presented that should eradicate the violence and aggression towards women. In the whole article I could not find any logical evidence supporting your title “Why did PTI so strongly oppose the protection of women against violence bill”. Moreover I also request you to email me any copy image file of that bill. So that I could be enlightened why are some arrogant people against it?
    And If you yourself have not gone through that articlebill (not to be offensive, I believe you as a educated responsible member of state) then why you are so blindly supporting it and writing blogs to elevate it !!!

    Not a supporter of PTI but on news, I read PTI spokes person Shah Mehmood stating “We are not given the amended copies of the bill so why we should sign and vote for that”. Because in my belief its nothing just another pile of papers to protect some hidden beneficiaries for politicians.Recommend

  • Ahmed

    show me one statement of any pti leader who have opposed the bill. pti supports the bill presented in punjab assembly & PTI spokesperson has clearly stated this position https://twitter.com/naeemul_haque/status/704147442002993152Recommend

  • Parvez

    The PTI has backtracked on ‘ accountability ‘, you may claim otherwise but the perception created by amending the rules says otherwise….. its mind boggling IF the PTI has actually opposed this Bill….but then the PTI’s credibility has eroded faster than its rise and mostly this ‘ hurt ‘ is self inflicted.Recommend

  • Saqib Ali Rana

    When did PTI oppose this bill?? was this title an attention seeker?Recommend

  • T

    For news reference regarding PTI

    “the men in the assembly, especially from the PTI, were the most to cause an issue.” “They were of the view that the bill would cause domestic and family problems, and would interfere with personal issues. They also said divorce rates would go up. It is unbelievable the kind of attitude we have among lawmakers. One male MPA even said to me that religion allows women to be beaten up and that she has no right to let the news out of the house.”
    “The PTI members did not even want to discuss the bill and state their reservations,”
    Source: http://www.dawn.com/news/1242010Recommend

  • T

    For news reference regarding PTI – (dated Feb 26, 2016)

    “the men in the assembly, especially from the PTI, were the most to cause an issue. They were of the view that the bill would cause domestic and family problems, and would interfere with personal issues. They also said divorce rates would go up. It is unbelievable the kind of attitude we have among lawmakers. One male MPA even said to me that religion allows women to be beaten up and that she has no right to let the news out of the house.”

    “The PTI members did not even want to discuss the bill and state their reservations,”
    Source: http://www.dawn.com/news/1242010Recommend

  • T

    For reference news regarding PTI resistance (dated Feb 26, 2016)
    http://www.dawn.com/news/1242010
    .Recommend

  • Jaqoob

    To support a piece of Observation you back it up not by a factual news but by another news that is an observation. In Punjab PTI is the only opposition worth anything so I am happy and in all essence every one should commend their efforts. Its opposition they should question everything. This headline, is total click bait. What a non sense. Recommend

  • Iqbal Khan

    i am a Pti worker as long as i know, no one oppose that bill on behalf of PTI .PTI narrative is womens empowerment and protection as well is justice .we being a pti workers strongly supporting that bill.Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    Because such a law is not required since those who practice violence against women can be prosecuted under existing laws. What Pakistan and other muslim majority countries require is major reforms in family laws to assure parity of woman rights with those for men.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Rehan

    People who are saying that this bill will accelerate divorces, I have a question for them why divorce rate is increasing day by day even before the submission of this bill? and if men are very much tolerant and innocent why they always make excuses while paying Haq Mahr and always insist to women to forgive their Haq Mahr even in happy marriages, let alone in a divorce case.

    Why men always targets the character of his wife during divorce hearings? And finally last question; Why can’t anyone present any example of Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him) mistreating his female family members, instead we have lot of examples of Holy Prophet PBUH where he teaches us to behave politely with women.Recommend

  • Rehan

    The bill is drafted keeping in mind the serious situation of violence on women in Pakistan. The bill is a very realistic solution and it is not “derogatory” in any sense.
    It is real derogatory when a man drags his wife out of house just because he has physical and social power over woman. This bill is well suited for Pakistani society.Recommend

  • Rehan

    All bigoted misogynists are screaming at the top of their lungs against the bill just to protect themselves from future punishments. These are same people who hit women in their own homes. They don’t want to see women have any legal thing for safety.Recommend

  • Rehan

    Agreed, your point makes sense, it may be a political game but if it implements fully it will help women victims. They will at least have a legal system to go for justice and men will have some fears before committing any violent act.Recommend

  • Omar Dar

    I second this point. The title and the article have zero commonality.Recommend

  • Farhan Shahid Khan

    How could the bill be passed unanimously (told in opening line) if PTI vehemently opposed the bill. The article isn’t making any sense Recommend

  • Saqib Ali Rana

    so because they had no ‘reservations’ means they ‘strongly objected’ the bill? Why did they vote in its favor then?Recommend

  • Moiz Ejaz

    Have you even read this link that you have posted to back up your false argument? It clearly states what one female MPA belonging to PPP said against PTI, which if you think are the facts, you are certainly deluded mate. Refrain from misleading your audience and posting such nonsense. Thank you. Recommend

  • Parvez

    Absolutely.Recommend

  • Beti

    Being a woman I admire Punjab govt’s step. Educated working women are the victims of exploitation and violence also.
    Although the bill has been passed but within 48 hours news channels reported several cases of rape. Disgusting.Recommend

  • Beti

    And men in Pakistan are so much over protective about their male ego that they can’t even wait to see whether this law works or it is made to calm the vulnerable situation of women, only. One such person has already challenged it in court.Recommend

  • Jatt Sher

    So if a husband has an arguement or slaps his wife he is taken out of HIS house that he bought through the money that HE earned, for two days and made to wear a GPS tracker. Also, this isnt going to be accepted or implimented in rural areas as this is drastically different to the culture present there. According to this law a man cant even argue with his wife (she might call it verbal abuse) or scold his daughter for returning home late. Only unsatisfied middle and upper class urban women are going to use it mainly as ploy against their husbands or to blackmail them.Recommend

  • Beta

    Your misandry (hatred of men) really shows through in your comment. In this bill, if a man has an argument or once slaps his wife then he has to leave HIS house which HE bought using the money HE earned (as in about 95% of cases in Pakistan) and has to wear a GPS band. That is insulting and derogatory. This bill isnt going to be accepted or impented in the rural areas as the culture there is drastically different there. Only unsatisfied middle and upper class women are going to use this to blackmail their husbands. The husband can go to jail for arguing with his wife (she would call it verbal abuse). Men in Pakistan would lose all interest in marriage and increasingly take part in extra marital relationships and adultery as they do in the West. This is just a political tactic by PMLN to win feminist liberal support for elections. Im sure Shehbaz Sharif and Rana Sanaullah come from traditional families where such things and traditional marriages are the norm.Recommend