Legislation on Women and Family in PakistanIPSweb
Capitalizing on the earlier efforts of the Study Group on Gender Issues (SGGI) towards developing a comprehensive document on the discourse of gender issues in Pakistan, the IPS Task Force on Gender Legislation comprising lawyers, social workers, academicians, researchers
Capitalizing on the earlier efforts of the Study Group on Gender Issues (SGGI) towards developing a comprehensive document on the discourse of gender issues in Pakistan, the IPS Task Force on Gender Legislation comprising lawyers, social workers, academicians, researchers and social scientists held three meetings in the last quarter on June 5, June 9 and June 16. The group concluded one of its targeted studies regarding legislation on ‘women and family’ in Pakistan.
Members of the Task Force included Advocate Akseer Ahmed Abbasi, Advocate Amir Abdullah, Advocate Asifa Imdad, Advocate Asthma Mushtaq, Prof. Habib-ur-Rahman Asim, Khalid Rahman (Chair), Advocate Mamoona Nazir, Advocate Nadeem Farhat Geelani, Advocate Nadia Khadam, Advocate Saleem Raza, Coordinator Sammar Javed, Advocate Sehrish Saba, and Advocate Zafarr-ul-Hassan Joya.
The Task Force has looked into the legislative efforts of the current Parliament with respect to women and family and has reviewed 35 bills, two enactments and two Ordinances which have been laid before National Assembly. It has taken into account the constitutional framework for legislation, existing laws and their judicial interpretations, social values and international dimensions of issues related to these legislative drafts.
As first part of the study, the outcome of the deliberations on five laws pertaining to institution of marriage have been prepared and published in the recent issue of Policy Perspectives, Volume 7, Number 2, July-December 2010. A media report based on IPS findings was also telecast on Express TV on July 21.
Following is the excerpt from the introduction of the first report:
The status and role of women has generally been the contested domain in almost all societies, particularly in the contemporary world. While the women have generally been victims of exploitation and disrespect, it is ironical that whenever society showed sensitivity towards woes of women, they were granted a role in public life with an aim to raise their status, but this enhanced role, in most cases, turned out to be ‘double jeopardy’ for them.
In both these situations, needs, instincts, sentiments, feelings and capabilities of women were overlooked. It is for the same reason that movement for rights of women or at least a concern for their rights has been noticed in primitive societies of yesteryears as well as the most developed nations of the world today.
The women in Pakistan are facing a number of problems and challenges ranging from the absence or insufficiency of basic necessities to confusions about their role in social and economic circles. While it is true that call for social and educational campaigns, administrative measures for provision of education, employment and development, reforms in judicial and police systems and sensitization of media and civil society towards their problems have made their impact, the legislative measures cannot be ignored to bring about an enduring change in society.
In this background, the first phase of the study examined the legislative efforts of the current parliament. To perform its study in a more organized and specialized manner, the Task Force categorized the legislative drafts with respect to their subjects.