Following the passage of the Protection of Women Against Violence Bill in March, Islamic extremist men in Pakistan came together to demand a revocation of the law. These men believe that the mistreatment of women is their divine right and the new law will break the family system in Pakistan.
Pakistan finally took a strong measure against the inhuman treatment that many women in the country had to suffer at the hands of their husbands and fathers.
The hardliner men tried to block the legislation, which was finally enacted on March 1. These men have now joined protests, trying to compel the government to repeal the law, saying it would “add to the miseries of women.”
The bill criminalises any form of abuse by men against women in the province of Punjab whether it is domestic, physical, psychological or through stalking or cyber crime. It was passed unanimously by the Punjab assembly.
It also made provisions of safe houses and shelters for women who have fled the violence. They are also given the right to seek medical and financial aid and counselling. The women can call on a 24/7 toll-free number to report abuse, the New York Post reported.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif introduced the bill in the parliament in 2015. Though he has a reputation of catering to the hardline religious group, he publicly condemned violence against women in recent times. He also vowed to take action against such crimes.
“This is totally against Islam and anyone who does this must be punished and punished very severely,” the Guardian quoted him as saying in February.
According to the United Nations Gender Equality Index, Pakistan is at the 147th position in a list of 188 countries. Honour killings, acid attacks, rapes, child marriages, and bride burnings are a common order of the day. Women are still treated as domestic property in many parts of the country.