Pakistan is the world’s fifth most populous country in & the second largest south Asian country. The sixth population & housing census held in 2017 revels Pakistan’s population has increased by 57 percent, from 132.3 million in 1998 to 207.7 million. The census also shows that men have outnumbered women, where men are 51 percent of the total population & women are 49 percent.
The status of women in Pakistan is one of the systematic gender subordination even though it varies considerably across classes, regions and the rural and urban divide due to uneven socio economic development and the impact on tribal, feudal and capitalist socio formations on women’s live.
The women in Pakistan have been constantly complaining of having being isolated from main stream society. However Pakistani society usually adopts a hostile attitude towards the women. Numerically the women in Pakistan are almost equal to men.
Pakistan has adopted a number of key international commitments to gender equality and women human rights.
• The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
• Beijing Platform for action.
• The Conventions on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).
• The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
• Vienna declaration and program of action in 1993 Pakistan recognize that women rights are human rights.
• Nairobi strategies for the advancement of the women in 1985 Pakistan became a party.
National Commitments in place include a national policy for development and empowerment of women.
• The protection against harassment of women at workplace act, 2010.
• Criminal law (amendment) offences in the name or pretext of honour act, 2016.
• Criminal Law (amendment) offences relating to rape act, 2016.
• National plan of action on human rights.
• The acid control and acid crime prevention act, 2011.
• Prevention of anti-women practices, 2011.
• Prevention of electronic crimes act, 2016.
• Hindu marriage act, 2016.
• Rights of women guaranteed by constitution of Pakistan.
Despite these commitments Pakistan ranking for gender equality remains one of the lowest in the world. Women in Pakistan fight daily for their basic rights. The government of Pakistan has undertaken commitments at varies national and international forums to guaranty women rights.” 8the March marked the international women’s day around the world.”
Laws protecting women’s rights in Pakistan
• Article 25(1) and (2) of Constitution of Pakistan
25 (1) declares all citizens to be equal before law and entitled to equal protection of law and
• 25 (2) states that there shall be no discrimination on the basis of sex alone.
• Article 25(3) of Constitution of Pakistan
Allows the State to create special laws and rules for specific issues facing women and children, which are being ignored.
• Article 34 of Constitution of Pakistan
Ensures full participation of women in all spheres of national life.
• 18th Amendment of Constitution of Pakistan
Devolves most social issues to provinces and gives them responsibility for legislation and initiatives regarding those women’s rights issues that fall within the purview of provinces.
18th Amendment has increased resources to provinces to work on women’s empowerment.
CRIMINAL LAW (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2004
Murder in the name of Honour, karokari, siyahkari.
1• Amendment of section- 299, Act XLV of 1860. —In the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860 (Act XLV of1860), hereinafter referred to as the Penal Code, in section 299, after clause (i), the following new clause shall be inserted, namely: —
2• “(ii) “offence committed in the name or on the pretext of honour” means an offence committed in the name or on the pretext of karokari, siyahkari or similar other customs or practices;”
3. Amendment of section 302, Act XLV of 1860.
In the Penal Code, in section 302, in clause (c), for the full stop at the end, a colon shall be substituted and thereafter the following proviso shall be added, namely:
• “Provided that nothing in this clause shall apply to the offence of Qatl-i-Amd if committed in the name on the pretext of honor and the same shall fall within the ambit of clause (a) or clause (b), as the case may be.”
4. Amendment of section 305, Act XLV of 1860. —In the Penal
Code, in section 305, in clause (a), after
• the word “law” the words “but shall not include the accused or the convict in case of Qatl-i-Amd if
• Committed in the name or on the pretext of honour ” shall be added.
5. Amendment of section 308, Act XLV of 1860.
In the Penal Code, in section 308, —
• (a) in subsection (1), for the words “fourteen years” occurring twice the words “twenty-five years” shall
• be substituted; and
[311 Not Compoundable by heirs] [Rigorous Imprisonment] [Qandeel Baloch case 305 and 311]
• 6. Amendment of section 310, Act XLV of 1860. –In the Penal Code, in section 310, in subsection (1), for the proviso the following shall be substituted, namely: —
• “Provided that a female shall not be given in marriage or otherwise in Badal-i-Sulh. “
• 7. Insertion of new section, Act XLV of 1860. —In the Penal Code, after section 310, the following new section shall be inserted, namely: —
• “310A. Punishment for giving a female in marriage or otherwise in Badal-i-Sulh. Whoever gives a female in marriage or otherwise in Badal-i-Sulh shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment which may extend to ten years but shall not be less than three years.”
Protection of women (Criminal Laws Amendments) Act, 2006
• Whereas is necessary to provide relief and protection to women against misuse and abuse of law and to prevent their exploitation
• And whereas article 25 of the constitution guarantees there shall be no discrimination on the bases of sex alone and that state shall make provisions for the protection of women
• “365-B PPC. Kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel for marriage etc.– Whoever kidnaps or abducts any woman with intent that she may be compelled, or knowing it to be likely that she will be compelled, to marry any person against her will, or in order that she may be forced, or seduced to illicit intercourse, or knowing it to be likely that she will be forced or seduced to illicit intercourse, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine; and whoever by means of criminal intimidation as defined in this Code or of abuse of authority or any other method of compulsion, induces any woman to go from any place with intent that she may be, or knowing that it is likely that she will be, forced or seduced to illicit intercourse with another person shall also be punishable as aforesaid
• Insertion of new sections, Act XLV of 1860.–In the said Code, after section 371, the following new sections shall be inserted, namely:–”371A. Selling person for purposes of prostitution, etc.– Whoever sells, lets to hire, or otherwise disposes of any person with intent that such person shall at any .time be employed or used for the purpose of prostitution or illicit intercourse with any person or for any unlawful and immoral purpose, or knowing it to be likely that such person will at any time be employed or used for any such purpose, shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to twenty five years, and shall also be liable to fine.
• 371-B. Buying person for purposes of prostitution, etc.–-Whoever buys, hires or otherwise obtains possession of any person with
intent that such person shall at any time be employed or used for the purpose of prostitution or illicit intercourse with any person or for any unlawful and immoral purpose, or knowing it to be likely that such person will at any time be employed or used for any such purpose, shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to twenty-five years, and shall also be liable to fine.
• “375. Rape. –A man is said to commit rape who has sexual intercourse with a woman under circumstances falling under any of, the five following descriptions, –
(i) Against her will;
(ii) Without her consent;
(iii) With her consent, when the consent has been obtained by putting her in fear of death or of hurt;
(iv) with her consent, when the man knows that he is not married to her and that the consent is given because she believes that the man is another person to whom she is or believes herself to be married; or
(v) With or without her consent when she is under sixteen years of age.
• 376. Punishment for, rape. –-
• (1) Whoever commits rape shall be punished with death or imprisonment of either description for a term which shall ‘not be less than ten years or more than twenty-five years and shall also be liable to fine.
• (2) When rape is committed by two or more persons in furtherance of common intention of all, each of such persons shall be punished with death or imprisonment for life.”
• Insertion of new section, Act XLV of 1860. –In the said Code, in
Chapter XX, the following new section shall be inserted, namely: –
• “493A. Cohabitation caused by a man deceitfully inducing a belief of lawful marriage. –Every man who deceitfully causes any woman who is not lawfully married to him to believe that she is lawfully married to him and to cohabit with him in that belief, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to twenty-five years and shall also be liable to fine.”
Criminal Laws (amendment) Act, 2009 On Sexual
• Amendment of section 509. XLV of 1860. – In the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860 (Act XLV of 1860), for section 509, the following shall be substituted namely: –
• “509 Insulting modesty or causing sexual harassment – (1)
• (i) Intending to insult the modesty of any woman, utters any word, makes any sound or gesture, or exhibits any object, intending that such word or sound shall be heard, or that such gesture or object shall be seen, by such woman, or intrudes upon the privacy of such woman;
• (ii) conducts sexual advances, or demands sexual favors or uses written or verbal communication or physical conduct of a sexual nature which intends to annoy, insult, intimidate or threaten the other person or commits such acts at the premises of work place, or makes submission to such conduct either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment, or makes submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual a basis for employment decision affecting such individual, or retaliates because of rejection of such behavior, or conducts such behavior with the intention of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment, shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years or fine up to five hundred thousand rupees or with both.
• Such behavior might occur in public place, including, but not limited to, markets, public transport, streets or parks, or it might occur in private places including, but not limited to work places, private gatherings, or homes.
• Workplace means, the place of work or the premises where an organization or employer operates, this may be a specific building, factory, open area or a larger geographical area where the activities of the organization are carried out. Sexual advances may occur after working hours and outside workplace. It is the access that a perpetrator has to the person being harassed by virtue of a job situation or job-related functions and activities.”
Protection against harassment of women at the workplace Act 2010
• The Code provides a guideline for behavior of all employees, including management, and the owners of an organization to ensure a work environment free of harassment and intimidation;
• (ii) “Harassment” means any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors or other verbal or written communication or physical conduct of a sexual nature, or sexually demeaning attitudes, causing interference with work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment, or the attempt to punish the complainant for refusal to comply to such a request or is made a condition for employment; The above is unacceptable behavior in the organization and at the workplace, including in any interaction or situation that is linked to official work or official activity outside the office.
• The Code provides a guideline for behavior of all employees, including management, and the owners of an organization to ensure a work environment free of harassment and intimidation;
• An informal approach to resolve a complaint of harassment may be through mediation between the parties involved and by providing advice and counseling on a strictly confidential basis;
• A complainant or a staff member designated by the complainant for the purpose may report an incident of harassment informally to her supervisor, or a member of the Inquiry Committee, in which case the supervisor or the Committee member may address the issue at her discretion in the spirit of this Code. The request may be made orally or in writing;
• The Ombudsman shall for the purpose of this Act have the same powers as are vested in a Civil Court under the Code of Civil Procedures, 1908 (Act V of 1908), in respect of the following matters, namely:
i. Summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath;
ii. Compelling the production of evidence;
iii. Receiving evidence on affidavits;
iv. Issuing commission for the examination of witnesses
v. entering any premises for the purpose of making any inspection or investigation, enter any premises where the Ombudsman has a
reason to believe that any information relevant to the case may be found; and
vi. The Ombudsman shall have the same powers as the High Court has to punish any person for its contempt.
(2) Ombudsman shall while making the decision on the complaint may impose any of the minor or major penalties specified in sub- section (4) of section 4.
Prevention Of anti-Women Practices (criminal Law amendment) Act 2011
• Substitution of section 310-A, Act XLV of 1860.
In the Pakistan Penal Code
• (Act XLV of 1860), in Chapter XV, for section 310A the following shall be substituted,
• namely: –
• “310-A. Punishment for giving a female in marriage or otherwise in badla-e-sulh,
• wanni or sawara.- Whoever gives a female in marriage or otherwise compels her
• to enter into marriage, as badal-e-sulh, wanni, or sawaraor any other custom or
• practice under any name, in consideration of settling a civil dispute or a criminal
• liability shall be punished with imprisonment of description for a term which may
• Be no less than three years and shall also be liable to fine of 500,000 Rupees.”
Chapter XXA Offences against Women
• 498A. Prohibition of depriving woman from inheriting property.
–Whoever by deceitfully or by illegal means deprives any woman from inheriting any movable or immovable property at the time of opening of succession shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may not be less than seven years and a fine in amount of 1,000,000 Rupees.
• 498B. Prohibition of forced marriages.
–Whoever coerces or in any manner whatsoever compels a woman to enter into marriage shall be punished with imprisonment of description for a term, which may not be less than three years and shall also be liable to fine of 500,000 Rupees.
• 498C. Prohibition of marriage with the Holy Quran. – (1) Whoever compels or arranges or facilitates the marriage of a woman with the Holy Quran shall be punished with imprisonment of description which may not be less than three years and shall also be liable to fine of 500,000 Rupees.
• (2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), oath by a woman on Holy Quran to remain un-married for the rest of her life or, not to claim her share of inheritance shall be deemed marriage with the Holy Quran.
498D. Dissolution of marriage in absence of husband undergoing procedure of lian
“Notwithstanding anything in section 14 of the Offences of Qazf (Enforcement of
• Hadd) Ordinance, 1979 (VIII of 1979), and in addition to the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939 (VIII of 1939), where a husband having knowledge of a complaint or report of his wife to the court of qazf fails to undergo the procedure of lian specified in the aforesaid section by his absence or otherwise, it shall be a valid ground for the wife to seek dissolution of her marriage through the competent Court and the husband shall also be punished for qazf”
The Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention Act,
• Acid throwing attacks are extremely violent crimes by which the perpetrators of the crime seek to inflict severe physical and mental suffering on their victims. This form of violence is often inflicted on women. The most common reasons for such attacks are domestic violence, refusal of marriage proposal, denial of sexual advance etc. The acid is usually thrown at the victim’s face with the intent of disfiguring the woman in revenge for her refusing the advances of the perpetrator. Racial and cultural reasons include failure of a girl to bring dowry, political rivalries, and land disputes. Such attacks may also take place during robbery. Acid attacks are premeditated because the perpetrator first obtains the acid, carries it with him/her and stalks the victim before executing the act.
• The main cause is the absence of proper legislation on acid crimes. Moreover, there is no law to regulate the manufacturing and supply of acids and therefore anyone has easy access to them.
• The Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention Act, 2011 (Criminal Law Second Amendment Act, 2011) made amendments in Pakistan Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code to punish perpetrators of acid crimes by clearly including acid crimes in the
definition of hurt. The definition now includes “hurt by dangerous means or substance, including any corrosive substance or acid to be crimes”.
• Through an amendment in Section 336-B of Pakistan Penal code, Punishment of offenders under this Act can extend up to life imprisonment.
• The Act makes it mandatory for the offender to pay a fine which may not be less than five hundred thousand rupees (500,000)
• There is also a punishment for unauthorized sellers. This is:
• On first conviction, an imprisonment of one year or a fine of a hundred thousand (100,000) rupees or both.
• On second and subsequent conviction, an imprisonment of two years or a fine of two hundred thousand or both
Women in Distress and Detention Fund Act 2010
• The Act and Purpose of the Fund: Women in Distress and Detention Fund Act was passed by the Parliament of Pakistan in 1996. Its rules were framed in 1999 and in 2011, the Act was amended to make it operation under the Ministry of Human Rights. The Fund established under WDDF Act provides financial and legal assistance to women in distress and detention. This fund allows up to Rs.10,000 for legal aid, bail and other support to the following categories of deserving women:
Criminal Law (Amendment) (Offense of Rape) Act 2016
1. Sections 376, 376A, 53A, 154, 161A, 164A and 164B have been added/amended through this Act.
Rape, gang rape, rape of minors and/or persons with disabilities is punishable with imprisonment for life and fine.
2. Anyone who obstructs the work of a police officer or Government official will be punished with imprisonment of 1 year (instead of 3 months in the earlier provision).
3. Government officials who take advantage of their official position and commit rape (e.g. custodial rape) are liable to imprisonment for life and fine.
4. Whoever prints or publishes the name or any matter which may publicize the identity of an alleged victim of rape, gang rape, or outraging modesty of a woman, shall be punished with a maximum of 3 years imprisonment and fine.
5. For the purpose of gathering evidence of rape or gang rape, it is lawful for a registered medical practitioner employed in a Government hospital to examine the accused and collect necessary evidence, including DNA evidence.
6. Recording of statement of the female survivor of rape or sexual harassment shall be done by an Investigating Officer, in the presence of a female police officer, or a female family member of the survivor.
7. Survivors of rape shall be provided legal aid (if needed) by the Provincial Bar Council.
8. Medical examination of the survivor of rape shall be conducted after obtaining consent from the survivor, by a registered medical practitioner as soon as possible after the alleged crime takes place.
9. A trial for rape shall conclude within three months, failing which
the matter shall be brought to the notice of the Chief Justice of the High Court for appropriate directions.
10. All trials under the Act will be conducted in camera, i.e. privately, and will not be made public.
11. Public servants (e.g. police) who fail to carry out investigation properly will be punished with imprisonment of 3 years or fine or both.
Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016
• In 2016, the National Assembly enacted the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (“PECA”) to provide a comprehensive legal framework to define various kinds of electronic crimes, mechanisms for investigation, prosecution and adjudication in relation to electronic crimes.
• Section 21 provides that use of electronic means that may result in reputational damage or breach of privacy shall be punishable with imprisonment of up to 7 years or with which may extend up to 5 million rupees or both.
Under Section 22, punishment of up to seven years or fine up to 5 million rupees or both has been prescribed for the offence of producing, distributing or transmitting pornographic material showing underage girls engaged in sexually explicit conduct
Punjab Protection of Women against Violence Act, 2016
• The Punjab Protection of Women against Violence Act aims to protect women from domestic, sexual, psychological and economic abuse, stalking and cybercrimes, perpetrated by their husband(s), sibling(s), adopted children, relatives and domestic employers.
• Victims of domestic violence can approach a Court themselves, or through the Women Protection Officers, to obtain
• 1) Interim
• 2) Protection
• 3) Residence
• 4) Monetary Orders
• To prevent further violence, retain the right to reside in the marital home, and obtain maintenance from the accused. The period of validity of an Order will be defined by the Court.
• Interim Orders can be passed by the Court at any stage of
proceedings under this Act. Terms of an Interim Order can include protection; right of residence and monetary benefits for the victim, while trial is pending or ongoing.
• Protection Orders order the accused not to have any communication and stay a specific distance away from the victim, surrender any firearms, and refrain from attempting to cause harm to her.
• Residence Orders can be passed by the Court to ensure that the accused or members of his family do not evict the victim from her marital home. If the victim wishes, she can be relocated to the dar-ul-aman or other location of her preference, if she fears violence from the accused person or his family
• Monetary Orders direct the accused person to pay monetary relief to the victim to meet expenses incurred by her due to, e.g. loss of earning, medical expenses and any other harm suffered. Monetary Orders can also include maintenance for a specified period of time.
• Violation of the terms of any Order mentioned above can result in imprisonment of up to 1 year, or fine ranging from Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 200,000
Punjab Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Act, 2015
• Under the Punjab Marriage Restraint Act, any adult who marries a child, defined as a boy under 18 years and a girl under 16 years of age, can be punished with imprisonment of up to 6 months and a fine of Rs. 50,000. The same punishment will apply to a Nikah Registrar who solemnizes or conducts a marriage between two children, or a marriage of an adult with a child.
• Additionally, parents or guardians of either party will be punished if they facilitate or organize the marriage of a minor (anyone under the age of 18) or a child. Parents and/or guardians will be punished with imprisonment of up to 6 months and fine of Rs.50,000.
• A Complainant who wishes to report a case of child marriage will need to submit a complaint to the Union Council. The Chairman Union Council will then report the case to the Family Court, which will punish the accused person according to the penalties mentioned above.
• The Court can forbid any party from solemnizing, facilitating or organizing a child marriage through an Injunction (a Court Order preventing child marriage). This includes the groom, parents or guardians, nikah Registrars and any other person involved. Violation of an injunction is punishable with imprisonment of up to 3 months and fine of Rs. 1000
Punjab Land Revenue Amendment Act 2015
Punjab Fair Representation of Women Act, 2014
• Punjab Fair Representation of Women Act 2014 amended Statutes for 66 public bodies, to increase representation of women to a minimum of 33% in each body. The Act was monumental and the first of its kind in increasing representation of women on governance positions in the public sector
• There are a number of specific offences which have been defined in terms of violence against women in the Pakistan Penal Code. Key penal provisions are section
• 354 (assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty),
• 354A (assault or use of criminal force to woman and stripping her of her clothes),
• 365B (kidnapping, abduction or inducing woman to compel for marriage),
• 366A (procuration of minor girl for illicit intercourse) and
• 366B (importation of girl from foreign country for illicit intercourse).
• Further all cases of hurt caused by corrosive substance or attempt to cause hurt by means of corrosive substance (acid) must be tried under the Anti-Terrorism Act. While the provision is gender neutral most of these cases involve women victims.
The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2018
• The bill unanimously passed the Pakistani Senate in early March 2018. On 8 May 2018, the National Assembly voted to pass the bill. It was signed into law when acting President Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani gave his assent on 18 May 2018.
• . Recognition of identity of Transgender person.
• . Prohibition against discrimination, (about health, education, employment)
• . Obligations of the government,
• . Right to Inherit.
• . Right to Vote,
• . Right to hold public office.
• . Right to assembly.
• . Right to property.
• Right to employment.
• . Right to access public office
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