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Pakistan Democracy Review: Pro-women legislation by the PPP government

Benazir Bhutto's vision for gender equality and women's empowerment is being implemented by the PPP government.

Here is a list of pro-women legislation enacted by the present PPP Government which is implementing the vision of Benazir Bhutto Shaheed under the leadership of President and Co-Chairman Asif Zardari.

1. The National Commission on the Status of Women, 2012
2. The Women in Distress and Detention Fund (Amendment) Act, 2011
3. The Protection Against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act, 2010
4. The Prevention of Anti-Women Practices (Criminal Law Amendment) Act 2011
5. Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Bill 2009
6. The National Commission of Human Rights Act, 2012
7. ‘The Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention Bill 2010

The above list was compiled by Mr. Munawar Ali Rind.

We congratulate Pakistani women as well as our elected representatives on this legislations. However, mere legislation to protect women rights is not enough. The government and its various institutions must also ensure effective implementation of these pro-women laws.

The above list is in addition to several other government policies which have directly or indirectly helped women, e.g., Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), Benazir Women Support Programme (BWSP) (by the Sindh Government), Waseela-e-Haq Scheme, Benazir Basti Scheme, Land Allotment to the Farmers (an area of 56,186 acres land has been distributed among the 6,100 women allottees under PPP government’s programme of distribution of free of cost land to the farmers.)

Here is an overview by UN Women (a United National entity for gender equality and empowerment of women) on progress on pro-women legislation in Pakistan.

Pro-women laws take hold in Pakistan
Women in Pakistan have faced formidable challenges in their efforts to achieve gender equality and address gender-based violence in their country, with particular problems posed by elements among customary norms and practices.

Yet throughout the past few years, breakthroughs in pro-women legislation have shown that both the efforts of Pakistan’s government, and the advocacy of groups working toward women’s empowerment in the country, are taking effect.

On International Women’s Day, 8 March, the President of Pakistan signed the National Commission on the Status of Women Bill 2012 into law, which has afforded the Commission new financial and administrative autonomy, and therefore better scope to investigate women’s rights violations.

A year earlier the Prevention of Anti Women Practices Bill became part of national law, explicitly recognizing practices from acid violence and forced marriage to so-called ‘honour killings’ as criminal acts, and affording protection and legal action for victims.

Women are also now better protected from sexual harassment in the workplace and from domestic violence, since Acts on these issues were passed in 2010 and 2011 respectively.

And to be sure that the laws on sexual harrassment are built structurally into the system, a code of conduct is being monitored by a watch committee formed by the National Commission on the Status of Women in 2010, which is made up of representatives from the government, civil society and UN Women.

The Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention (Amendment) Bill was passed in the Senate on December 2011, and for the first time gives guidance on how the State should punish offenders and support victims of this violent gender-based crime.

Related :Pakistan Democracy Review 2009 -by Humza Ikram

Pakistan Democracy Review 2010

Did PPP implement its vision of Roti, Kapra, Makan? – by Raja Asad Abbas

Benazir Employees Stock Option Scheme – by Saad Hassan

Stellar yet sadly affronted accomplishments of PPP Government – by Dr. Zaeem Zia

Some Unforgiven Crimes of Asif Ali Zardari -by Raja M Asad Abbas

‘Gift of Life’: An important step for the lives of millions of Pakistanis – by Hafsa Khawaja

Why the PPP government is good for Pakistan – by Fauzia Wahab

Benazir Model Village – Sinawan – Splendid execution

About the author

Abdul Nishapuri


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  • Well done, PPP. Thank you.

    This is the single major reason that Pakistani women always vote for the PPP and will keep voting for despite whatever all Mullahs (Sunni, Shia, Salafi) say.

  • On Dec 23, 2011, the Senate passed the Prevention of Anti-Women Practices (Criminal Law Amendment) Bill, three years after it was tabled in the Assembly by PML-Q parliamentarian Donya Aziz. It lists three particular offences against women making it unlawful to: deprive a woman of her rightful inheritance through “deceitful or illegal means”; force a woman into marriage to settle a civil or criminal dispute; and “compel or arrange or facilitate” a woman’s ‘marriage’ to the Quran punishable by imprisonment for three to seven years and a Rs500,000 fine.

    Implementation will prove challenging because it is aimed at checking the traditional practice of swara and vani prevalent in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Whether this will allow for official monitoring of jirga decisions, and legally prosecute wealthy landowning politician-types for marrying their young daughters and sisters to the Quran, a practice prevalent in Sindh, remains to be seen. This bill make the offences non-compoundable: an accused person cannot be pardoned legally even if a compromise takes place between both two parties.

    Protecting women against violent practices made unlawful through legislation especially where such actions are seen as part of the traditional fabric may mean a lower rate of conviction. Proponents say the value and impact of these laws decrease when not implemented properly. But these bills simply don’t pay lip service to the increasing demand for justice and regardless of whether or not implementation is successful, their existence alone is indicative of positive social progress.

    Although awareness is rising at all levels — at the state level the Senate has just approved the bill to set up a national commission for women — there is need to evolve mind-sets so that society accepts that prohibited practices are intolerable.

    The impact of legislation will only change the social fabric when women are empowered through basic education, and education on rights, so they can enforce their own legal righ


  • PPP has always been a party that supported oppressed sections of Pakistani society. Women, liberals (the real ones, mind you!), minorities, certain ethnic groups, you name it!

  • In society like Pakistan where people avoid registering FIR against theft and other crimes more than 1000 sexual harassment cases have been addressed by the inquiry committees formed by organisations across the country in just few months time is by no means a small achievement .

  • This is why the people of Pakistan loves PPP vote PPP and support PPP Long live PPP and Long Live Pakistan Long Live Asif Ali Zardari

  • Well Done. Still our Party has to taken many other bold decisions to come in power again for the next tenure including energy crisis and price controlling by provincial governments and law and order situation