Empowering poor women to engage effectively in governance
PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Tuesday passed legislation against forced marriage of women under which the violators would face up to seven years imprisonment and Rs500,000 fine or both.
The bill aimed at the elimination of the tradition of ‘Ghag’ was moved by the Provincial Minister for Social Welfare and Women Development, Sitara Ayaz.
When the mover presented the bill containing a punishment of 14 years imprisonment for the convicted person, Law Minister Arshad Abdullah pointed out the original bill approved by the provincial cabinet contained seven years punishment, but now it had been fixed at 14 years, questioning who had included the hike in the jail term in bill.
The woman minister requested his cabinet colleague not to oppose the amendment and let punishment be fixed at 14 years for the crime. The minister for law replied that they were sincere to the abolition of theGhag custom and wanted protection to women. However, he said that seven years was sufficient punishment and it should not be 14 years as it was against the CrPC.
Israrullah Khan Gandapur also supported him while Musarrat Shafi, an Awami National Party woman MPA said the punishment should not be more than seven years, as it would become repugnant to relevant clauses. The arguments of the legislators persuaded Sitara Ayaz to withdraw the amendment and the bill was given a nod.
Under the law the convicted persons under the Ghag Act would face punishment from three to seven years and cash fine of Rs.0.5 million or both. Such cases will be tried by the sessions court and crime will be non-bailable.
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