PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Friday passed the first-ever bill to curb the menace of domestic violence against women.
The bill was presented by KP Minister for Social Welfare Dr Hisham Inamullah Khan. Under this bill, the violator will be liable to imprisonment for a period not less than one year and up to a maximum of five years. The violator will also be slapped with a fine provided for the said offence in the Pakistan Penal Code. Hisham Inamullah Khan said the violation of court order will result in one-year imprisonment and Rs300,000 fine.
According to the bill, the definition of domestic violence is: The violence committed by the complainee (accused) against the complaint (victim) with whom the complainee is in a domestic relationship.
The plea against domestic violence would be filed in the court within 15 days and the courts would be bound to announce the verdict within 60 days.
The provincial government will form protection committees at each district to ensure the protection of women against domestic violence. The committees will be bound to provide all reasonable assistance to the victim of domestic violence. The committees are also bound to hold a meeting at least once a month.
Before the passage of the bill, KP was the only province without a law against domestic violence. The other three provinces had legislated in this respect years ago.
After approval of the bill, the district protection committees will be formed with deputy commissioner of the concerned district as chairperson, executive district health officer, district social welfare officer, district public prosecutor, district police officer, four persons of civil society, residing in the district and chairperson of the district committee on status of women district concerned as members.
For seeking assistance, the victim or her guardian will file an application to the committee, which is bound to provide reasonable assistance to the victim.
The passage of the bill was a long standing demand of the people of KP, particularly the women rights activists. Now this bill will prove a deterrent against such violence although a lot of work is still to be done for its implementation.