Discriminatory Laws against Women

Introduction

The women in Pakistan has been severely disadvantaged and discriminated against. They have been denied the enjoyment of a whole range of economic, social and civil rights and often deprivation in one of these areas has entailed discrimination in another. Women have denied social right like education, more easily abused in the family and community and are more likely to be deprived of the right to legal redress.

Women in Pakistan don’t enjoy or benefit from the fundamental right recognized in the constitution of Pakistan nor the provision of Muslim personal law.

The provision of labor and service laws discriminates against women. The inquiry of the commission for women clearly states that this legislation must be repealed as it discriminates against women and is in conflict with their fundamental right.

Review of Related Literature

  1. Examine law relating to women with a view to identify those which are discriminatory.

Qanun_e_ shahadat 1984

  1. Competence and number of witness          Article 17

“Competence of person to testify and number of witness required in any case shall be determined in accordance with the injunctions of Islam as laid down in the Holy Quran and Sunnah”.

  1. Impeaching credit of witness                     Article 151(4)

The credit of witness may be impeaching by in the following ways by the adverse party or with the consent of the court, by the party who calls him.

a) By the evidence of persons who testify that they, from their knowledge of the witness, believe him to be unworthy of credit.

b) By proof that the witness has been bribed or has accepted the offer of a bribe.

c) When a man in prosecuted for rape it may be shown that prosecutor was of generally immoral character.

Criminal law

Criminal law amendment Act 1997 better know as case of sexual harassment and unnatural offence. The entire law revolves around a patriarchal structure. It is also against women.

PPC 1860

1.  Sexual harassment (Section 509)

“Whoever, intending to insult the modesty of any women utters, any word, any sound or gesture, or exhibit any object intending that, such word or sound shall be hear, or that, such gesture or object shall be seen, by such women shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine, or with both.”

2. Unnatural offence (Section 377)

“Whoever voluntary has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, women, or animal shall be punished with imprisonment for life or imprisonment

Of either description for term which shall not be less than two year nor more than ten year and shall also be liable to fine.”

The sections given below also discriminates women.

  • Hudood Ordinance, 1979.
  • The Zina ordinance (section 2(a))
  • Short title, extent and commencement

This Ordinance may be called the Offence of Zina (Enforcement of Hudood) Ordinance, 1979. It extends to the whole of Pakistan. It shall come into force on the twelfth day of Rabi-ul-Awwal, 1399 Hijri, that is, the tenth day of February, 1979.

Definitions
In this Ordinance, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject of context:

a) “adult” means a person who has attained, being a male, the age of eighteen years or, being a female, the age of sixteen years, or has attained puberty;

b) “hadd” means punishment ordained by the Holy Quran or Sunnah;

c) “Marriage” means marriage which is not void according to the personal law or the parties, and “married” shall be construed accordingly;

d) Muhsan” means

(i) a Muslim adult man who is not insane and has had sexual intercourse with a Muslim adult woman who, at the time he had sexual intercourse with her, was married to him and was not insane; or

(ii) a Muslim adult woman who is not insane and has had sexual intercourse with a Muslim adult man who, at the time she had sexual intercourse with him, was married to her and was not insane

(e)”tazir” means any punishment other than “hadd”, and all other terms and expressions not defined in this Ordinance shall have the same meaning as the Pakistan Penal Code, or the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898.

Zina
A man and a woman are said to commit ‘Zina’ if they willfully have sexual intercourse without being validly married to each other.

Explanation: Penetration is sufficient to constitute the sexual intercourse necessary to the offence of Zina.

Proof of zina or zina-bil-jabr liable to hadd. Section 8(b)

Proof of zina-bil-jabr liable to hadd shall be in one of the following forms, namely:-

a) the accused makes before a Court of competent jurisdiction a confession of the commission of the offence; or

b) at least four Muslim adult male witnesses, about whom the Court is satisfied, having regard to the requirements of tazkiyah al-shuhood, that they are truthful persons and abstain from major sins (kabair), give evidence as eye-witnesses of the act of penetration necessary to the offence:

c) Provided that, if the accused is a non-Muslim, the eye-witnesses may be non-Muslims.

Zina or zina-bil-jabr liable to tazir.

I. Subject to the provisions of section 7, whoever commits zina or zina-bil-jabr which is not liable to hadd, or for which proof in either of the forms mentioned in section 8 is not available and the punishment of qazf liable to hadd has not been awarded to the complainant, or for which hadd may not be enforced under this Ordinance, shall be liable to tazir.

II. Whoever commits zina liable to tazir shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which  ten years and with whipping numbering thirty stripes, and shall also be liable to fine.

 III. Whoever commits zina-bil-jabr liable to tazir shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which twenty-five years and shall also be awarded the punishment of whipping numbering thirty stripes.

 IV. When zina-bil-jabr liable to tazir is committed by two or more persons in furtherance of common intention of all each of such persons shall be punished with death.

Labor Law

  1. Workmen’s compensation Act 1923

Distribution of compensation SEC.8 (6)

“Where a compensation deposited with the commissioner is payable to any person, the commissioner shall if the person to whom the compensation is payable is not a women or a person under legal disability, and may in other cases pay the money to the person entitled these to.”

This law does not give all the privileges to women with are given to men.

  1. Factories Act 1934

I. Section 32 is prohibition of employment of women near cotton opener.

II. Section 36 Daily Hours

No adult worker shall be allowed or required to work in a factory for more than nine hours in any day.

Provided that male adult worker in a seasonal factory may work for ten hours any time.

III. Section 27(1) Women prohibited from working or near machinery in motion.

IV. Women must work during specified hours

Section 45(1)(a,b) no women shall be allowed to work in factory except between 6AM and 7 PM.

This section also discriminates women.

  1.  Highlight the effects faced by women due to discriminatory laws.
  2. Suggest measure for the reconciliation of discriminatory law against women

Analysis of Data

Available on demand but not published here.

Statement of Problem

The aim of this study is to identify that discriminatory laws against women their effect on the status of women in Pakistan. The study will also suggest measure for the reconciliation of these discriminatory laws.

 Objective of study

Objective of the study are as under:

  1. To study of Criminal Laws as given below,

1.1.   PPC 1860

1.2.   The Hudood Ordinance 1979

  1. To study of Labor Law
  2. To study of  Qanun_e_shahadat 1984

Significance of the study

The study in hand will be helpful for better understanding of discriminatory laws against women in Pakistan and their effect on women. It will also be helpful to start campaigns for repeal of discriminatory laws against women in Pakistan.

Methodology

A semi structured interview schedule consisting of fourteen questions on different aspects of H O was developed for present study. Interview was conducted personally depending upon the availability of the respondents.

Population

Expert from three areas Law, Education and Human Right activists inPakistan.

Sample Size                                      

Sample size consists of thirty experts from Law, Education and Human Right activists, ten from each field in the city of Lahore.

Sampling Technique

Convenient sampling technique was being used.

Study Instrument

A semi-structured interview developed for respondent samples.

Limitation of the study

Due to shortage of time and lack of resources it was not possible to contact individuals are suffering from discriminatory laws on case to case basis, therefore only experts opinion is asserted curtailing the validity of the research study.

Conclusion

“Our whole system needs to be changed. What can be expected from a nation that has no conscience, no morals left? We lack the ability to seek the truth and show goodwill to others. We have not progressed even one step since independence. What we need is a welfare system like Britain’s or Canada’s. All the industrialists have rummaged this country on one pretext or the other. Nobody has done anything for the nation. First of all, we must do away with the Hudood ordinance which is very discriminatory against women. As far as the Shariat Bill is concerned, it should not be implemented under any circumstances. The women of this country is already being exploited and facing much discrimination.”

“The laws of our country are very discriminatory against women. There is so much of domestic violence that it is unbelievable. Every year we receive over 400 such cases. This is not to be confused with the hundreds of calls for help we get from women. Every woman is not brave enough to take the matter to the court and complain against her husband or parents. Most of the times they are economically dependent on them and cannot come forward.”

The fact that, culturally, women are seen as possessions of their husbands sanctions different forms of partner-abuse – verbal, emotional and physical. It relegates wife-battering to the private sphere, discouraging the wife both from seeking help and outside intervention. Specific forms of domestic abuse include Karo-Kari, Watta Satta marriages, stove burning, and disfigurement through acid throwing. In certain parts of the interior, the practice of marrying women to the Holy Quran is still prevalent.

Recommendation

The governments should have adopted measures to improve the status of women;

  • Women do not face discrimination at any level- whether at home at work. Women by providing them equal opportunity in a viable
  • Efforts will therefore be aimed at: ensuring that prevalent negative attitudes, customary practices and harmful traditions that constrain women are changed, through committed efforts at every level; ensuring that all discriminatory laws are reviewed and subsequently repealed; ensuring that all forms of violence against women is eliminated.
  • The policy will be guided by: Principles of equality as per Islamic/ Quranic injunctions and as enshrined in the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan in particular, Articles 25 and 34; the strategic objectives and actions listed in the National Plan of Action.
  • Repeal of all national penal provisions which constitute discrimination against women.
  • Embodying the principle of the equality of men and women in national constitutions or other appropriate legislation if not yet incorporated therein and to ensure, through law and other appropriate means, the practical realization of this principle;
  • Taking all appropriate measures, including legislation, to modify or abolish existing laws, regulations, customs and practices which constitute discrimination against women;
  • Taking all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women by any person, organization or enterprise;

References

  1. M.K.Chohan | “Islamic Hudood Laws inPakistan”, Khyber Law Publishers Lahore, 1997
  2. Barrister Hassan Farukh |  Al Imran is currently studying LLM in International Law, UK.
  3. Jahangir and Jilani, | The Hudood Ordinances, pp. 134-136.
    1. Sadaf Zahra, | Manual of Hudood Laws in Pakistan, Kausar Brothers, Law Publishers, Lahore 1998

 

Questionnaire

Name……………………….            Age……………………………

Occupation …………………….             Address……………………….

  • Question was asked that are the law is discriminatory?
  • Nature of Discriminatory law is Islamic or UnIslamic?
  • What is the effect of discriminatory law on the status of women?
  • Courts decisions biased towards women due to discriminatory?
  • Discriminatory laws Repealed or Amended:
  • Appointment of Female Judges:
  • Crimes Increase:

by

 

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