Men Protection Act
Before discussing the need of the hour, let me open up my words with one of the not so essential (neglected) part of our ‘so called’ Islamic society, “women”. If she won a prize, she is daughter, sister, mother – if she is raped, her character was loose, her clothes were faulty and even further if she was in her home then what she was doing alone and if she was at her job or outside then why she wasn’t home? How hypocritical our society is! The dilemma is, people are only there to share blessings, only a few are there to share pains. Furthermore, women can’t go and file a complaint when they suffer mental or physical torture due to lack of adequate response. They will have to face a society full of demons criticizing them and abusing them, coupled with complete lack of family support.
However, the National Assembly of Pakistan took a very healthy step regarding the same, by introducing the Women Protection Bill 2006. The Bill was an endeavor to amend the seriously criticized Hudood Ordinance laws which govern the punishment for rape and adultery in Pakistan. Critics of the Hudood Ordinance alleged that it made it exceptionally difficult and dangerous to prove an allegation of rape because an aggrieved woman needed four male witnesses to prove rape and if she couldn’t do that she would be liable for punishment under the said offence. But the Bill returned a number of offences from the Zina Ordinance to the Pakistan Penal Code, where they had been before 1979, thus proving to be a significant move towards women protection.
Recently another bill was introduced as the Women Protection Act 2015, the statement of objects and reasons of which states: “The instances of violence against women have been on the increase primarily because the existing legal system does not effectively address the menace and violence by some is perpetrated with impunity. It is, therefore, necessary to institute an effective protection system for the rescue, protection, shelter and rehabilitation of the women victim of violence including domestic violence. The overall objective of the bill is to institute a protection system for prevention of violence against women and for the protection and rehabilitation of the woman victims. The bill encompasses all types of violence against women including domestic violence, emotional, psychological and verbal abuse, economic abuse, stalking and cybercrimes. The bill proposes that on a complaint by an aggrieved person, or authorized agent or district women protection officer, the court may pass an interim order, protection order, residence order and monetary order if it is satisfied that violence has taken place or is likely to take place. The breach of such orders is liable to imprisonment and fine.”
It also makes provision for the establishment of protection systems including appointment of district women protection committee, protection centers (violence against women centers) and shelter homes across Punjab through a phased program to provide relief and protection to the aggrieved women. The violence against women centers aim at providing sundry services under one roof to facilitate women. The provision of shelter homes has also been made for the lodging of women victims of violence and their dependent children.
Politics and seats should not be prioritized above a human life. Critics of the Women Protection Act argued that “the Bill is not only against the very spirit of the Constitution, it is also against the teachings of Shariah, and in such circumstances, we cannot act as mere spectators. The very purpose of this law is to destroy the family system in the country. You can do whatever you like to protect the womenfolk of the country, but going to such a level in the name of formulating a law to women, which negates the very essence of our society, our religion, etc. is not acceptable.” The cleric also warned that any attempt not to amend the law could even pave the way to topple the government and added that all religious political parties want the women not be tortured but should be protected according to teachings of Shariah or Islamic law.
Islam is a liberal religion. It provided protection and respect to women when all religions of the world were ignorant. Islam provides for ijtihad in case divine proponents are unable to deal adequately with certain topics of law, for instance, the Quran provides for the way of proving zina generally, but how is a girl able to bring four men to prove if she is raped in a private place with nobody around. So ijtihad in such a situation, which is not explicitly dealt with in the Quran, can serve the purpose.
Furthermore, if laws are made for the protection of women, our politicians do not want to give it a clear thought, but they can act as spectators when a women is physically, emotionally, mentally and economically tortured or murdered for dowry and for not giving birth to a ‘baby boy’. The Sunnah of our beloved Prophet (S.A.W) highlights that he used to stand for his daughter in respect and was equally respectful and loving towards his wives.
In contrast where does a man stand today? He drinks, he cheats on his wife, hurts her, rapes her, kills her and is involved in immoral activities like gambling, smoking and adultery that often go ignored because he is a male and he can do anything. When men are acting against Quran and Sunnah, all of us are acting merely as spectators without any strong reaction or step against the same? Just one law passed for women and so many men apart from politicians are becoming insecure, criticizing the bill, making me conclude how fanatic the society is. Ironically speaking, this depicts that the need of the hour is a “men protection bill”, to help such men feel supported and relaxed.
According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), an incident of rape occurs every two hours and an innocent victim is gang-raped every four to eight days. This proves that collectively we as a nation fail, after every 2 hours, to protect our women. A woman being a human should be given protection and for this purpose we need to raise above our social norms that give men the authority to do almost everything and dictate women to live an enslaved life.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of CourtingTheLaw.com or any other organization with which she might be associated.