Pakistan: Bill Outlaws “Bartering” Women
Wednesday, December 7, 2011 12:40 PM

The Pakistan National Assembly has passed a bill outlawing Sawra, a practice in which a woman is awarded to a family as a “peace token” in order to settle family feuds. The law criminalizes the practice. It is now punishable by 3 to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 rupees.

In addition to outlawing Sawra, the bill also criminalizes denying a woman her inheritance. Passage of The Prevention of Anti-Women Practices Act is a show of support for the fight against social taboos for women. However, the Act does have limitations. While it outlaws Sawra, it does not create a procedure by which cases of Sawra can be reported and tried.  Such a mechanism will likely be necessary for full implementation.

Compiled from: Pakistan: Finally an End to Bartered Brides?, Radio Free Europe—Radio Liberty (27 November 2011); Khan, Zia, National Assembly Passes Landmark Women’s Rights Bill, The Express Tribune (15 November 2011).