Pakistani National Assembly Passes Domestic Violence Bill
Wednesday, August 12, 2009 11:44 AM

On August 4, 2009, the Pakistani National Assembly, the lower house of the national parliament, passed a law aimed at protecting women and children from domestic violence in that country.  The bill must be also be passed by the Senate and President to become law.

The bill defines domestic violence as including, but not limited to, “all intentional acts of gender-based or other physical or psychological abuse committed by an accused against women, children or other vulnerable persons, with whom the accused person is or has been in a domestic relationship.”  The bill is not isolated to acts of physical domestic violence, but also includes economic and psychological pressures, “stalking, sexual abuse, verbal abuse and any other repressive behavior.”

The bill also provides an avenue for victims of domestic violence to approach magistrate courts and apply for an order for protection.  The violation of this order is punishable by a year’s imprisonment and a monetary fine.

Pakistani women’s organizations applauded the passage of the bill, which they hope will protect women from the severe discrimination, domestic violence, and honor killings that affect Pakistani women.

Compiled from:  Khurram Shahzad, "Pakistan moves to outlaw domestic violence," AFP (August 4, 2009); Raja Asghar, "NA bill outlaws domestic violence," (August 5, 2009); Irfan Ghauri, "NA passes law against domestic violence," Daily Times (August 5, 2009).