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Women MPAs decry delay in legislation on child marriage, domestic violence

Women MPAs decry delay in legislation on child marriage, domestic violence

PESHAWAR: Protesting the growing incidents of sexual abuse, murder and underage marriage of children, women members of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly from the treasury and opposition benches flayed the provincial government for what they called delaying legislation to punish child marriages and domestic violence against women.

During a session chaired by Speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani, they condemned the marriage of a 12-year-old girl with disability with a teenager and her death due to the alleged torture by in-laws in Samer Bagh area of Lower Dir district.

The women MPAs said an 11-year-old girl was married in Torghar district, while a teenage girl was raped in Charsadda district.

Nighat Yasmin Orakzai of the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party and Maliha Ali Asghar Khan and Sumaira Shams of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf raised the incidents of early marriages, death of minor girl and rape case in the assembly.

Speaker seeks police report on ‘killing’ of Dir child bride, Torghar early marriage, rape of Charsadda girl


Speaking on a point of order, Ms Orakzai said an underage girl with disability was married to a 13-year-old boy in Samer Bagh area and she was allegedly tortured to death 13 days later.

She said marks of violence were found on the girl’s body.

The lawmaker said the rape of a minor girl by three people had also been reported in Charsadda district.

Speaking on the same point of order, Maliha Asghar said a 11-year-old girl was subjected to forced marriage in Torghar district.

She complained that the provincial assembly hadn’t made laws to check early marriages and domestic violence against women.

“KP has yet to legislate about early marriages and domestic violence though Punjab and Sindh have already passed laws to stop domestic violence against women,” she said.

Ms Sumera demanded ‘aggressive’ legislation to check early marriages and violence against women and urged the government to direct the police to produce report about those incidents and ensure punishment of culprits.

Law minister Sultan Mohammad Khan informed the house that a proposed law regarding domestic violence against women had been referred to the house’s Select Committee, while the Child Marriage Restraint Bill would be presented before the cabinet in next meeting.

Speaker Ghani directed the police to submit report about three incidents to the assembly’s secretariat by 11am on Tuesday.

Also, the lawmakers began debate on an adjournment motion tabled by Ahmad Kundi of the PPP regarding Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s failure to utilise its water share granted under the 1991 Water Accord.

Mr Kundi said the province was unable to utilise its three million cubic feet water annually due to the non-existence of infrastructure and that the two other provinces had been using the unutilised water without payment for the last 30 years.

He said the cost of one million cubic feet water was Rs2 billion.

“KP can utilise its share with the construction of the Chashma Right Bank Canal,” he said.

The opposition lawmaker claimed that the vital project had been removed from the federal Public Sector Development Programme.

He said the former military ruler, retired General Pervez Musharraf, had included the Chashma Right Bank Canal from KP, Rani Canal from Sindh, Greater Thall Canal from Punjab and Kachi Canal from Balochistan in the PSDP in 2000.

Mr Kundi said the Chashma Right Canal had been put on the back-burner though the other three canals had been built.

He said over 300,000 acres of land could be irrigated if the Chashma Right Bank Canal was built and that could make the province self-sufficient in food.

The MPA said instead of building such vital scheme, the provincial government went for the Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit project, which had no utility.

He asked the government to claim the rights of KP and convene a meeting of the Council of Common Interest for the purpose.

Mr Kundi asked the speaker to constitute a committee on the issue.

Other members of the opposition supported the adjournment motion.

The house also passed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Control of Narcotics Substances (Second Amendment) Act, 2020. The session was adjourned until 3pm on Tuesday.

Published in Dawn, July 14th, 2020