On one hand, people are happy to hear that Punjab government has finally reacted to violence against women after nearly 5,800 cases were recorded of this nature in 2013 and the number would be a lot higher for 2015 if computed, some quarters – especially religious clerics – have called it an open challenge to Sharia law and the constitution of the country.
Punjab government has started a toll-free abuse reporting hotline and it has established shelters to help women in case of domestic, psychological or sexual violence. Despite the good intention of the bill, various religious leaders have gone on record to oppose the bill. However, one leading cleric has supported the bill.
The chairman of Jamat-e-Islami ( JI ) has recently called the bill ‘against the constitution and Sharia law’ and asked for a ‘new bill’. On the other hand, JUI-F chairman Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman told the media that the bill will result in ‘increased divorce rates’.
When it comes to women’s rights in Pakistan, no one can forget the contribution that Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy has made over the past decade or so. She has been awarded Oscar for her work to bring up the women issues including domestic violence. Before you leave your opinion whether clerics are justified when opposing the Women Protection Bill or not, you might want to watch this Oscar-winning documentary from Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy on Vidpk.