KARACHI: Zia Ahmed Awan, the noted human rights attorney of Pakistan and head of Madadgar National Helpline, Lawyers for Human Rights & Legal Aid (LHRLA) has said here that there are slim chances of proper implementation of laws, sans active involvement of civil society and community.
Talking about a proposed ordinance to restrain children from evicting their aging parents from their houses, he said this is an important issue; however, ordinances are short-lived till they are made Acts of parliament.
He said if the federal government has decided to bring this ordinance, its jurisdiction would be limited to Islamabad only, because after the 18th amendment all these subjects rest with the provincial governments.
However, he regretted, the provincial assemblies as yet have to play their due role in proper lawmaking on these subjects.
Zia Ahmed Awan said that however, this is not the first attempt to secure the rights of parents. He said since 2013 and even before that, some anti-domestic violence laws have been enacted in three provinces, Punjab, Sindh and Baluchistan.
He said in KP, such law-making was not seen because in that province a religious party, Jamaat e Islami, was in government and it did not showed much interest in such lawmaking.
Zia Awan said anti-domestic violence laws are present, but they are not being properly implemented. He said after the FATF issue in Pakistan, majority of NGOs have been closed down and civil society is not playing its active role due to so many hurdles.
He said many international organizations have left Pakistan. He said previously, civil society and community used to work for checking domestic violence but now the federal government has ended their important role. He said they may enact whatever laws but without implementation they would be hardly effective.
Informing about the one-year project he did with UN Women, Zia Ahmed Awan stated under the said project he had to train judges, lawyers, prosecutors, protection officers and others on some 20 laws about gender-based violence and violence against women in five cities, Karachi, Quetta, Dadu, Khairpur and Rawalpindi.
Zia told that he trained about 1020 judges, lawyers, prosecutors, protection officers, and officials of offices of ombudsmen.
He said through these trainings it was learnt that from 2006 to 2019 some 20 laws about anti-domestic violence and violence against women were enacted but hardly five percent of judges, lawyers and prosecutors had studied them. He said laws are made but not properly implemented.
He said we need a session of Parliament on implementation of laws; a session of a week of provincial assemblies to discuss the issues of implementation of laws about domestic violence and laws on violence against women and children.
Zia Awan advised parliamentarians to focus on lawmaking on these issues and their proper implementation. He said proper Acts should be preferred to ordinances, and different committee of parliament should hold sessions with community and civil society on these important issues to raise awareness of public about these laws, so that these laws could be implemented in letter and spirit.
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