Lahore, December 25: The Human Right Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed alarm at the Federal Shariat Court (FSC) decision that seeks reversal of several provisions of the Women’s Protection Act, 2006.
In a statement on Saturday, the Commission said it would issue a detailed comment on the implications of the FSC decision later but was “alarmed that the verdict seeks reversion to provisions of the 1979 Hudood Ordinance which were highly discriminatory to the rights of women. HRCP considers the decision a setback to efforts to ensure equal protection of law for women. HRCP’s serious concern emanates not least from the fact that the FSC decision seeks to undermine the legislative authority of parliament, encroaches upon its power to translate people’s demands into laws, and subverts the functioning and authority of the mainstream judiciary. In a way, the verdict provides a decisive argument for the abolition of Federal Shariat Court.
It is distressing that December 22 will be remembered mainly for the disappointing FSC decision and not for appointment of the country’s first woman ombudsperson to hear complaints of sexual harassment in the workplace.
HRCP urges the government and the civil society to challenge the FSC decision and effectively argue the matter with a view to ensure that women’s rights are not compromised and that rights of all citizens are equal protected. The government must also do everything it can to not only strengthen protection for women in the laws and ensure compliance in practice, but also prevent reversal of pro-woman laws.”
Dr Mehdi Hasan