If you are a victim of sexual harassment at workplace, here is how Pakistani law protects you

More than 70% of girls and women have been a victim of sexual harassment at one point in Pakistan.

A non-consensual act is known as sexual harassment; it doesn’t matter if it’s carried on a physical level or emotional and mental level. Even the abusive remarks made in a sexual context, anything that makes the other person feel threatened or uncomfortable, is sexual harassment.
It is a topic that most women in the country feel reluctant to address; however, just recently, many people, including men and women, have come forward with their past experiences of sexual abuse. A few examples of such cases are the allegations against Ali Zafar (a renowned Pakistani singer), the narrative regarding Bill Cosby, and more.
Rendering to the stats provided by the National Commission for Children and Madadgar National Helpline, more than 70% of girls and women have been a victim of sexual harassment at one point in Pakistan.

What do the statistics say?

According to the statistical details, more than 70% of women have been a victim of marital abuse; whereas, approx 93% of women have experienced various forms of sexual harassment in their lives. As mentioned by the Madadgar National Helpline, a large number of children and women (more than 9,000) have requested for security by either visiting or calling the helpline.
This stats clearly reveals the alarming number of people experiencing sexual misconduct. Nevertheless, a little positive thing that we can extract from the given statistics is that a lot of children and women have voiced their concerns regarding this issue and it’s a step forward towards addressing an alarming issue in the country.

What options do you have?

Pakistan Penal Code (1860) provides specific laws for the culprits to be held responsible and sentenced. The punishment for those who plead guilty for sexual harassment is either a significant fine, imprisonment or in severe cases, a death sentence. These laws are not just beneficial for women, but men as well, as they allow us to seek justice.
Under Pakistan Penal Code’s section 509, if a woman is insulted by anyone in regards to her modesty verbally or merely by some gesture, the accused person can be imposed with a hefty fine or imprisonment for three years.
According to Pakistan Penal Code’s section 354A, anyone who does anything vulgar or uncomfortable, including any crude action or singing such songs, shall be punished with a considerable fine or imprisonment for three months.
As stated by Pakistan Penal Code’s section 496C, whoever makes false accusations against a woman shall be imprisoned for five years along with a fine.
Under Pakistan Penal Code’s section 354A, anyone who uses physical power against a woman assaults her, or tries to strip her clothes, maybe punished with life-time imprisonment or a death sentence.
Additionally, Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act (2010) has a number of rules that are quite useful for working women. It is considered as one of the best enactments in Pakistani law. It also includes an inquiry committee for further convenience.


What are your views on this? Share with us in the comments bar below. 

  • Regarding “alleged” offense by Ali Zafar, please know that Misha Shafi has failed to prove her case and has failed to appear in court on numerous occasions. Ali Zafar has proven himself innocent against the false and fake #MeToo inspired allegations by Misha Shafi. Shame on Misha Shafi for making a mockery of genuine harassment issues.

    Further, please shed light on how male victims of harassment and domestic violence at the hands of other men and women (while acting in the roles of bosses, colleagues, wives, etc) can benefit from this law? Do you know that men and boys are far more victimized through domestic violence at homes and have a higher suicide rate from domestic violence, rape and workplace harassment? Does the Pakistani law afford them any protection and should this law not be gender neutral regardless of victim and offender’s gender?

    Laws should always be equal for all citizens regardless of gender, race and other such considerations. Any biased/tilted laws create social disparity and abuse of law as is evident from excessive false #MeToo cases.

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