‘Why are the Women Protection Laws still not implemented?’ – LHC grills Punjab Government

During the hearing, Punjab Women Protection Authority Chairperson Kaneez Fatima was summoned by LHC.

According to media reports, the Lahore High Court has severely criticized the Punjab Government for not implementing the Protection of the Women Violence Act across the province. Sources state that it has been five years since the act was passed; however, authorities still don’t seem to be implementing it.

What brought the matter into the LHC notice?

Recently, LHC Justice Ali Zia Bajwa was hearing a matter of habeas corpus petition – a writ used to bring a prisoner or other detainee before the court to determine if the person’s imprisonment or detention is lawful.

During the hearing, the Punjab Women Protection Authority Chairperson Kaneez Fatima was summoned by the LHC. The judge asked the chairperson why the Protection of Women Violence Act was not implemented since it had been passed.

The women’s protection authority chairperson replied:

The government has established a women’s protection center in Multan while working is under process to establish the same in other districts.

Her reply irked Justice Bajwa, who remarked:

It is tantamount to committing discrimination and depriving women of other districts of their rights. It will be considered injustice when specific justice will be dispensed.

When the court asked about the reason behind the delay in implementing the said Act, the chairperson implored the court, stating that they did not have enough of a budget to expand the network of women protection centers across the province.

This is where the Chairperson messed up

It is pertinent to mention that the Chairperson started the conversation by telling the court that the government would establish women protection centers in Lahore and Rawalpindi this year, proving that the budget was there.

This angered Justice Bajwa further, who said:

Establishing women’s protection centers will be illegal until the notification regarding implementation of the act is issued. The act will be implemented in those areas where the women’s protection centers will start working.

He also stated:

It is your interpretation, and such sort of interpretation is not required in courts as the courts are run in light of the constitution. It is astonishing enough that the province’s women had been deprived of their rights by not implementing the Protection of Women Violence Act. Who will be responsible for that?

To this, chairperson Fatima replied:

There was no table and chair in the office when I resumed the charge. By making efforts, I put the office on track and constituted some committees to get good results.

Furious Justice Bajwa said:

Do you mean you have just completed your table and chair in the office?

The chairperson tried to cover her tracks and shared:

No, sir, I have also sent the summary to the chief minister for amendments in the act.

Punjab Government Chairperson didn’t have a straightforward answer for LHC

It should be noted that throughout the entire discussion, Punjab Women Protection Authority Chairperson Kaneez Fatima did not have a clear answer for the court.

The court’s query was straightforward in that why the Protection of Women Violence Act could not be implemented in letter and spirit across Punjab. However, the chairperson kept beating about the bush.

The discussion eventually ended with Justice Bajwa criticizing the Punjab Government and reserving the decision on why Protection of Women Violence Act had not been implemented yet.

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