Islamabad: Pakistani Parliament's upper house, the Senate, on Monday unanimously passed two landmark bills meant to protect women from negative customs and traditions and seeking severe punishments for violators.

The bills, which have already been passed by the lower house, the National Assembly, were moved by Senator Nilofar Bakhtiar. These bills seek to amend the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860 and the Code of Criminal Procedures, 1898.

The Anti-Women Practices bill, consisting of five clauses, seeks to penalise evils such as the so-called marriage with the holy Quran, forced marriage and depriving women from inheritance.

The bill says: “Whoever gives a female in marriage or otherwise compels her to enter into marriage, as 'badla-e-sulh', wanni, or swara or any other custom or practice under any name, in consideration of settling a civil dispute or criminal liability, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years but shall not be less than three years and shall also be liable to fine of five hundred thousand rupees.”

Besides the bill proposed prohibition of depriving woman from inheriting property, prohibition of forced marriage and prohibition of marriage with the holy Quran.

The violators will be handed over either imprisonment or a fine of Rs. 500,000 for each crime.

The other bill that aims at preventing incidents of throwing acid at women recommended that whoever hurt by corrosive substances shall be punished with imprisonment for life or imprisonment of either description which shall not be less than 14 years and a minimum fine of Rs. One million.

The statement of objects and reasons of the bill said that there were several practices and customs prevailing in Pakistan which were not only against human dignity but also volatile human rights.

(Agencies)