Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Pakistan May Outlaw Forced Marriage

"Pakistan's ruling party introduced a bill on Tuesday aimed at outlawing the forced marriage of women and practices preventing them from inheriting property. President Pervez Musharraf has vowed to empower women as part of his vision of ``enlightened moderation'' for the predominantly Muslim country of 160 million people where women, particularly in poor, rural areas, face widespread discrimination and violence.

The Prevention of Anti-Women Practices Bill introduced in parliament on Tuesday is expected to be referred to a committee that will finalize a draft to be debated and voted upon later in the year. ``The credit for this goes to President Musharraf who is endeavouring to give due status to women in society,'' the head of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, told the lower house National Assembly.

The bill seeks to end practices such as vani, a centuries-old tradition of marrying women off to settle disputes between families, and the practice of marrying women to the Koran, which deprives them of a share of family property, he said." Reuters, N.Y. Times Link to Article (last visited 2-20-07 NVS)

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