Twitter is in an uproar after news broke that the government has sent the Domestic Violence Protection and Prevention Bill, 2021 to the Council of Islamic Ideology for review.
In a letter dated July 5, 2021, Babar Awan, the adviser to the prime minister on parliamentary affairs, pointed out that the bill, initially passed by the National Assembly in April, was referred back to the Lower House of Parliament after the Senate suggested amendments to the proposed law.
The letter states that concerns have been raised "regarding various definitions and other contents of the bill."
The bill defines domestic violence as "all acts of physical, emotional, psychological, sexual and economic abuse committed by a respondent against women, children, vulnerable persons, or any other person with whom the respondent is or has been in a domestic relationship that causes feat, physical or psychological harm to the aggrieved person". On Twitter, it has been praised for being wide-ranging and extensive.
The bill was initially moved by Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari on April 19 and is only going to apply to Islamabad. Sindh, KP and Punjab all have their own laws against domestic violence.
The news that the bill was being sent to the CII sent shockwaves across Twitter as people couldn't understand why.
Many took issue with the fact that there is no female representation on the CII, despite it being mandated by Article 228 of the Constitution.
There was little women representation throughout the process, except Mazari who put forward the bill.
Many people believed the bill was comprehensive enough to terrify men.
Others took on the notion that it was "against Pakistan's culture" and gave the internet a wakeup call.
Some believe the law may be weakened by any further amendments.
One Twitter user wanted to know what was so objectionable about the bill in the first place.
Actor Osman Khalid Butt was left nonplussed by the news.
Model Eman Suleman had a lot to say on the topic too.
“Okay let me clarify, imagine a country that hates its women so much that a bill to protect them from violence needs to be proposed only to be rejected,” she wrote on her Instagram Story with the hashtag #LoveMyCountry.
“Let this be a reminder to us that laws are made by men to protect men and to help them maintain their power over women/gender minorities. Our country literally refused to pass a bill to keep women and children safe from physical violence," she wrote in a second story.
"So the next time you put your faith in [the] law, think twice. And shut up with your innocent until proven guilty. Powerful men will get away with pretty much anything because the law is on their side. I am especially talking to other women.”
Actor and author Mira Sethi believed the government does not prioritise protecting women.
What do you think about the bill and its criticism?