Do you think is there any purpose of Harassment laws until these are introduced among the females! Unfortunately, these laws have just been made but neither these have been publicized yet nor these have been implemented properly.
This term “Sexual Harassment” is defined as requests for sexual favors, unwelcome sexual advances, or even any physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature at the workplace, in public or anywhere else. Like many other nations, Pakistani women are also facing this issue and the harassment phobia is a big barrier towards the development of our economy.
Do sexual Harassment laws exist in Pakistan?
Now, you can find laws against sexual Harassment in Pakistan for safety and security of females who go outside for earning their living, for educating or being educated, or for any other purpose. If girls and the women are given awareness about these laws then they can actually be protected against such a big issue and they can feel confident to work.
Only lawyers or the lawmakers know about the laws that have been designed against sexual harassment. There is the need to inject these laws into every woman of this society. For this purpose, Government should take a step and the programs should be conducted in order to create the awareness. An organization should be structured containing professional team members and those team members should be supposed to visit different schools and colleges to inform the girls about the laws regarding sexual harassment.
Sexual Harassment Laws for Women in Pakistan:
Following are the laws for females that are implemented in the sexual harassment cases:
1. If a drunk person appears in any public place and there causes annoyance to any person including female, he could be punished with imprisonment, or with fine or with both under Section 510 of the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860.
2. If a person insults the modesty of any woman, utter any word, makes any sound or gesture, or exhibits any object in any public place, markets, public transport, street or park, private gathering or home, he is liable to be punished with imprisonment for three years or with fine or with both under Section 509 of the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860
3. If any person demands sexual favor or uses verbal or non-verbal communication or physical conduct of a sexual nature to annoy, insult, intimidate or threaten the female at the workplace, with the intent of unreasonably interfering with work performance is liable to be punished with imprisonment for three years or with fine or with both under Section 509 of the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860
4. If any person makes a false accusation of fornication against any female, he shall be punished with imprisonment for five years and with fine under Section 496C of the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860.
5. Whoever, force any girl under the age of eighteen years, to have physical intercourse with another person shall be punished with imprisonment of ten years and with fine under Section 366A of the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860.
6. If a person assaults or use criminal force to any woman and strips her of her clothes and in that condition, exposes her to public view, is liable to be punished with death or with imprisonment for life, and also liable to fine under Section 354A of the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860.
7. If a person does any indecent and vulgar act in any public place, sings, recites any vulgar song or words is liable to be punished with imprisonment for three months or with fine or with both under Section 294 of the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860.
Workplace Harassment Laws for Women:
8. According to Section 2(h) of the Protection against Harassment of women at Workplace Act, 2010 harassment” means any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors or other verbal or written communication or physical conduct of a sexual nature or sexually demeaning attitudes, causing interference with work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment, or the attempt to punish the complainant for refusal to comply with such a request or is made a condition for employment.
9. According to the Section 3 of the Protection against Harassment of women at Workplace Act, 2010, every organization has to constitute an Inquiry Committee to inquire into complaints made against workplace harassment. And committee shall consist of three members of whom at least one member should be a woman.
10. If a person is guilty of workplace harassment, following penalty under Section 4 of the Protection against Harassment of women at Workplace Act, 2010 can be imposed on him:
A) Minor Penalties
- Withholding for a specific period, promotion or increment
- Stoppage for a specific period
- Recovery of the compensation payable to the complainant from pay or any other source of the accused.
B) Major Penalties
- Reduction to lower post or time-scale or to a lower stage in a time-scale.
- Compulsory retirement
- Removal from service
- Dismissal from service and
11. According to Section 8 of the Protection against Harassment of women at Workplace Act, 2010, the female has an option to file a complaint directly to the Ombudsman or the Inquiry Committee.
Electronic Crimes or Cyber Crime Laws for Women:
12. If any person intentionally and publicly displays of transmitting any information to harm the reputation or privacy of any person including female, is liable to be punished with imprisonment for three years or with fine or with both under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016.
13. If any person intentionally and publicly exhibits or displays or transmit any information with the intention to harm the female or her reputation, or to take revenge, or to create hatred or to blackmail is liable to be punished with imprisonment for five years or with fine which may extend to five million rupees or with both under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016.
14. A person commits the offence of cyber stalking if he harasses any female through internet by following her or contracts or attempts to contact to foster personal interaction repeatedly despite a clear indication of disinterest by such female under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016.
15. If a person takes a photograph or make a video of any female and display or distribute it without her consent in a manner that harms a female is liable to be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine which may extend to one million rupees or with both under section 24 of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016.
After reading these laws, I am sure that you would be feeling confident. Women in Pakistan are not helpless by law but they are just unaware. Once these laws will get popular among the ladies, they will feel confident to move in this society because no one would try to sexually abuse them. Sexual Harassment criminals are so bold just because of the reason that they feel no one can charge them any penalty for their acts. Once they will have the fear of being charged, they will not even think of making such illegal acts.
This Article is written by Advocate Adv. Fatima Tu Zara Butt.
Muhammad Usman Awan is a Blogger and Social Entrepreneur who founded first Anti Harassment Awareness Campaign “Stop Harassment Now”. The Purpose of this campaign is to empower and educate our Girls and Working Women against Harassment.