Pakistan Passes Stronger Sexual Harassment Penalties

Pakistan’s National Assembly passed a law increasing the penalty for sexual harassment yesterday. The law now moves to the country’s senate, where it faces another vote. If the law is passed, it would increase the penalty guidelines for sexual harassment from one year to three years in prison and would add a fine of up to 500,000 Pakistani rupees ($6,000), United Press International reports.

MP and former information minister Sherry Rehman, who has worked for laws protecting women’s rights, told the BBC “This bill will be especially empowering for women who work as domestic workers.” The law would also allow sexual harassment cases to go to higher courts.

This law is the latest legislative development to further women’s rights since a new government took power last year. According to United Press International, another law was passed recently that provides financial and other assistance to those who have experienced domestic violence including women, the elderly, children, and servants. Earlier this year, Inter Press Service reported that Pakistan took steps to pass a law criminalizing domestic violence.


United Press International 11/4/09; BBC News 11/5/09; Inter Press Service 9/7/09

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