Inheritance right is one of the most ignored gender issues owing to biased interpretations of religious directives and deep-rooted patriarchal customary practices denying women their due right
Women’s ability to own and control land in Pakistan is determined by statutory, religious and customary laws. Statutory laws and religious laws may be in favour of women owning land but they cannot be enforced in a context where they can prevail. The way women are perceived by society in general limits the possibilities for women to exercise their ownership and control rights.
It is widely accepted that women are denied their rights to hold land titles, manipulated over land inheritance and expected to and sometimes pressurized to surrender their land inheritance rights in favour of the male members of their families.
Yesterday, Minister for Law and Justice Barrister Mohammad Farogh Naseem announced that the government has enacted laws to safeguard the property rights of women.
The law, if implemented in letter and spirit, will guarantee the rights to a woman on her property, within three months of filing a complaint with the ombudsman.
He further added that apex court judges are eager to work with a female colleague elevated to serve with them at the Supreme Court.
Last year, Judge Lubna Saleem Pervaiz was sworn in as the first female judge of the Islamabad High Court and the chief justice is very happy with her performance,” he said while addressing the virtual launch ceremony of a project titled ‘Increasing Women’s Representation in Law’ at the Australian High Commission.
Mr Naseem said that awareness regarding laws, enacted to help build women’s capacity in the legal profession is crucial for woman empowerment. He said there were brilliant judges, highly educated and competent women associated with the legal profession.
There is a need to create awareness regarding this landmark legislation and other such laws, so no one usurps the legal rights of a woman, and also so that women are fully aware of where they can have compensation,” he said.
Parliamentary Secretary for Law and Justice Barrister Maleeka Bukhari, hailing the government’s agenda regarding women empowerment, said there is a dire need to address the gender gap in the legal profession and women should have a place in the decision making quarters.
“The present government has enacted laws to support women and children with legal aid in criminal cases. The web portal/app on women in law will help identify women lawyers in Pakistan,” she said.
Increasing Women’s Representation in Law is a joint initiative of Australian High Commission, Group Development Pakistan (GDP), Women in Law Network and British High Commission while Ministry of Law and Justice will also collaborate and facilitate the it. A memorandum of understanding was signed by Ministry of Law and Justice, GDP and Women in Law Network for this purpose.