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Pakistan ruling party proposes bill ending forced marriages

[JURIST] A bill to end forced marriages was proposed in the parliament of Pakistan [JURIST news archive] by the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Q party (Quaid) [official website] Tuesday. The Prevention of Anti-women Practices Bill 2006 would also outlaw a tribal custom in which a woman is compelled to marry into a rival tribe or family to settle a dispute. Each offense would be punished with up to three years in prison and a fine. Anyone preventing a woman from marrying, a common tactic used to keep a family's property from passing to her husband, would also receive a penalty of up to seven years in prison. The bill is set to be discussed in a parliamentary committee before a vote is taken. Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz [official profile] said the bill would not introduce any laws contrary to the Quran [Pakistan Link report].

President Pervez Musharraf [official website; BBC profile] joined in advocating an expansion of rights for women in Pakistan. In December, Musharraf signed a rape reform law [JURIST report] that allowed rape cases to be tried in secular as well as Islamic courts. That law has met with protest from conservative groups [JURIST report]. AP has more. The Daily Times has more.

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