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How can women claim property rights in Punjab?

08:06 PM | 12 Jul, 2023
How can women claim property rights in Punjab?
Source: Women Development Department (Facebook)

Sumaira Samad, secretary of the Department of Women Development in Punjab, said that her department is also conducting an awareness campaign against all types of gender-based violence.

She said that issues like economic violence, psychological violence, harassment, child marriage and share in property are all included in this campaign. There is Punjab Enforcement of Women's Property Rights Act 2021 which is implemented by female ombudspersons.

Its purpose is to ensure women's share in inheritance. The right of women is often killed in the system of Board of Revenue in Pakistan. They are pressured by the family and intimidated into giving up their share in favor of their brothers. This specific act is designed to eliminate this object.

In this, whether the woman herself comes or someone else can come and complain on her behalf. Under section four of the act, any woman who is deprived of property in any way can file a complaint with the ombudsman. The ombudsman may refer the matter to the Deputy Commissioner, who shall be bound to conduct an inquiry and submit a report to the ombudsman within 15 days after which the authority may call for submission of further records or objections from the complainant and their opponents.

"The ombudsman will be bound to issue an order preferably within 60 days of receiving the complaint," Sumaira said.

The Department of Women Development has a helpline number 1043 for calls. 

"In the month of October alone, we received 11% of calls related to property. These are either complaints or people calling for information. We divert calls with complaints to the ombudsman. Many women fear going to a civil court or a revenue office because they feel that they will not be heard. The ombudsman is an empowered body and their job is to protect the rights of women, so they then come in contact with the relevant institutions for these women,” she added.

Sumaira stated that "the department has contacts with various law chambers and NGOs and in such cases where the woman does not have the ability to seek legal help, our department also provides assistance to her in this regard."

"According to section five of the "Punjab Enforcement of Women's Property Act, 2021", the ombudsman will ensure the implementation of the order by directing the police and district administration officials to restore possession of the property to the complainant.

Under Section 9, the ombudsman may direct any executive of the State, including the Deputy Commissioner concerned, to carry out the orders issued to the letter where the property of the complainant is situated.

According to Section 11, no court or authority shall be able to question the validity of the proceedings taken after passing the orders of the ombudsman or to grant a stay or interim order thereon. If a woman is not given a share in the inheritance of movable or immovable property, she is punishable under Section 498 A of the Pakistan Penal Code 1860, which may extend to imprisonment for five to ten years or a fine of one million rupees or both. In various ways, the woman is deprived of her share in inheritance, sometimes even married to the Qur'an.

Such cases are mostly reported from Sindh and South Punjab. This act is a serious offense under Section 498C of the Pakistan Penal Code, punishable with imprisonment of three to seven years and a fine of PKR five lacs.

The writer is a staff member.

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PKR exchange rate to US dollar, Euro, Pound, Dirham, and Riyal - 13 April 2024 Forex Rates

Pakistani currency remains largely same against US dollar and other currencies in open market on April 13, 2024.

US Dollar rate in Pakistan

On Saturday, the US dollar was being quoted at 277.4 for buying and 280.65 for selling.

Euro was quoted at 299.95 for buying and 302.9 for selling while British Pound stands at 349.5 for buying, and 353 for selling.

UAE Dirham AED was at 75.45 and Saudi Riyal's new rates was at 73.30. 

Today’s currency exchange rates in Pakistan - 12 April 2024

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