Sexual harassment has not been specifically recognized under Pakistani law until as recently as 2010 vide the Sexual Harassment at the Workplace Act 2010. While being specific to the work place, it has provided an introduction to the recognition of sexual harassment in the law. However, as with many of the other provisions relating to discrimination against women, sexual harassment may not have been specifically recognised, but several elements are existing in the law, as identified below. Again, it is important to draw attention to the criminality of such offences as often they are over-looked as ‘’sexual harassment’’ being almost a way of life rather than a criminal offence being committed against women.
Provisions of Law:
294. Obscene acts and songs:
Whoever, to the annoyance of others:
- does any obscene act in any public place, or
- sings, recites or utters any obscene songs, ballad or words, in or near any public place,
Shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine, or with both.
Whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any woman, intending to outrage or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby outrage her modesty, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years or with fine, or with both.
354-A. Assault or use of criminal force to woman and stripping her of her clothes:
Whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any woman and strips her of her clothes and in that condition, exposes her to the public view, shall be punished with death or with imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.
509. Insulting modesty or causing sexual harassment:
- Intending to insult the modesty of any woman, utters any word, makes any sound or gesture, or exhibits any object, intending that such word or sound shall be heard, or that such gesture or object shall be seen, by such woman, or intrudes upon the privacy of such woman;
- Conducts sexual advances, or demands sexual favours or uses written or verbal communication or physical conduct of a sexual nature which intends to annoy, insult, intimidate or threaten the other person or commits such acts at the premises of work place, or makes submission to such conduct either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment, or makes submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual a basis for employment decision affecting such individual, or retaliates because of rejection of such behavior, or conducts such behavior with the intention of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment,
Shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years or fine up to five hundred thousand rupees or with both.