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Last Updated: Friday, 17 November 2006, 11:55 GMT
Bill to protect Pakistani women
Women's protest outside national assembly in Islamabad
Pakistani women demanding greater rights
The Pakistani government has submitted another bill in parliament to protect women's rights, officials say.

The bill seeks to make forced marriage a crime and safeguard women's right to property and inheritance.

It is likely to be tabled in the national assembly during its next session, due in December.

On Wednesday, the assembly overcame bitter opposition from a alliance of Islamic parties to pass amendments to the country's controversial rape laws.

President Pervez Musharraf's chief political ally, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, was quoted by Pakistan's official APP news agency as saying the new bill was one of a series of steps the government had planned to empower women.

The bill stipulates action against those who deprive women of their property rights, the minister for parliamentary affairs, Sher Afgan, said.

It seeks to outlaw some local customs that prevent women from marrying and hence bearing children who may claim her share in ancestral property.

It also criminalises forced marriages, including those in which young girls are given away in marriage to settle murder feuds, he said.

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