A Pak bank that doesnt admit women as witnesses on behalf of someone else

September 29th, 2008 - 3:48 pm ICT by ANI  

Islamabad , Sept 29 (ANI): In what could be called an absurd practice, one premier bank in Pakistan does not allow women to stand as witnesses on behalf of someone else applying for a loan or opening a new account.

And, this is there despite there being no law prohibiting the fairer sex from deposing as a witness.

The Allied Banks regional head for credit administration department in Islamabad said this was being done under court instructions and government of Pakistan rules.

Witnesses of ladies are not acceptable, said a memo from the official to a bank branch in Islamabad in connection with a credit facility against Defence Savings Certificates that was finalised after the applicant was made to substitute a promissory note signed by two male witnesses for one that bore signatures of as many women, while several other papers needed for the arrangement were all signed by male witnesses, reported the Dawn.

When asked whether he was sure women could not stand as witnesses in such case, bank official Saeed Akhtar reportedly said: Yes surely. I am doing this for 20 years.

The official did not specify any law or a prudential regulation banning women from being witnesses, but said this was being done lawfully although women held senior positions in the banking sector.

Currently, State Bank of Pakistan is being headed by its first woman governor Shamshad Akhtar.

This is clear-cut violation of the injunctions of the holy Quran laid down in the dictum of God which says that ladies can testify competently under all heads and in all courts and obligations, the paper quoted PPP Senator Babar Awan as saying when asked about the legal position on the issue.

Awan also noted that under Article 25 of the Constitution, gender-based discrimination violated the fundamental rights guaranteed by Pakistans supreme law, and said: Therefore, saying that women are not competent witnesses is not only a derogation of the injunctions of Islam but also contemptuous of the constitutional and judicial system of the country. (ANI)

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