Sexual Harassment Laws in Pakistan


Sexual harassment is a pervasive issue that affects individuals in many parts of the world, including Pakistan. In recent years, Pakistan has taken significant steps to address this problem by enacting and enforcing laws aimed at protecting individuals from sexual harassment in various settings, such as the workplace, educational institutions, and public spaces. In this blog, we will explore the sexual harassment laws in Pakistan, their key provisions, and the steps taken to ensure their implementation.

Legal Framework

1. Protection Against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act, 2010:
The primary piece of legislation addressing sexual harassment in Pakistan is the Protection Against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act, 2010. This law applies to both the public and private sectors and aims to provide a safe and harassment-free environment for working women.

Key provisions of the Act include:
Definition of sexual harassment, which encompasses unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
Establishment of Internal Complaint Committees (ICCs) within organizations to receive and investigate complaints of sexual harassment.
Protection for complainants from retaliation.
A strict penalty regime for those found guilty, including fines and imprisonment.

2. Criminal Laws:
Apart from workplace-specific legislation, Pakistan’s Penal Code also contains provisions addressing sexual harassment and related offenses. These include sections on assault, criminal intimidation, and harassment.

Key provisions in the Penal Code include:
Section 509, which deals with words, gestures, or acts intended to insult the modesty of a woman.
Section 354A, which criminalizes the use of criminal force against a woman with the intent to disrobe her.
Section 354B, which deals with the use of force or criminal intimidation for sexual intercourse.
Section 376, which concerns rape and its different forms.

3. Cybercrime Laws:
With the rise of digital communication, Pakistan has also enacted laws to address online sexual harassment. The Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016, contains provisions related to cyberbullying and harassment.

Key provisions under this Act include:
Criminalizing cyberstalking, cyberbullying, and harassment through electronic means.
Imposing penalties for cybercrimes, including imprisonment and fines.

Implementation and Challenges

While Pakistan has made significant strides in addressing sexual harassment through legislation, several challenges persist:

1. Awareness: Many individuals remain unaware of their rights and the legal protections available to them.

2. Enforcement: Implementation of these laws can be inconsistent, particularly in rural areas where awareness and enforcement mechanisms may be lacking.

3. Cultural Factors: Cultural norms and societal pressures can deter victims from reporting harassment, fearing stigmatization or retaliation.

4. Need for Further Reforms: Advocates argue that existing laws need to be strengthened and extended to protect individuals beyond the workplace, such as students in educational institutions and victims in public spaces.


Sexual harassment laws in Pakistan have evolved to address the pressing issue of harassment in various settings, but there is still work to be done. It is crucial to continue raising awareness, promoting gender equality, and improving enforcement mechanisms to ensure that these laws effectively protect individuals from sexual harassment. By doing so, Pakistan can create a safer and more equitable environment for all its citizens, regardless of gender.

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