Pakistan's parliament has passed a landmark bill that makes violence against women and children a criminal offence that would carry prison terms and fines.
Under the Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Bill that was passed by the Senate on Monday, those found guilty of beating women or children will face a minimum prison sentence of six months and a fine of at least 100,000 rupees ($ 1,100).
The protection is also extended to the adopted, employed and domestic helps in a household.
The bill was introduced by Senator Nilofar Bakhtiar and passed unanimously by the upper house of the parliament, media reports said.
The National Assembly or the lower house of the Parliament had already cleared the bill in 2009, and it will become a law once President Asif Ali Zardari puts his seal on it.
The law classifies domestic violence as acts of physical, sexual or mental assault, force, criminal intimidation, harassment, hurt, confinement and deprivation of economic or financial resources.
In the absence of such a law police could not arrest a man who beat his wife or children as it was considered a domestic affair.