‘Joint efforts needed to check violence against women, kids’

By Our Correspondent
November 30, 2022

LAHORE:The Punjab government spokesperson Musarat Jamshed Cheema has said that there is a need to work together to prevent violence against women and children.

She was addressing a seminar organised by Punjab University Institute of Social and Cultural Studies (ISCS) in connection with the ongoing awareness campaign regarding violence against women and children.

Punjab Women Protection Committee Chairperson Rafia Kamal, ISCS Director Prof Dr Rubeena Zakar, representatives of NGOs, faculty members and students participated in the event. Ms Cheema said that laws should be strictly enforced to end violence against women and children. She said that women, whether poor, educated or uneducated, were subject to harassment and violence in any society.

Rafia Kamal said awareness should continue through seminars and workshops in educational institutions to prevent violence against women and children. Giving a briefing on the research report regarding the subject, Syed Kausar Abbas told the participants that in the last ten months, 3,088 rape cases of women have been reported in Punjab, while 446 women have been raped in Lahore alone. He said that 4,503 incidents of child abuse have been reported, of which Lahore was on the top with 1,221 incidents. He said that in order to prevent such incidents, awareness should be created among the students through curriculum.

Dr Rubeena Zakar said that incidents of violence against women and children were increasing day by day for which more steps should be taken. gender-based violence: Aawaz II Programme in collaboration with Peace & Justice Network (PJN) and Punjab Women Protection Authority (PWPA) hosted a provincial consultation titled “Strengthening Gender-based Violence Response Mechanisms in Punjab” here on Tuesday.

Over 47 provincial level stakeholders, including representatives from the Punjab Provincial Ombudsperson on Harassment at Workplace, Gender Cell Police Department, Punjab Women Protection Authority, civil society organisations as well as lawyers, social activists, and transgender rights activists, persons with disabilities and religious minorities, rights activists participated in the session. The event was designed to identify the gaps in the existing redressing mechanisms for gender-based violence (GBV) survivors and to make the available mechanisms more inclusive and accessible for women, and transgender persons.

The keynote speakers included Rafia Kamal, Chairperson Punjab Women Protection Authority, Nabila Hakim Ali Khan, Provincial Ombudsperson against Harassment at Workplace, Irshad Waheed, Director General Punjab Women Protection Authority and Dr. Yasmim Zaidi, Team Lead Aawaz II.

Rafia Kamal said that the PWPA is focused on improving the mechanism for reporting and rehabilitation of those affected by gender-based violence in Punjab. The task of eliminating gender-based violence is quite challenging and all stakeholders need to be on a common platform such as the Aawaz II programme to partake against the demeaning increase in GBV, she said.

Nabila Hakim Khan highlighted the women-friendly at workplace and mechanisms to ensure their inheritance rights. She explained the salient features of the Punjab Enforcement of Women’s Property Rights Act and said this law has facilitated women in getting their property rights. Dr Yasmin Zaidi, Aawaz II Team Lead, remarked that discrimination against women is rampant in our society and researches have shown alarming trends.