President censures CDA for non-allotment of quarter to washerwoman

March 28, 2023

Islamabad: President Dr Arif Alvi has expressed displeasure over the Capital Development Authority (CDA)’s discriminatory and misogynist act of non-allotment of a residential quarter to a woman employee.


The CDA had taken the plea that quarters could only be allotted to adult male working 'dhobis' (washermen) as per past practice. President Alvi said that CDA had discriminated against the female employee, and upheld Wafaqi Mohtasib’s orders directing CDA to allot the quarter to the female employee. While rejecting CDA’s representation against the orders of the Wafaqi Mohtasib, he said that the most unfortunate part of the CDA’s defence was that allotment could only be made to a male and could not be made to a female for the same services.

“This is highly discriminatory, CDA is directed to improve its rules that are ensuring such misogynist practices and send the report to Wafaqi Mohtasib of the same in 60 days,” he said. The president underscored that Pakistan could not progress if its female equal members of the society were discriminated against in such a manner. He said that it was against the spirit of the founders of Pakistan, the fair practices of Islam, and also the Constitution.

He directed CDA to comply with Wafaqi Mohtasib’s orders and redress the grievance of the complainant and, if so required, and seek the approval of the competent authority/forum without further loss of time. Shahnaz Begum (the complainant) had alleged that her late husband was an ex-washer man attached with CDA, and he had applied for allotment of a dhobi quarter. She joined CDA as a washerwoman, after the death of her husband, and made a request for the allotment of a quarter, but CDA issued the same to another employee who was junior to her in the seniority list.

Feeling aggrieved, she approached Wafaqi Mohtasib who passed the order that maladministration on the part of CDA was evident as it had discriminated against the complainant and was recommended to issue allotment orders for the quarter in question to the complainant and submit a compliance report within 30 days. The CDA filed a representation against the orders of the Wafaqi Mohtasib and contended that from the beginning, the accommodation had been allotted to CDA’s male employees (washermen) and it had never been allotted to any female (washerwoman). The CDA further argued that Dhobi had been defined as an adult male working dhobi and the relatives of dhobi meant adult blood relations viz. father, brother, and son. After perusal of the record and hearing the parties, it was observed that CDA had already issued an allotment of another quarter to a female washerwoman in the year 2000. The president, therefore, rejected CDA’s representation and upheld Wafaqi Mohtasib’s orders to issue the allotment letters of the quarter in question to the female ‘dhobi’.