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June 17, 2016

Laws relating to women, children to be tabled in parliament soon


June 17, 2016


Ministry of Human Rights (MoHR) is pro-actively working on fine-tuning of various women and children friendly laws which would be tabled in the parliament soon.

This information was shared by DG MoHR Hassan Mangi at Show and Tell Convention organised by Aurat Foundation (AF) in collaboration with Trocaire and AusDFAT. The event provided an opportunity to Gender Based Violence (GBV) response institutions to showcase their performance and services related to the strategies adopted for minimising GBV against women and girls.

He said that the draft policy on violence against women which was recently developed in collaboration with AF would soon be sent for approval. Similarly, the ministry has successfully introduced amendments in the Criminal Law (Amendment) Law, which has been recently signed by the President of Pakistan which terms any cruelty with the child as criminal activity. The amendment increases age of criminal responsibility from 7 years to 10 years.

He said that the ministry is also working on devising a law to address the child labour in the Islamabad Capital Territory.  “We are also in the process of finalising the draft policy for home-based women workers. Laws Reforms Committee in the Senate is also reviewing law to end violence against women and girls workers”, he further said.

Women Parliamentary Caucus (WPC) Chairperson Shaista Pervaiz Malik said that WPC has been at the forefront to ensure women’s empowerment through active legislation.  She said the WPC is building partnership with civil society and national and international organizations to end violence against women.

Technical Advisor WPC Huma Chughtai gave a detail presentation on WPC’s vision, mission, key objectives and strategies.  She said that the under the MoU signed between AF and WPC, Caucus organized various activities including orientation session on ‘Legislative Business and Role of Parliamentarians in Pro-Women legislations, study circles on ‘SGDs Post Development Agenda’, awareness sessions on women’s and girl’s health issues in Pakistan and its impact on their productive economic lives, and seminar on ‘Child Marriages Restraint Bill 2014 and Religious Perspectives.’

Referring to Mangi’s comments on the proposed policy on violence against women, Rabeea Hadi from AF said that the draft policy is uploaded on the website of the Ministry of Human Rights for the comments from parliamentarians and concerned women and human rights activists and government institutions from all four provinces. 

“The increase in number of reported cases of violence against women greatly disappoints us but in events like this where we share our experiences gives us hope and provide us joint strategies on combating violence against women,” she further  said.

Country Director, Trocaire John O Brien, while briefing Trocaire’s work on ending violence against women, said that Trocaire is struggling hard with the national civil society organizations to end violence against  omen.

National Police Bureau (NPB) Deputy Director Mahreen Maqsood talked about the reporting of violence against women by the Gender Crime Cell and National Police Bureau.  She said the National Police Bureau acts as think tank for Ministry of Interior on collecting and analyzing the data on cases of violence against women.  She said that a national action plan is a must to end violence against women.  She also emphasized on providing training of women police to positive response the violence against women for which the NPB need support from civil society organisations. She said the NPB is working on toll free helpline for women and children.

Ministry of Health Director General Shafqat Javaid said that as a doctor, he views violence against women as a public health issue. “We need to see if the health policy also addresses violence against other sections of society.  He highlighted gaps in the medico-legal services in addressing the gender based violence.  He also pointed out lack of gender based  data on  violence  against  women. 

Member KP Assembly and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Women  Parliamentary Caucus Chairperson Meraj Khan, in her address, said that united struggle of members of the provincial caucus has brought many achievements including a separate ministry for women and celebration of the International Women’s Day in the provincial assembly for the first time. She also criticized the allocation of low budget for women’s social welfare i.e. only Rs1.6 billion but she hoped to get some more budget form Chief Minister’s special budget.

Deputy Public Prosecutor from KP Taimur Khattak briefed on the state of prosecution in violence against women cases.  While talking about the achievements on women’s empowerment in the KP, she mentioned the passage of The North-West Frontier Province Establishment of a Commission on the Status of Women Act 2009, Elimination of Custom of Ghag Act 2013, passage of KP Deserving Widows and Special Persons Foundation  Act, 2014 and women empowerment policy by KP wherein Provincial Commission on the Status of Women has been given autonomy to address all forms of violence against women.

The reflections on GBV Program Sindh were given by Member Sindh Assembly Rubina Quaimkhani. Manager Sheheed Benazir Bhutto Women Crisis Centre Saira Furqan, lawyer Iqbal Detho, AIG Sindh Police Faizullah Korejo and Resident Director AF Mahnaz Rahman also spoke on the occasion.

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