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October 24, 2016

Head of Mehergarh wins ‘Women Excellence Award’

Islamabad

October 24, 2016

Islamabad

Behind every successful plan, there is always a silent force that works day and night to remove all hurdles and to move things forward. Most of the time, the efforts of such silent workers remain unknown to general public. Maliha Husain, the head of Mehergarh, is one such silent worker who has almost devoted her life for the implement of Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2010 never aiming any recognition or praises for her work.

Women Excellence Awards at the 10th annual International Conference on Women’s Leadership was the first national award that recognised her relentless work on implementation of the law that brought a sense of protection for women at the work place. Over the last six years, her work systematically institutionalise the legislation in provincial governments, facilitate ombudsman’s offices, motivate regulatory bodies to take up monitoring of this law and training a brigade of over 1,200 trainers all over the country to take forward the implementation process, was appreciated. She has shown vision and effective strategy and mobilised many important institutions in the process.

The award ceremony was organised by Triple E and other stakeholders and was chaired by Sherry Rehman, who had been instrumental in taking the legislation forward at the time of its passage. Representatives of other political parties who attended the ceremony included Ramesh Kumar and Maiza Hameed from PML-N, Seema from PTI, a former Senator from MQM and others.

This year the theme of the Conference was work Place Sexual Harassment and thus the awards were geared towards those who had contributed and shown leadership in this area. Right after the passage of the legislation, Maliha managed six women centres throughout the country to support women in filing their complaints and spreading the awareness. These were established in Lahore, Multan, Karachi, Hyderabad, Islamabad and Peshawar for one year to do the necessary hand holding initially. She engaged with the government, private sector as well as conducted trainings for the police and the judiciary. “Once the organisations starts complying with the law, we offer training and all kind of assistance to the inquiry committees established in the organisations to do their work professionally and in a just manner,” she said. Over the last six years, Maliha has conducted over 500 trainings for the members of the inquiry Committees and helped them in handling difficult cases. She herself has helped with over 3,700 cases herself where she assisted the Inquiry Committees or the complainants in getting the cases resolved.

Maliha also facilitated establishment of the Ombudsman office in Islamabad, Sindh and Punjab, including writing up of the terms of reference (TOR) and doing the lobbying necessary with the federal and provincial governments for setting this institution. She said she has found the provincial governments forthcoming but is disappointed that such offices in Balochsitan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan are still not established. She said her struggle and lobbying in this regard will continue. She was the key person to help set up Provincial Implementation Watch Committees in all provinces with the support of the provincial governments. She keeps pushing the active engagement of these committees.

Maliha Husain worked very closely with the private sector and fully supported the implementation of the law, forming of the committees and training of the committee members in organisations. Worth mentioning are her collaboration with Pakistan Business Council, with the top hundred businesses in Pakistan, who have all complied successfully, the State Bank of Pakistan, where compliance of this law is now part of the policy audit and the Pakistan Banking Association who monitors the banks and maintains the date on implementation. Among government organisations she has worked with many but the most outstanding examples are NADRA, Pakistan Post Office, Higher Education Commission, Election Commission and FBR.

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