Wednesday October 04, 2023

Darul Aman in Mardan gets a new building costing Rs25m

By Bureau report
February 20, 2018

PESHAWAR: The construction work on the new building of Darul Aman in Mardan to shelter women suffering from domestic violence has been completed.

The building costing about Rs25 million has 10 rooms and a hall along with other relevant facilities. The authorities are planning to shift the women and staff from the old Darul Aman to the new spacious building in about two months’ time.

Imran Hamid Sheikh, deputy commissioner Mardan, said the building constructed on four kanal of land near the Central Prison in Mardan would fulfill the needs of women and their children.

In the second phase of the project, he said the District Government Mardan is planning to establish a skills training centre in collaboration with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to equip those staying in Darul Aman to earn a decent livelihood.

Imran Hamid Sheikh termed the establishment of new Darul Aman as a perfect example of good governance, encompassing functional local governments and people-oriented provincial government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where the identification of local needs triggers positive response up to the highest echelon of the government.

“It further strengthens the belief that if provincial government and district governments shake hands for public interest, keeping their political differences on the back burner, the masses can get maximum benefit from democracy and the dream of devolution of power to the grassroots level could be realized soon,” he added.

Explaining the reason for his interest in establishing a modern, state-of-the-art building of Darul Aman, Imran Hamid Sheikh recalled that in November 2011 he came across a lady who had left home due to domestic violence and was brought to him in his capacity as the Sub-Divisional Magistrate by the patrolling squad of Malakand Levies that she should be sent to Judicial Lock-up. He said he sent her to Judicial Lock-up for the night and was brought to his court again the next morning where she requested that she should be sent to the Darul Aman instead of being returned to her home. To his shock, he was told by the court clerk that she would have to be sent to the Darul Aman in Mardan as there was no such facility in the whole of Malakand division except a small one in Swat. Later as Sub-Divisional Magistrate City for Batkhela in Malakand and District Magistrate in Upper Dir, he remembered sending a number of needy women to the Darul Aman in Mardan.

But this old Darul Aman located in a small rented building in a narrow street in Mardan was in a deplorable condition. “The building was in poor condition, the toilets were semi-functional, rooms were dirty and beddings were old. Many women broke into tears while telling their plight to my spouse who was accompanying me during the visit,” recalled Imran Hamid Sheikh who had been posted as Deputy Commissioner Mardan in 2015. He said no medical facility or psychological therapy was available to the women.

He said he took some corrective measures by arranging weekly visits to the Darul Aman by a woman medical officer and a female psychologist to provide services to the women. He added that the then District Police Officer, Faisal Shehzad, posted two lady constables at Darul Aman.

Meanwhile, plans for establishment of a proper Darul Aman were drawn up and District Nazim, Himayatullah Mayar agreed to allocate funds from the district ADP with the condition that the provincial government would provide land free of cost. Imran Hamid Sheikh pushed the project and received cooperation from a number of well-meaning government officials to obtain allocation of four kanal of state land for the Darul Aman. The provincial government decided to own the project and approached development partners for provision of demand-based furnishing items for the institution.

“I saw the practicality of Paulo Coelho’s words that “When you want something, all the Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it” when the Ambassador of Germany, Ms. Ina Lepel personally came to Mardan to handover that equipment,” remarked Imran Hamid Sheikh.