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May 27, 2019

Govt yet to appoint heads of women, child protection commissions


May 27, 2019

PESHAWAR: Two important commissions of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, including Commission on Status of Women and Child Protection and Welfare Commission, are without heads, which has greatly affected the functioning of these bodies.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister on December 2018 accepted resignation of Neelum Toru as Chairperson of the Commission on Status of Women.

Neelum Toru, who was appointed the commission’s chairperson for the second term through a notification on January 16, 2017, tendered resignation due to ‘personal reasons’. Neelum Toru was first appointed the chairperson of the commission in September 2013 under the previous law called KP Establishment of a Commission on the Status of Women Act, 2009, for three years.

However, official sources told The News that like previous chairperson the PTI government was trying to appoint those women as chairpersons who have a strong affiliation with the party and thus the post is still vacant as various party women leaders are in the run for the post.

Sources said the women caucus at Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly had also recommended three names for appointment of the chairperson some six months ago but the matter is still pending.

They said both the commissions would suffer due to the non-appointment of their heads in the upcoming budget. On the other hand, the KP Child Protection and Welfare Commission is being run without a head for more than two years.

Sources said that the government first advertised the post in 2017, but the post was not filled after the candidates affiliated with the ruling party did not qualify for the post. The government has once again advertised the post.

The position is still vacant while several incidents of child abuse have taken place. Sources said that no proper budget is allocated for the commission which is facing financial issues.

The sources said though the then government had allocated a meagre budget of Rs10 million for the commission for paying the staff salaries, utility bills and stationery and the same amount has released after much delay.

The KP Child Protection and Welfare Commission had been facing a host of problems as it lacks autonomy, service structure and financial rules.

When contacted, Deputy Chief Officer of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Child Protection and Welfare Commission, said that the commission had submitted an estimated budget of Rs65 million for the commission the salaries, commission expenses, direct support fund, child welfare fund and other expenses for free legal aid and health issues while dealing different kinds of child abuse and rights cases. However, under the law, it was the mandate of the KP Child Protection and Welfare Commission to run such institutes. Said Afzal Shinwari, a child rights activist, told The News that the child abuse cases were increasing day by day, but the government was yet to act by appointing the CEO of the commission. He said the government should allocate funds for the commission as it was facing financial problems while dealing with the cases of child rights and abuses.

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