Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
October 29, 2020

Charter of demands to ensure protection of women


October 29, 2020

LAHORE: A large number of women from a cross section of the society have taken note of rising incidents of violence against women in Pakistan, particularly the incident of gang-rape of a woman on motorway despite having called the police at least twice after her fuel ran out.

The fact that a woman in Pakistan is not safe (especially after alerting law-enforcement agencies) in a public space is not only unacceptable but is also a sickening reflection of where the society stands today, they have noted in a statement issued on Wednesday.

Around this time, news from Karachi surfaced that a young woman in Karachi was abducted in a double cabin vehicle outside a mall in Clifton by two men who took her to an apartment where they, along with a third man, raped her. The woman was dropped back to the site of her kidnapping the next morning. Most women who are subjected to violence do not report it. The conviction rate in rape and sexual assault cases is under 3pc.

This group of women has issued the following charter of demands. The signatories of this charter hail from all backgrounds.

1. Implement Article 25 of the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973

2. Expedite and increase recruitment of female police officers and immediately establish additional women police stations. Where women police stations cannot be immediately established, set up a woman-staffed unit at each police station nationwide

3. Remove CCPO Lahore

4. Expedite inclusion of female prosecutors and provision of adequate resources and facilities to Gender Based Violence Courts to conduct trials with use of all special protection mechanisms

5. Implement a judicial sensitization programme on dealing with victims of sexual violence and harassment

6. Conduct compulsory gender sensitization training for all civil servants, police officers and judicial officers at induction; and mandatory gender sensitization training courses must be instituted for serving officers, as part of the MCMC and NMC courses by the National School of Public Policy and the Judicial Academy (making this training a prerequisite for promotions)

7. Conduct police sensitization and training across the country on handling cases of sexual violence and harassment. Further, women police officers must be made part of all investigating teams constituted to investigate cases of sexual violence, domestic abuse or harassment. The prosecuting team in GBV cases must include at least one female prosecutor.

8. Establish one government universal access number/distress line for women countrywide

9. Prohibit the two-finger (virginity) test for all rape and gang-rape survivors

10. Mandate use of forensic evidence in all cases of sexual violence

11. Provide swift, affordable and accessible administration of justice in all rape cases in the 3-month time frame provided under the law, through constitution of women’s courts and provision of free legal aid where required

12. Hold regular and periodic gender sensitization sessions for young and senior lawyers by the Pakistan Bar Council and all provincial bar councils

13. Mandate gender sensitization training for all elected officials

14. Repeal criminal defamation law contained in PECA, under which the right to expression of survivors of sexual harassment, journalists and members of civil society is curtailed

15. Immediately remove all elected and appointed state officials that engage in victim-blaming survivors of sexual assault and implement a zero-tolerance policy for both sexual harassment and misogynistic comments and behaviour by elected and appointed officials

16. Conduct regular and effective monitoring of judiciary, police and prosecutors working on GBV cases with incentives and deterrents based on performance

17. Appoint sufficient number of female medico-legal staff to ensure Women Medico Legal Officers are available 24/7 in every district of the country

18. Make all efforts to ensure more holistic discussions on the nature of rape, consent and victim blaming, which can be achieved by state-sponsored televised programmes, advertisements, radio broadcasts, etc.

19. Immediately appoint greater number of female judges at trial level, through affirmative action, to deal with rape cases

20. Immediately change procedural law to ensure the process of reporting rape and abuse takes into account sensitivity of the situation for survivors

21. Establish state-sponsored bodies to provide psychological and physical treatment to survivors of sexual violence

22. Immediately introduce, and make compulsory, intermediate and secondary level courses highlighting legal and moral viewpoints on gender sensitisation, harassment and sexual violence