SHC orders establishment of safe houses in Larkana, Sukkur, Nawabshah divisions

LARKANA: Sindh High Court, Circuit Court, Larkana, has ordered the Sindh Chief Secretary to immediately direct the deputy commissioners to establish safe houses at taluka level in Larkana, Sukkur & Nawabshah divisions, to be managed, controlled and supervised by DCs of respective areas.

The establishing of such safe houses should not take more than two months time due to special circumstances of these areas. The court further ordered to direct SSPs to immediately establish Cell (Rescue Centers) at Taluka and District level in same divisions, whereas in other divisions such centers shall be established at district level, under the charge of women police officer & staff, but may include male police staff, which shall attend the complaints of any kind of violence against women and shall ensure safe access of victims to safe-houses.

This should not take more than two months time in interior Sindh and within three months at other places, the court ordered. The court further ordered him to direct SSPs of each district to ensure security of such safe houses by deploying Jawans, who however shall have no excess inside the same in normal situation. The court further ordered that DCs & SSPs to make publication of such Rescue Centers & Safe Houses & their purpose in coordination with Bar Associations and NGOs with good reputation.

The detailed judgment was issued on Wednesday, disposing off 145 cases of different categories, copy of which has been obtained by PPI. The court said although Sindh Commission on the Status of Women Act, 2015 was promulgated but the commission has so far not been established, which cannot be allowed to be an excuse to let an escaped woman or a victim of violence without a shelter.

Justice Salahuddin Panhwar said: “I am equally conscious that cases of ‘Jirgas’, violence against women and even that of Karo-Kari often take places in interior areas or those which are still stuck up to neck in inhuman rituals and customs, therefore, need was always to start things from those places where it needs most.

The case was heard on October 27 & 28 and interim order was issued on November 17, 2015. The court was informed earlier by the SSPs of Larkana, Kambar-Shahdadkot, Shikarpur, Jacobabad, Kashmore @ Kandhkot that during 2014 & 2015 as many as 192 Karo-Kari cases, 440 abduction for forcible marriage and seven Jirgas have taken place in their respective districts whereas the DIGP Sukkur range informed the court that as many as 393 cases of abduction/forcible marriage, 109 cases of murder on the allegation of Karo-Kari have taken place along with six Jirga in his jurisdiction.

The court order said that statistics are prima facie admission by the police that in just two years in two ranges only there have been reported 301 murders on allegation of ‘Karo-Kari, 833 cases of abduction for forcible marriage, conduct of as many as thirteen ‘Jirgas’ and 770 petitions were filed by women in two years in Circuit Bench, Larkana, for seeking protection.