KARACHI: Sindh minister for Social Welfare and Women Development Rubina Sadat Qaimkhani on Wednesday announced that a helpline in the provincial women development department has been established which would facilitate women across the province to register their complaints regarding harassment and other exploitations.
The announcement was made on the occasion of a seminar on National Women Day, organized by women development department in cooperation with Aurat Foundation and USAID, at a local hotel.
Rubina said that the government had established helpline (111-623-937) to facilitate women. She said that the Pakistan People’s Party-led government in the province had always worked for the betterment of the women.
“We have made laws to protect women at domestic and work places so that they could feel empowered and work for the betterment of the society,” she said.
The minister admitted that although there is a lack of implementation on the laws but said that through awareness programs we could be able to give more independence to women. She said that women comprise of more than 50 percent of the society but nothing had been done for the rights of the women.
Qaimkhani said that dictators had always tried to suppress activists who raised their voices in support of women rights especially in the era of Ziaul Haq. “On the other hand, democratic governments have always worked for women issues and it was in their periods when laws regarding women protection have been passed and they were treated as equal citizens of the country.”
Qaimkhani said that she was very keen to take all stake holders into confidence in order to provide safety and security to women and she was very proud to announce that the NGOs had provided their full cooperation in this regard.
Speaking on the occasion, Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) Sindh lawmaker, Seema Zia, said that this matter should not be treated on party basis; instead all women parliamentarians should unite to raise voice against exploitation of women.
She applauded the establishment of the helpline and said that it would now be responsibility of the department to resolve each of the registered complaint. “There are so much problems being faced by women that sometimes it seems that we will not be able to resolve these issues. Not only in the rural areas where women face problems regarding rape, Wanni and other matters, but women in the cities also face issues like sexual harassment.”
Speaking on the occasion, Roshni helpline representative, Ahmed Raza said that there had been an increase in violence against women on social networks but the government has no law to curb it. He said that several cases regarding blackmailing of women on social sites have been reported with the helpline but no action could be taken due to absence of any law.
Aurat Foundation representative, Mehnaz Rehman, said that last federal government of the PPP had announced to observe this day as National Women Day. Recalling scenes from the era of Ziaul Haq, she said that we celebrate 12th February as women day because on this date in 1983, a procession calling for women rights was tortured by police. “It was such a severe action against women by the then dictator Ziaul Haq that half of the women were shifted to hospitals and the remaining to prison,” she added.
Other speakers including Secretary women development department, Badar Jamil Mandhro, Additional Secretary Women development department, Akhter Inayat, representatives of NGOs also shed a light on the problems being faced by the women in the rural and urban areas of the province. The speakers applauded the laws made by the department to curb women harassment but called for implementation of those laws in order to effectively ensure security for the women.