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Meeting with Social Welfare Department held , Karachi

24-07-2015
Karachi

Meeting with Social Welfare Department held

Pakistan Religious Freedom Initiatives: Leaders of Influence (PRFI) organized a meeting with officials of Social Welfare Department, Government of Sindh on July 24, 2015. The meeting was attended by Ms Riaz Fatima, Deputy Director, Mr Anwer Alam, PCRDP, Mr Nasir Hussain Qazilbash, PRCDP and from AF Ms Mahnaz Rahman, Resident Director AF and Ms Fareeda Tahir, Associate Programm Manager were there.

Ms Mahnaz Rahman briefed the members of the Social Welfare Department about Aurat Foundation’s work. While giving the project introduction, she said that Pakistan’s Religious Freedom Initiative is aimed at dealing with the problems that non Muslim Pakistanis face, such as forced conversion, hate speech in curriculum etc. Ms. Fareeda Tahir, Associate Program Manager shared that the Religious Freedom Caucus (RFC) is the same as Women Caucus in the Sindh Assembly, and that it will be established at the parliamentary level and across party lines. This will include members of the Provincial Assembly from the mainstream parties and religious minorities. This caucus will serve as an advocacy platform for the religious freedom in Sindh and will lobby with other parliamentarians for tabling important legislation and draft bills, undertake advocacy toward desired changes in party manifestos and also setting up minority wings in their respective parties.  

Ms Riaz Fatima briefed the Aurat Foundation staff about the work being done by the Social Welfare Department. She said that 78 women welfare centers are being run all over Sindh. Ms Riaz Fatima informed that the public sector is constantly failing to implement the 2% quota that has been set to provide employment to the disabled Pakistanis. At this point, Ms Riaz Fatima gave some recommendations to help improve employment opportunities for minorities in Pakistan such as applying affirmative action in the case of minorities as well. She said that there should be a separate interview and a separate test for minorities. She also mentioned that in interior Sindh, religious minorities are the majority in terms of population. She then spoke of the medical assessment project which is being run by the Social Welfare Department. Under this project, tests are administered which certify if people are disabled according to the rules set by the Pakistani government so that they may be eligible for jobs under the 2% quota set by the government. Moreover, now there is a monogram which is engraved on their CNIC as well to make the process of getting a job easier. However, she mentioned that the Certificate can only be made once the CNIC has been made therefore the applicant needs to be 18 years or older. Lastly, she mentioned that the Social Welfare Department also provides career counseling so as to facilitate disabled people when they are applying for jobs.