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Policy advocacy and lobbying meeting held with Ch. Pervaiz Elahi, Lahore


Policy advocacy and lobbying meeting held with Ch. Pervaiz Elahi

A meeting of AAWAZ Provincial Forum (APF) Punjab was organized with Ch. Pervaiz Elahi, senior central leader Pakistan Muslim League (Q) and former Deputy Prime Minister, on 1December, 2015, at his resident. The 21 members delegation of AAWAZ Provincial Forum also included representatives of Mumkin & Alliance against Early Child Marriages.

The objective of policy advocacy and lobbying meeting was to push legislative agenda for women and vulnerability protection for minorities. Participants urged to draw the attention on important long-pending legislations and its effective implantation.

Meeting was moderated by member APF Ms. Amna Ulfat. On behalf of APF, Resident Director Ms Mumtaz Mughal presented following demands:

Enacting Punjab Women Protection Act 2015 (Domestic Violence Bill): Given the high statistics of domestic violence against women and gender based violence, it is vital to have a specific law on domestic violence enacted in order to not just identify domestic violence as a crime, but also to provide support and protection for victims and for the prevention of such offences. Focus on the criminalization of law as opposed to just the response and rehabilitation.

Amendment in the Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929: To increase the age of marriage of the girl child; it must be increase from 16 to 18 years. Girls are affected badly and it leads to domestic violence against girls.

Ammendments in Local Government: There is a need to increase in women’s quotas and reserved seats to 33%. Through amendments in PLGA, provision of more space for women in political participation with a minimum of 33% proportion of representation for women,10% for peasants/ labour and 5% for non-Muslims (with gender balance) through reservation of seats in all three tiers of local governments to be filled through party-based and constituency-based direct elections in a joint electorate system. The same principle must be ensured for all sub-committees, boards, commissions at all tiers.

Devaluation of fiscal powers to newly elected councils: Allocation of development funds to the elected Councils and elected representatives should be made through transparent, fair, rights-based and needs-based process. District Finance Award formula should follow for allocation of fund to districts.

Aamendment in the Political Parties Act to ensure 10% party tickets to women on general seats in addition to reserved seats quota.

Personal laws of minorities: Non-Muslim minorities have outdated personal laws which place women in a socially inferior and vulnerable position.

Law on anti-hate speech: There is need to bring legislation on hate speech with effective implementation plan.

Home-based workers: At present, there is no protection to informal workers and home-based workers in the form of a policy and legislation. The issue include recognition and social and labour protection to informal workers and home-based workers in labour laws the agenda at .

Discussion remained focused on above mentioned points. Participants demanded that PMLQ should play their role to push agenda in the assembly and also put on its party manifesto.

Ch. Prevaiz Elahi appreciated and acknowledged the role of civil society. He said that these issues are critical and need continues attention. Appreciating the services of the civil society, Ch. Pervaiz Elahi said raising voice for the rights of women, children, labour, and common man and highlighting discrimination and injustice the society is highly commendable. He said during his tenure as Punjab Chief Minister, provision of free medicines in hospitals, free emergency, free education, free textbooks, and establishment of consumer courts, Child Protection Bureaus, legislation for child beggars, stipend for special children and free pick and drop service and other 172 institutions were established for public welfare and service. He regretfully mentioned that present rulers instead of carrying forward our welfare works closed these down, thus the rulers committed enmity with the common man not with us. He appealed to the civil society to apprise the people that they should cast votes to elect only those who have experience of service. He assured that he and his party will do its best efforts to push forward the civil society agenda.

On the occasion, PML-Q leaders Mian Munir and Ms. Amna Ulfat were also present whereas civil society delegation included Ms. Mumtaz Mughal, Resident Director AF, Mr. Salman Abid, Regional Director SPO, Mr. Naeem Malik, National Manger Advocacy SAP-Pk, Ms. Ambreen Fatima, Focal Person AACM, members APF Ms. Fakhra Tehreem, Mr. Amir Sohail, Mr. Rizwan Zaka Gill advocate, Ms. Ume Laila, Ms. Qaisra Ismail, Mr. Iftikhar Mubarak, Ms. Bushra Khaliq, Mr. Samson Salamat, Mr. Tanvir Shahzad, Mr. Abdullah Malik, Mr. Azhar Baloch, Mr. Zubair Yousaf, Ms. Nabeela Shaheen Advocate and others.