Aurat Publication & Information Service Foundation
Show & Tell Convention on June 15, 2016, Islamabad


Show & Tell Convention on June 15, 2016

Aurat Foundation, in collaboration with Trocaire and AusDFAT organized a Show & Tell Convention on 15 June, 2016 at Islamabad.

The event was organized to provide an opportunity to the event, Gender Based Violence (GBV) response institutions to showcase their performance and services related to the strategies adopted for minimizing GBV against women and girls. The institutions like Women Parliamentary Caucus, National Police Bureau, Ministry of Human Rights, medico-legal officers and shelters etc. from the national and provincial capitals (Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) highlighted their progress within their respective domains and the challenges faced during effective service delivery.

Mr. M Hassan Mangi, DG (IC), Ministry of Human Rights, in his address that said that the ministry is pro-actively working on fine-tuning of various women and children friendly laws and would very soon sent to the parliament.  For example, the draft policy on violence against women, recently developed in collaboration with Aurat Foundation, would soon be sent for approval.  Similarly, the ministry has successfully introduced some amendments in the Criminal Law (Second Amendment) Act 2016, recently signed by the President of Pakistan, which states that any cruelty with the child would be dealt with as criminal activity.  An amendment has been made in section 83 of  the PPC in which age of  a  child has  been increased from seven to  ten tears  when s/he is  able to judge the  consequences of  his /  her conduct.  

The ministry is also working on devising a law to address the child labour in the Islamabad Capital Territory.  “We are also working on to finally fine tune the draft policy for home-based women workers and adopt it for implementation. Laws Reforms Committee in the Senate is also reviewing law to end violence against women and girls workers”, he further said.

Ms.  Rabeea Hadi, refereeing to Mr. Hasan Mangi’s comments on the proposed policy on violence against women, said that the draft policy is present on the website of the Ministry of Human Rights for the comments from parliamentarians and concerned women and human rights activists and government institutions from all four provinces.  The increase in number of reported cases of violence against women sometimes put us in deep disappointments but in events like this where we share our experiences gives us hope and provide us joint strategies on combating violence against women, she further said.

Mr. John O Brien, Country Director, Trocaire, while briefing Trocaire’s work on ending violence against women, in his address said that Trocaire is also struggling hard with the national civil society organizations to end violence against women.

Ms. Shaista Pervaiz Malik, Chairperson Women Parliamentary Caucus (WPC), while addressing the gathering, said that WPC has been on the forefront to ensure women’s empowerment through active legislation.  She said the WPC is building partnership with civil society and national and international organizations to end the violence against women.  Recently MoUs  were signed with some credible organization like Aurat Foundation  and Henrich Boll Foundation. 

Ms. Huma Chughtai, Technical Advisor, WPC, gave a detail presentation on WPC’s vision, mission, key objectives and strategies.  She said that the MoU signed  between Aurat Foundation & WPC  on 19 May 2015 had  three basic features to work  on:  addressing GBV issues according to their respective mandates, discussing the existing pro-women laws, procedural and implementation gaps, and sensitization of the legislators on primary and secondary legislations on women issues, and to enhance the knowledge of newly elected women parliamentarians on legislative process through seminars and workshops proposed by Aurat Foundation for members of the Caucus.

During this one year partnership, various activities were organized including orientation session on ‘Legislative Business and Role of Parliamentarians in Pro-Women legislations’, study circles on ‘SGDs Post Development Agenda’, observing ‘16 Days of Activism to Eliminate VAW’, addressing women’s and girl’s health issues in Pakistan and its impact on their productive economic lives, and on ‘Child Marriages Restraint Bill 2014’ etc.

Ms.  Mahreen Maqsood, Deputy Director, National Police  Bureau, appreciated the  reporting of  violence against  women  by the Gender Crime Cell and  National Police Bureau, though NPB does  not have  infrastructure and resources to  publish that  data.  The National Police Bureau acts as think tank for Ministry of Interior on collecting and analyzing the data on cases of violence against women.  She said that to end violence against women country needs a national action plan.  She also emphasized on providing training to women police to actively response the violence against women cases, and for that the NPB need support from civil society organizations.  The NPB is working on toll free help line for women and children to address the cases of violence against women and girls, and we would be looking forward to bring all the similar toll free lines established by other organizations together at one point.

Ms. Munaza  Hasan, member  WPC, commenting on  the  work done reference to the partnership between Aurat Foundation and WPC, said that  although we still need more  laws on women’s rights, but  we shall strive hard that the already passed  laws are executed fully.   She also pointed out that there is a need that women shall be given easy knowledge and information about such laws so that they could defend their rights.

Mr. Shafqat Javaid, Director General, Ministry of Health, said, “as a doctor I see violence against women is a public health issue.  We need to see if the health policy also addresses violence against other sections of society e.g. the trance-gender community”.  He also pointed out gaps in the medico-legal services in addressing the gender based violence which needed to be addressed.  He also  pointed out  that  the lack of  gender based  data on  violence  against  women hinders  addressing the  GBV.   The issue of reporting violence cases is weak, and it is leaked out to help the culprits, he further said.

Ms.  Meraj Khan, Member KP Assembly, and  Chairperson Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Women  Parliamentary Caucus, in her address said that  united  struggle of members of the provincial caucus has brought many achievements e.g. having a separate ministry for  women and celebrating  the International Women’s Day in the provincial assembly for  the first time.  While pointing out the gaps in addressing women’s empowerment, she said that there is no ‘women empowerment department’.  She also criticized the allocation of very low budget for women’s social welfare i.e. only Rs.1.6 billion in the recent budget, but she hoped to get some more budget form Chief Minister’s special budget.

Mr. Taimur Khattak, Deputy Public Prosecutor from KP, in his presentation, covered the state of prosecution in GBV cases.  While briefing on  the achievements on women’s  empowerment in the  KP, he mentioned the passage of The North-West Frontier Province Establishment of a Commission on the Status of Women Act 2009, Elimination of Custom of Ghag Act 2013 enacted by Provincial Government of KP, passage of KP Deserving Widows and Special Persons Foundation  Act, 2014, women empowerment policy, wherein Provincial Commission on the Status of Women has been given autonomy to address all forms of violence against women.

Ms. Roohi Khan Babar from Noor Education Trust (NET), in her presentation briefed the audience about the aims, objectives and services of the Trust. The Mera Ghar Rehabilitation Program (Response Program) responds through direct intervention for protection and empowerment of GBV survivors and promoting awareness and education on Fundamental Human Rights.  While mentioning the achievements so far she said that the NET registered survivors 1900, provided free legal aid to 3000 survivors, trained community groups on prevention, response and advocacy, established referral network.

The The reflections on GBV Programme Sindh was given by Ms. Rubina Quaimkhani,  Member Sindh Assembly, Ms. Saira Furqan,  Manager SBBCW,  Ms. Rehana Yaqoob from Shelter, Mr. Iqbal Detho, Lawyer / Human Rights Activists, Mr. Faizullah Korejo,  AIG, Sindh Police, and Ms. Mahnaz Rahman, RD, Aurat Foundation.