ISLAMABAD: On Wednesday, the National Assembly was informed that the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) is an independent body and its basic role was to examine and review laws, policies, programmes and monitor implementation of laws for protection and empowerment of women.
Science and Technology Federal Minister, Zahid Hamid on behalf of minister for law and justice and human rights said that the NCSW has the duty to facilitate the government in the implementation of international instruments and obligations.
The NCSW has prepared a comprehensive road map defining goals, priorities and strategies for empowerment of Pakistani women. The NCSW in its current term (2013-15) took various measures for protection of status and rights of women.
The NCSW monitored women’s participation in the General Elections 2013. It set up a complaint mechanism before the elections and communicated area specific complaints to the Election Commission of Pakistan. The Election Day monitoring identified gaps in the electoral system and issues faced by women, the NCSW through a report made recommendations to the ECP for ensuring/facilitating women’s full participation in future elections.
Aggressive lobbying with the provincial governments was done for 33% women’s representations restoration in the local government. The NCSW prepared a position paper for women’s participation in the local government and sent it to all the provincial governments, relevant ministers and heads of all parties in the provincial assemblies.
As a member of a sub-committee formed by the Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan to review proposed amendments in the Nikah Nama (MFLO), chairperson after consulting NCSW Law Committee and lawyers working on Family Laws submitted recommendations.
The NCSW accords highest priority to the control and prevention of violence against women as it s a major barrier to women’s development and exercise of rights. The NCSW has discussed with Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) the undertaking of a National Baseline Survey to establish area specific crimes against women and their incidence for planning actions/steps. The baseline will help in future monitoring also.
The commission is in the process of piloting a tracking mechanism in collaboration with Lahore High Court, through contributing indicators for monitor crimes against women and track prosecution of such cases. The NCSW filed a petition in the Supreme Count against the role of Jirgas in awarding punishments to women against alleged violations of family honour. The petition was waiting the Supreme Court’s next hearing date.
The NCSW filed a habeas corpus petition in the much reported Kohistan case of the videos of five girls singing and clapping in Kohistan and suspected to be murdered as an exemplary case of killing in the name of honour to take it to its logical judicial conclusion.
The commission lobbied with the provincial governments for the establishment of One Window Facility for Women Victims of Violence in the major hospitals in Pakistan. Sindh government has sent directives to all districts to establish One Window Facility for Women Victims of Violence. Two Hospitals in Karachi and Khairpur have established these centres. The NCSW has facilitated resources for women’s shelters in Sindh as a critical and necessary support institution for victims of such crimes and has lobbied for improvement of the same.
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