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Aurat Foundation moves Protection of Women Policy draft to Punjab Government

Lahore: A draft on the Protection of Women policy has been prepared by Aurat Foundation with the consultation of an International NGO Rutgers WPF which conducted a research in two districts of the Punjab province . The proposed draft on the policy would be presented to the Punjab Government for legislation. Aurat Foundation is advocating for policy reforms in the area of women rights that are based on providing protection with dignity.

A Provincial consultation meeting was organized by the Aurat Foundation on Domestic Violence against Women here this evening. At the consultation meeting review the women protection policy and bill with proposed amendments were reviewed. The findings and recommendations were shared with the Women Parliamentarians, Lawyers and members of civil society organization. Programme Manager Rutgers WPF, Kanwal Qayyum while presenting her research of two districts of the Province D.G. Khan and Muzafferghar, said that in March 2012, some visible progress in has been done in legal reforms for the protection of women in the province. She said that In our society women living in distress, they are at the mercy of abusive in-laws and husband. Dowry deaths, domestic violence and abandonment of wedded women are common. Unskilled women can get only poorly paid jobs, have no bargaining skill.

Penal laws in Pakistan which aimed at punishing the perpetrators of crimes against women including the Pakistan Penal Code 1860 and Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2010. However, corrective or remedial justice to rectify the wrong done to a woman victim is absent in our legal system. This state of affairs requires an urgent action on the part of the State to establish a system of rescue, assistance, shelter and rehabilitation for women survivors.The protection system for women survivors will be established to operate in 36 districts and the protection system may include a round the clock helpline with a special toll free telephone, medical help, legal advice , rescue, dealing with missing cases, shelter home, protection from abuse and exploitation, counseling,emotional support,vocational training and rehabilitation .

Training for job oriented courses or vocational training. The district protection system will provide relief to a woman survivor who is over 16 years of age and is, abused/ survivors abandoned, emergency shelter, Trafficked, Mentally ill, Affected by conflicts/disasters. Single women, widows, abandoned
The District Women Protection Committee will be the principal policy-making body. District Coordination Officer will be the Chairperson of the Committee.

The Committee will meet once a quarter and discuss different issues of protection system, review its work, liaison. Constitution has given equal right to both men and women and allowed special measures to be taken by the State for women. To check the exploitation against women, stringent laws have been enacted as regards marriage, divorce and succession, dowry prohibition and offences against women. The call for the 21st century should be to develop consciousness among women of their rights and duties. Women should be made self-reliant. All these measures will be possible through a social revolution.

In order to achieve the above goals, specific legislation in addition to existing legal system is required to be developed within the parameters set in this policy. Maleeha Zia a prominent Lawyer also presented her draft on the Protection Survivors of Violence Legislation and Implementation Policy . Resident Director Aurat Foundation Nasreen Zehra, Mumtaz Mughal Coordinator Aurat Foundation briefed the meeting .

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