20060KARACHI: Provincial governments need to formulate policy rules for implementation of women friendly laws introduced in the country, opined participants of a consultative meeting organized by Sindh Women Development Department on Monday.

The meeting was chaired by provincial minister for women development department, Tauqir Fatima Bhutto and attended by women members of Sindh Assembly and activists.

They sought concrete measures for public sensitization about series of laws introduced in the country for protection of marginalized sections of the society.

“Propagation of laws is necessary so that women and other concerned sections must know about modes of their protection and the rules may also act as source of deterrence for perpetrators of the crime," said the minister.

On the occasion participants with the assistance of law and women development departments' officials discussed in detail different private bills pending before the Sindh Assembly since 2008.

The deliberation revealed that five of these bills including Prevention of Gender Discrimination 2008, Domestic Violence Against Women and Children Prevention and Protection Bill 2008, Gender Harassment at Work Place Bill 2008, The Women Protection Against Sexual Harassment at Work Place Bill 2008 and Anti Domestic Violence (to protect the victims of domestic violence Bill) 2008 had been fully or partially adopted by the parliament.

There was urgent need to ensure implementation in letter and spirit at every public and private sector organization, said the minister.

Women MPAs including Nusrat Sehar Abbasi (PML-F), Humaira Alwani (PPP) and Zarine Majeed (MQM) enquired government officials present in the meeting about measures adopted for implementation of workplace harassment of women bill.

They took exception to claims made by these officials that Complaint Committees have been constituted in 18 of the provincial government departments, each comprising a chairperson of BPS 19 official and other two members including BPS 18 and 17 officials.

“I am amazed as why till date no such committee received any complaint although personally we do come across hundreds of women complainants comprising workers associated with different government departments," said MPA Nusrat Sehar Abbasi from Khairpur.

When that complainant informed can directly approach the committee with her complainant and need not to forward her grievances through her immediate boss the MPA said these aspects must be duly highlighted.

Minister Tauqir Fatima Bhutto informed the participants that Sindh Women Development Department has got translated the code of conduct, an integral part of the law, into Urdu and Sindhi.

These have not only been distributed among all the government departments and institutions including Sindh Assembly but also put on display at prominent site of each and every office, she said.

The minister agreed that similar measures were required for public awareness about the laws introduced for their benefit, with specific reference to women and children.

She said the WDD has also launched a public awareness campaign against domestic violence from November 25 to December 10.

Fatima Tauqir Bhutto said all women members of the Sindh Assembly in close coordination with caucus of women parliamentarians of Pakistan would immediately focus on Bill on Standardization of Age of Marriage, Recognition and Protection of Home Based Workers and Prevention of Women Trafficking.

A representative of sindh Law Department assured that draft laws forwarded by women members of the assembly, with prior approval of Chief Minister of Sindh, would be taken up, for vetting, by the law department on urgent basis.

Participants of the meeting also included former judge of Sindh High Court, Majida Rizvi, Advocate Rubina Brohi and others.

Copyright APP (Associated Press of Pakistan), 2011