As many as 30 inheritance disputes were identified under the Programme for Gender Justice through Joint Collective Community Action in 2011, of which five were already in courts, Gender Justice Programme Co-ordinator Razia Malik said on Monday.
She was speaking at a seminar arranged jointly by the Islamia University of Bahawalpur (IUB), the South Asia Partnership and the Cholistan Development Council. The seminar concluded with her briefing on the annual report for 2011.
She said three of the five court cases for which legal aid was provided to women were solved. The remaining two were still under trial.
Of the other 25 disputes, she said, eight were solved through counselling sessions with both parties.
Malik said 37 of the 62 forced marriage complaints in 2011 were also ‘resolved’ through counselling sessions. She said legal aid was provided to women in forced marriage cases in courts. “Four of seven such cases have been decided and the remaining are under trial,” she said.
She said appropriate action was taken in 13 cases of domestic violence, nine of children’s custody, two of harassment at work place and four other police cases.
Earlier, IUB Vice Chancellor Muhammad Mukhtar said the programme had been effective in raising awareness among women in Bahawalpur about their right to inheritance and consent for marriage.
The vice chancellor said the university would continue arranging activities to raise awareness about women’s rights. He said protection of women’s rights was espoused by all religions. He said instructions on right to inheritance of family property were an example of the importance Islam gave to women’s rights.
He said the programme had also helped check gender-based discrimination at the university by raising awareness among the students and the faculty.
CDC director Farooq Ahmed Khan said protection of women’s right to inheritance and an end to the practice of marriage without consent were critical to establishment of peace in the society.
He said a series of seminars on gender justice would be arranged over three months in collaboration with the IUB, Radio Pakistan, and Police and Health Departments.
Radio Pakistan Bahawalpur Station Director Syed Tariq Shah said his organisation would continue contributing to the cause of gender equality by producing documentaries and other programmes to raise awareness about the issue.
Media Studies Department Assistant Professor Dr Muhammad Shehzad said the media should educate people on gender equality.
IUB Public Relations Officer Shehzad Ahmed Khalid, Assistant Director (Information) Nasir Hameed, CDC Programme Officer Aleem Ahmed Khan, Radio Pakistan senior producers Sajjad Ahmed Bari and Ashiq Abbasi, District Officer (Health) Dr Muhammad Aslam, Federal Bureau of Revenue Inspector Syed Tanseerul Hassan Shah and Revenue Officer Jam Muhammad Aslam were also present at the occasion.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th, 2012.