To initiate consultation with different stakeholders on laws for women’s issues, the Sindh government formed an eight-member committee comprising female legislators on Wednesday.
This was decided at a meeting chaired by the law and parliamentary affairs minister, Dr Sikandar Mandhro, held in the committee room of the Sindh Assembly. The committee comprises female MPAs of different political parties in the Sindh Assembly, including Pakistan Muslim League- Functional’s Mahtab Akbar Rashdi and Nusrat Seher Abbasi, Pakistan Peoples Party’s Rubina Saadat Qaimkhani, Sharmila Farooqui and Kulsoom Chandio, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s Sorath Thebo and Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s Irum Azeem Farooque.
After the meeting, Dr Mandhro told the media that the government wants to initiate dialogue and consultation with different stakeholders, including women rights organisations, before moving the bills on women issues.
“After the 18th Amendment, the provincial government has the right to make new laws and bring amendments to the old acts,” he said, adding that priority would be given to all the pending bills tabled in the assembly. “PPP tries its best to make comprehensive laws.”
According to PML-F’s Nusrat Seher Abbasi, this was the first meeting on the matter and it was decided that the process of consultation with various stakeholders would be expedited after Eidul Fitr. “Multiple bills, including ones on honour killing, child marriage, harassment of women at workplaces and acid throwing, have already been moved by different lawmakers in the Sindh Assembly,” she said while talking to The Express Tribune. “The committee with consultation of law experts, social activists and women rights organisations will review these draft laws and give them a final shape.”
Heer Ismail Soho of the MQM blamed male lawmakers for not being sincere in the legislation on women issues. “I have been trying to move a bill against honour killings in the assembly for the last five years but my plea has always been turned down,” she said. “The male lawmakers are laughing at us, but we are committed and will again bring forward the law for the protection of women.”
Mahnaz Rehman of the Aurat Foundation told The Express Tribune that laws were made in rush without the consultation of proper stakeholders. “The government should not only focus on making this law but also make all out efforts to implement it,” she said, adding that the federal government had passed the domestic violence bill and Sindh Assembly also followed suit, but not a single protection committee had been formed as yet. “The government has to form the protection committees, comprising representatives of NGOs, officials of health and social welfare departments and other notables, to hear the complaints of women and redress the same. Serious efforts, however, have not been made as yet,” she lamented. She noted that there were flaws in the domestic violence bill which should be rectified to make it more useful.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2013.
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