Islamabad, October 17, 2017: CARE International in collaboration with PODA and National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) organized a policy dialogue on Gender based violence prevention & response in rural communities of Pakistan. On the occasion the Chairperson of National Commission on the Status of Women Ms. Khawar Mumtaz said that the GBV is the top priority of National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW). The commission is focusing more on the prevention and eradication of honor killing and sexual violence. She further said that laws exist but there is a dire need of implementation and a very collective effort from support institutions.
She mentioned that Punjab as the provincial government has started one stop operation/one window operation to prevent domestic violence and to implement the Domestic Violence Act but that is only functional in one district as it needs to be replicated in all districts. She also said that all the institutions have to work proactively especially the courts in dealing with rape cases.
NCSW conducted a survey of Islamabad and Lahore high courts regarding the progress of cases submitted under Women Protection Act 2006. According to the survey out of 153 cases from year 2006- 2015 only four cases were convicted. She mentioned that the honor killing ratio is much higher in interior Sindh and appreciated the remarkable step of Hyderabad police for establishing the women cell to register complaints and their response within 24 hours. Ms. Khawar Mumtaz said it is time to come out of statistics of GBV but to take practical steps to eradicate by giving more awareness to police and judiciary on the implementation of existing laws. NCSW also is in the process of conducting National survey to see how gender based violence is the biggest hurdle in women economic and social development.
Mr. Saleem from SPO criticized the societal norms, malpractices, patriarchal system and approaches toward rural and urban women. Ms. Khalida Saleemi, Director SACH an organization working for the rights of women, stressed on finding the ways and mechanism to implement the sexual harassment act for rural women.
Ms. Ameena Ilahi, Assistant Country Director, CARE International stated that gender based violence can be best addressed if it is investigated as a ‘structural ‘and ‘institutional’ issue.