‘Policies needed to curb violence against women’


Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Thursday asked the Interior Ministry and police organisations to develop and implement policies to combat violence against women. He was addressing the second International Women Police Conference on Gender Responsive Policing, attended by international and national police delegates and Interior Minister Rehman Malik.
The prime minister directed the ministries concerned to take steps to increase women representation by completely implementing recruitment quota, investing in capacity-building of women police, diversifying women’s role in policing and strengthening policing to adequately deal with crimes of violence against them.
He said these priorities had already been outlined in the recently formulated Gender Strategy of Police seeking ownership and implementation for gender responsive policing. Gilani said he was proud to address a gathering of brave women, who had chosen a challenging career and protecting the life and property of citizens.
Gilani said the government was committed to empowering women and creating conditions essential for social and gender justice. “We believe in principles of equality as enshrined in the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” he said.
He said the government recognised the value of women’s participation in public affairs and was therefore committed to gender equality reforms. Gilani said social action programmes during Benazir Bhutto’s tenure were launched with a view to reduce gender disparities and improving women’s access to social services.
He said the government had taken a number of steps that reflected its commitment to mainstream women’s issues in public policies.
In this regard he said December 22 was now being celebrated as the National Day of Women to commemorate the achievements of women and acknowledge their role in the national progress.
Gilani said women needed to be empowered, adding that the Benazir Income Support Programme, the country’s largest social safety net, was aimed at helping them stand on their own feet.
Gilani said besides direct cash transfers to underprivileged women, BISP’s various initiatives impart technical training, health insurance and interest-free loans.
The prime minister also mentioned the enactment of the Protection against Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2010. “I am personally looking after its implementation as I regard women and minorities as my core constituencies,” Gilani said. Gilani said the enactment of bill would put an end to inhuman and un-Islamic customs against the women besides further empowering them to take charge of their lives. He said Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Centres for Women had been increased so that immediate relief might be provided to the female victims of violence.
Gilani said the government had also established the office of ombudsperson to address the complaints of women. Mussarat Hilali, a woman rights activist, was appointed as the ombudsperson. He said the government has de-listed the First Women Bank from the privatisation list enabling it to continue to play its due role in the economic empowerment of women. The government had also approved the induction of lady naval officers and lady pilots in the Air Force.
“The current parliament has a good number of women parliamentarians who have been playing their due role in pushing for pro-women legislation,” he said.