Violence Against Women Centre staff not paid in 9 months


–Punjab govt promises outstanding salaries will be paid within a week


The Punjab government has claimed that the issue of unpaid dues of the Pakistan’s only Violence Against Women Centre (VAWC), which is facing closure as salaries of its staff have not been paid for over nine-months, will be resolved within a week.

Established last October in Multan, under the Punjab Women Protection Authority Act (PWPA), the centre aimed to provide 24/7 protection to women against violent crimes, particularly domestic abuse, rape and sexual assaults. Similar centres were to be rolled out in Lahore, Faisalabad and Rawalpindi in the next phase of the project.

The staff of the centre has not been paid since July 2018, when the general elections in Pakistan took place.

According to details, the centre was not allocated any funds in the budget that the Punjab government led by Chief Minister Usman Buzdar presented after coming to power in the province.

“Staff of South Asia’s 1st Violence Against Women Centre that has saved more than 7000 abused women is without salary since 9 months. Working without Electricity and Water to save many more women seeking help. What would it take for the Punjab government to release their dues” tweeted Salman Sufi, who was responsible for enacting the Punjab Protection of Women Act.

The issue was picked up on twitter by different activists and lawyers, who offered to lend legal and technical support to the centre, that has continued to provide legal assistance, shelter and counselling to women despite having been cut off by the government.

“PTI female lawmakers have always supported such initiatives whenever I was launching them in Punjab. Hope they are able to convince party leadership to support these” Sufi said in another tweet, which was picked up by PTI MNA Maleeka Bokhari.

“Thank you Salman. The protection of women, specifically the most disadvantaged & vulnerable is a top priority for the PTI Gov both at Federal & Provincial level. Will look into this” she said in a different tweet.

Responding to Bokhari’s tweet, Chief Minister Usman Buzdar’s Chief Spokesperson, Dr Shahbaz Gill, claimed that the issue would be solved within a week.