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Coordinated efforts stressed for effective implementation of domestic Violence Act

Dec 17, 2013

Karachi (Dec 17): Stakeholders from diverse backgrounds while appreciating the passage of Sindh Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act 2013, urged the provincial government to expedite making of Rules of Business for early and effective implementation.
Participants strongly recommended that other provinces should follow suit with similar legislation. 

Sindh is the first province to pass a law on domestic violence making Pakistan one of the 90 countries in the world which have legislation against domestic violence. National Commission on the Status of Women and Shirkat Gah- Women’s Resource Centre jointly organized a national consultation to highlight the key features of the Sindh law and discuss the need and status of Legislation on Domestic Violence across Pakistan.

Chairpersons National Commission on the Status of Women Khawar Mumtaz welcomed the long-awaited Act as a crucial step in upholding the safety and dignity of survivors of domestic violence.  She stressed on the need for similar legislation in all the provinces with a framework to ensure effective implementation of existing laws. Chairpersons Provincial Commissions on the Status of Women in KPK and AJK, Minister for Women’s Development Sadia Danish from Gilgit Baltistan, MPAs from Punjab, KPK, Balochistan; lawyers and members of civil society organizations also emphasized the need for laws on domestic violence in provinces and demanded effective operational grievance redressal mechanism.

Minister of Women’s Development Ms. Rubina Qaimkhani, Social Welfare and Education for Special People reiterated strong commitment of the government for implementation of the Domestic Violence Law. “Awareness campaign on the law has been initiated by the Ministry and mechanisms for monitoring in collaboration with the civil society will be formulated for effective implementation” she said adding that all stakeholders are being taken onboard in this regard”. Secretary Women’s Development Department, Sindh announced plans for formation of the Provincial Commission on Domestic Violence within 10 days. The Commission has responsibility for oversight of the law and leading its implementation. Protection Committees at Tehsil level will be notified soon with responsibility for providing support to survivors, documenting cases and making referrals.

Sindh MPA Mehtab Rashdi and Former Minister and Chair of NCSW, Anees Haroon recommended linkages between all related departments with coordinated multilateral action of Social Welfare, Women’s Development and Home Departments, police, health, judges and social services.

Farida Shaheed, Executive Director of Shirkat Gah suggested sharing of information among provinces and the need for provincial governments to send all relevant laws and information to NCSW.

Representatives from Medico-Legal community, Civil Society, Bar Associations, judiciary and media shared their experiences of dealing with cases of domestic violence. Dr Sheraz Ali Khawaja from Abbasi Shaheed Hospital deplored the paucity of women MLO in state run hospitals that gives rise to inordinate delay in disposing off cases. Justice ® Rukhsana highlighted threats to safety of couples in cases of choice marriages from relatives who do not hesitate to threaten judges themselves. Sindh Police representative highlighted the need for sensitization of police officials in a consistent manner. Provincial MPAs emphasized guidance and support from NCSW for shaping laws, policies and procedures in their provinces

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