National Commission on the Status of Women

Govenrment of Pakistan

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Press Release – NCSW’s Express Serious Concern Regarding Gulalai Case

Aug 07, 2017

NCSW’s Express Serious Concern Regarding Gulalai Case

The National Commission on the Status of Women welcomes the formation of a Special Committee to look into the complaints made by Ayesha Gulalai announced by the Prime Minister. The Commission believes that the Parliament must set the standards for appropriate behaviour and condemn all misogynist behavior. NCSW appreciates the positions taken by the Women Parliamentary Caucus and women's organizations in this case.

NCSW stresses that complaints made by women regarding sexually harassment must be taken seriously and investigated with due decorum and process. It therefore strongly condemns the attempts to trivialize or dismiss the complaint by political party workers, television anchors and so-called analysts in what is tantamount to a media and social media trial of Ayesha Gulalai and that attempts to malign Gulalai’s character have been extended to encompass her sister, squash player Maria Toorpakai.

NCSW expresses grave concern about calls invoking jirgas, threats of banning Gulalai’s entry to her constituency, and the threat of razing her sister’s house. NCSW has challenged jirgas in the Supreme Court and has proposed amendments in the Penal Code to stop the victimization of women by such forums. NCSW urges lawmakers to take forward these amendments.

More maturity and seriousness is required in dealing with all complaints of sexual harassment. Ideally complaints must be taken to the relevant forum, in this case the Sexual Harassment Against Women at Workplace Ombudsman, the Women's Parliamentary Caucus or the Speaker and Privilege Committee of Parliament. Under the harassment law, the Parliament, as a place of work, should institute a permanent committee to take up all such issues confronting all women parliamentarians. In the interim, the Committee being established by the Prime Minister should not limit itself to the Gulalai case, but should inquire into all allegations of sexual harassment in Parliament. NCSW will be happy to provide any technical assistance required in this regard.

Ms. Khawar Mumtaz

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