Govt urged to appoint woman ombudsman to protect women from sexual harassment at workplace


Peshawar: Representatives of civil society organizations have demanded of the provincial government to appoint women ombudsperson to protect women from sexual harassment at workplace.

Addressing at a news conference at press club, Qamar Naseem, a right activist termed violence against women, children and transgender a serious issue and demanded of the authorities to take pragmatic measures to eliminate it.

Flanked by Chairman Petarian Human Right Organisation, Ihsan Ali Khan, Coordinator Pakhtunkhwa Civil Society Network, Taimoor Kamal, he said that the provincial government had failed to fulfill its commitment regarding appointment of women ombudsperson under the prevention of Sexual harassment at workplace Act.

Qamar Naseem said the elimination of gender-based violence and ensuring gender quality is essential for economic and social development of the country, and stressed the need of creation of proper awareness to prevent sexual harassment both man and women at workplace. He expressed concerns by the increase violence against women that has led to a regression in women’s participation in the labour market and involvement in the public sphere.

According to data of HRCP and Aurat Foundation, Mr Qamar said a total of 4,734 cases were reported during 2004-2016, while, he said the date stated that more than 15,222 women were victimized of honor killings, across the country. Similarly, he said a total of 1843 domestic violence cases were reported, whereas a number of suicide cases were reported at 35,935 and women kidnapping 5,508, in the country.

In KP, he said a total 32 of gang rape cases were reported, while as many as 20 cases involving attempted to rape were reported. A total of 987 cases of honor killings were registered, cases of violence as according to cities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, are incidents of violence in Peshawar were at 104, in Mardan 35, in Kohat 14 and in Manshera 11.

Qamar Naseem, said that the laws concerning women protection and rights, there is a lack of political will in terms of implementation, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Govt has failed to hire the Ombudsperson from 2010 for in relation to the prevention of sexual harassment at workplace act 2010. Similarly, the KP assembly has failed to bring forward any pro women legislation. Despite several promises there is no move on Domestic violence bill, Bill to stop child marriages and acid crime bill.

Ihsan Ali Khosa stressed the need of improving social structures and ancient customs and traditions in order to move forward. He viewed that the challenges are still remain in women’s access to opportunities and equal treatment in all parts of Pakistan. Major structural, legal, social and economic barriers to their empowerment persist and range from discrimination, mechanisms of promotion, women’s choice of career path, difficulty in achieving work-life balance and maternity issues, among others”

Taimur Kamal Coordinator of Pakhtukhwa Civil Society Network (PCSN) says “ Govt of Pakistan must ensure  that decision-making bodies reflect the diversity of the societies they represent and guarantee a balanced perspective in designing and implementing these rules, thus enabling an inclusive approach to policymaking and service delivery to all groups of people, including the marginalized”.

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