Larkana: Civil Society Support Program and Women Development Department Larkana in collaboration with Enhanced Democratic Accountability and Civic Engagement (EDACE), organized a launching seminar on “Violence Against Women” here at the local hotel.
The program was attended by Larkana Additional Deputy Commissioner Liaquat Ali Bhatti, Larkana High Court Bar Association General Secretary Akeel Ahmed Bhutto, Hindu Panchayat Chairperson Advocate Kalpna Devi, Deputy Director of Women Development Department Shama Parveen, Assistant Director Darulaman Larkana Gul Naz, women rights activist Dr. Pirah Sakina Gaad and officials of police, women development, social welfare department, advocates, media persons and civil society activists participated in the program. The speakers called to implement different laws on women rights and also demanded to establish women protection committees at the district level.
Speaking at the program, Kalpna Devi said that women rights situation is very dismal in the rural areas of Sindh. There are many women in rural areas of Sindh who are victims of domestic violence on the daily basis and not much is heard about their agony. She said that domestic violence is on the rise and it comes into public notice only when the women is killed, otherwise domestic violence is hidden behind a veil of secrecy and it remains within the four walls of the home. She added that women in Sindh generally face various forms of violence that include domestic violence, honour killing, physical and mental abuse, rape, acid throwing, burning and killing etc. Devi stressed the need for ensuring formal education in society to create awareness of demerits of underage marriages and impact of violence against women on families and relationships.
Akeel Ahmed Bhutto concentrated on the harmful practices of child marriages and quoted Pakistan Penal Code Section 310 A that prohibits the customary practices in which girls are given to settle disputes or civil liability. He further referred section 498-A, B and C of the PPC that is about women’s right to inherent property, and to discourage forced marriages.
He said that recently enacted Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act 2013 and Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Bill 2013 are the landmark steps for the protection of women rights. Bhutto said that the laws protecting women’s rights did exist but are rarely implemented. He suggested sensitizing police on how to deal fairly with cases of violence against women.
Liaquat Ali Bhatti said that participation of women in socio-economic development of the country is a prerequisite to compete in today’s world of globalization, adding that poverty and ignorance are the root-cause of women rights abuse in Pakistan, as women have no knowledge about their rights and means for achieving the same. He said that the implementation of laws are not possible without the support of civil society members and all stakeholders must realize the gravity of the issue and play their role by imparting awareness at the community level. He ensured full support on behalf of district administration for the protection of women rights.
Afzal Shaikh of the CSSP apprised that under Section 17 of Sindh Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Bill 2013, the govt shall form Women Protection Committee at the district level but since the enactment of the bill, no efforts have been made to ensure district level mechanism. Deputy Director Women Development Department Shama Parveen, District Officer of Social Welfare Faheem Athar Bhutto and Inspector Zarina Chandio also spoke on the occasion.