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33 percent job quota for women proposed

KARACHI: The National Commission on Status of Women has recommended to the government to fix 33 per cent quota for women in jobs.

Commission chief Justice (retd) Majida Rizvi said though the women were 50 per cent of the population, they were not getting their due share and equal opportunities, so there was a need for a special quota.

Speaking at a function, organized to award shields to people engaged in voluntary services to the inmates of Panah, a shelter home for women, she gave a brief resume of the commission’s activities.

She said that one of the functions of the commission was to review various laws to see if these were discriminatory towards women, and then submitted its recommendations to the government so that it could take a decision in the matter.

She said the commission had reviewed the Hudood Ordinances and had found many flaws, so it had recommended to the government that the Ordinance be repealed. She said at present almost 70 per cent of the imprisoned women in jails were being tried under the Hudood Ordinances.

She said that the NCSW had also recommended that if the government wanted to make such laws, a proper process be launched and these be made after a thorough debate in the parliament.

She said that the commission had launched an exercise to review the Qisas and Diyat laws, and meetings were held all over the country and now a report based on these meetings was being prepared, and soon the commission will send its recommendations to the government, which can then take a decision.

Earlier, Panah’s Uzma Noorani and Aneela Ansari presented a brief resume of their organization. A report for the year was also distributed among the participants.

According to the report, 78 women, with their 48 children, took refuge in the Panah during 2003, showing an almost 150 per cent increase than the previous year.

The report said almost 84 per cent of the women were in the age group of 18 and 45 years. They said 61 per cent of women had taken refuge to escape violence from their husbands and in-laws, while 16 per cent were runaways from oppressive atmosphere from home, or wanted to marry a person of their choice.

It said that divorce was filed in 21 per cent of cases and reconciliation with husbands occurred in 16 per cent cases. Unfortunately, in one case, the woman after being discharged from the shelter stayed with her parents for a few months, but on going back to her husband was killed the very next day.

The report said the shelter had received threats on phone from some husbands, and a few even came to the office and misbehaved with the staff. In one case, the relatives even took position outside the shelter to attack the residents and the help of police was sought.

It said that the donations kept on coming during the year and over Rs2.1 million – almost 70 per cent of which came from members of the Amnesty International in France, USA, UK, and Austria – were received.

Locally, Infaq Foundation donated Rs500,000 and artist Nahid Raza donated her 24 paintings of “Women Series”, which were exhibited in Austria and auctioned there by the Amnesty International Austria and funds – around Rs274,000 – were sent to Panah.

They said that Panah’s annual expenditure was around Rs1.5 million. Later, Justice Majida awarded shields to 14 people who are providing their services voluntarily to the Panah.

Source: Dawn

Date:4/2/2004

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