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Call for joint efforts to end violence against women

KARACHI: Speakers at a seminar have urged civil society, the media and other organisations to make collective efforts to bring an end to violence and all ill practices against women.

Stressing measures to improve the police department so that it could efficiently serve victims of violence, they said that rape and violence victims should not come under any sort of pressure and must speak out against their tormentors.

The seminar on “Efficient state service provision to rape survivors: role of police department” was organised by a non-governmental organisation, War Against Rape (WAR), at a local hotel here on Thursday.

Addressing the seminar, Adviser to the Sindh Chief Minister Sharmila Farooqi said that the role of police was crucial in fighting rape and violence against women.

She urged all sections of society to take joint steps to eradicate violence against women, adding that the police should also adopt new and the latest methods of investigation in such cases.

However, she also criticised the police, saying that “attitude of policemen towards the rape victims is condemnable”.

She suggested recruiting more women officers in the police department to deal with all women-related cases.

She asked police officers to carry out investigations without accepting any political pressure and urged the media not to highlight names and pictures of rape victims and protect their privacy.

Sindh Women Development Minister Tauqeer Fatima Bhutto said that campaigns should be initiated to raise awareness among women about their rights and that all sections of society should work together in order to stop all sorts of harassment, adding that role of the media was essential in this regard.

She said that the women development department had established eight complaint centres in different districts of the province and people should lodge complaints to bring culprits to book.

Addressing the participants of the seminar, Justice Majida Rizvi said that educated people were required in the police and other departments in order to make these departments progressive and efficient.

She called for change in collective public behaviour to eradicate violence against women and praised efforts of different sectors working in this regard.

Senator Sherala Malik said that several steps were needed to be taken to empower women.

She suggested trauma counselling facilities for rape victims and rape cases should be dealt on a priority basis.

MNA Fauzia Aijaz stressed the need for removing ill practices and customs from society.

She also suggested conducting the investigation of rape cases on a priority basis.

DIG (east) Abdul Khaliq Sheikh said that the police were playing their role in fighting violence against women.

It was the responsibility of the police to protect life and property of people, he said.

He urged different sectors, including non-governmental organisations, to come forward and make their suggestions in order to improve performance of the police department.

Additional Inspector General of Police Zafar Farooqi said that three women police stations had been established in Karachi.

The department required women police officers to deal with sensitive cases, like rape and other women-related issues, he said.

He was of the view that state of women in society was far from satisfactory, and said that collective approach and efforts were required in order to strengthen women.

“Because of traditions and norms, rape victims and their families are reluctant to speak about their agony which forces them to stay silent,” he said.

Abdul Hai of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, DSP Najma, Advocate Zaib, Deputy Director of Women Development Department Musarrat Jabeen and others spoke.
Source: Dawn
Date:11/27/2009

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