LAHORE: The Punjab government has reportedly refused to accept women crisis centres in the province, asking the federal government to take appropriate action regarding their future.
The centres have been devolved to the provinces under the 18th Amendment.But, sources said on Wednesday, all other provinces had accepted them. The viewpoint of the Punjab government was that it was not feasible to run the centres in the presence of its own Darul Amaans performing the same functions.
Sources said there were 12 such centres in Punjab, which were established by the federal government. They said the provincial government had also expressed its reservations about the centres when they were being established on the ground that it was running Darul Amaans having the similar mandate in every district.
“One cannot run two institutions providing the same service,” sources said.
Meanwhile, the National Commission on the Status of Women has expressed its concern over what it claimed the Punjab government’s decision to close down women crisis centres in the province, urging the chief minister to reconsider the decision.
In a letter to the chief minister, the NCSW has urged him to retain the centres which are providing highly needed and valuable services to women victims of violence.
The letter says that in most cases, the violence against women is perpetrated by their close family members and occurs at home, therefore, it becomes impossible for the victims to feel comfortable and stay safe at the same place and they have to take shelter at a safe place, patronised by the state where they are provided with required services and support.
Through the letter, the Commission has also highlighted the different roles being played by ‘Darul Amaan’ and crisis centres.
In ‘Darul Amaan’, it says, only those women are kept who are sent through the courts and their cases are pending whereas any woman who becomes victim of violence can go to a crisis centre for help.
These crisis centres are working round the clock and providing counseling and legal services at the same time and playing a vital role in providing immediate relief to women.
The commission has also appreciated personal commitment of the chief minister towards promoting women’s rights agenda in his province and urged him to continue to play his vital role in providing relief to women victims of violence.