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SC writ sought to enforce women rights

ISLAMABAD – A woman legislator has sought a writ from the Supreme Court to enforce “fundamental rights of equality of the women for the full and mature participation of women in the national life”.

A petition filed by Sherry Rahman, Member of National Assembly, in Islamabad on August 21, under Article 184(3) of the Constitution and Supreme Court Rules sought restoration of five percent quota for women in services, and increase in reserved seats in public sector employment.

The petition was filed by Advocate on Record, M. S. Khattak, on behalf of Barrister Kamal Azfar representing the petitioner, and now awaits instructions from the Bench on further action.

Sherry has also requested the Supreme Court for directions to the Federal Government for full enforcement of Article 25 of the Constitution that empowers it to “take affirmative action to protect and promote women’s participation and equality of rights” in the national life. This could be done, the petition added, by special provisions under clause 3 of the above Article as well as of Article 27 and 34 to provide safeguards against discrimination in services.

The petitioner has suggested that:

— Greater representation of women can be achieved through reservation of quota for women (at least 30 percent) at all levels of recruitment, including through Public Service Commissions;

— women not be confined to only social sections of the Government, but also be included at Finance, Commerce, Aviation, Police which are considered non-conventional jobs for women;

— Women members be included in all recruitment and promotion making bodies; recruitment guidelines to include announcement of women’s quota in all advertisements.

— Regular assessment of results achieved in consultation with women in Government service in different sectors and grades so that their concerns are reflected.

— Encouragement to women joining and continuing public sector employment particularly by removing barriers that limit women’s participation in the public sector such as their maternal responsibilities by provision of long term maternity leave not affecting their seniority, relaxation of government rules in age of recruitment, etc be provided.

In the final prayer, Sherry has requested directions from the Supreme Court to the Federal Government to create a gender balance in government employment needs to be made for securing the Equal Rights of Women under the Constitution.

— Order to recruit women in greater numbers now in BPS-17 and 18, so as to be able to fill up the void in the higher echelons of Bureaucracy in the next seven to ten years.

— Order declaration of 25 percent quota reservation for women in all sanctioned posts of BPS-17 of the Federal Secretariat Group and the Executive and Secretariat Group of the Provincial Civil Services, which are designated as direct recruitment posts, at the Provincial Secretariat level and the Federal Secretariat.

— Order that all upcoming vacancies be filled on a 50:50 ratio until such time as the overall quota is achieved. Reserve 33 percent quota for women on posts at the level of BPS 4 to 16 of the total sanctioned posts, in which case, vacancies occurring in the future will need to be offered to women candidates in the ratio of 50:50 with male applicants. This policy may be applied at the secretariat level, both at the provincial and the federal, and at the level of District Headquarters.

— Declare that the withdrawal of Office Memorandum No. 4/2/89-R.2. Of 26 September 1989 for reservation of 5 percent of all vacancies was without lawful authority and of no legal effect.

Source: Business Recorder

Date:8/22/2004

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