SPO launches policy advocacy to support implementation and gender violence response services
Signalling change in the mindset as regards women’s rights, the Sindh Assembly has played a major role in pro-women legislation and set a precedent for other provinces, said Agha Siraj Durrani on Thursday.
The speaker of the provincial legislature was the chief guest at a ceremony organised by the Strengthening Participatory Organisation (SPO) on Thursday to launch its project titled ‘Policy Advocacy & Research to Strengthen Implementation of Pro-Women Legislation & Gender-Based Violence Response Services in Sindh’.
The meeting raised the issue of lack of implementation of laws and their awareness in society on the level of the masses as well as proposed solutions.
Terming three laws passed by the Sindh Assembly – ‘Domestic Violence (Prevention & Protection) Act 2013’, ‘Sindh Child Marriages Restraint Act 2013’ and ‘Sindh Commission on the Status of Women Act, 2015’ – most important, Durrani said their implementation was the foremost responsibility of the relevant departments.
“Legislation for women and human rights received overwhelming support by members of the Sindh Assembly, irrespective of their party line as well as by society,” he added.
Pakistan Muslim League-Functional’s Mahtab Akbar Rashdi gave a detailed historical perspective of legislation in the assembly for the protection of women’s rights. She said that despite pressure from some sections of society, the legislature had passed a number of important laws.
“The Sindh Assembly has passed more pro-women laws than any other province, and it is because Sindh is the land of Sufis and tolerance,” she added.
Slamming the dictatorship of General Ziaul Haq, she said it was the worst era for women in Pakistan because it had brought with it several anti-women laws such as the Qanun-e-Shahadat and the Hudood Ordinances.
Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Dr Sikandar Ali Shoro said pro-women legislation was his party’s top priority. “For electoral reforms, we made several recommendations for ensuring a better environment for women’s participation in the voting process.”
Prominent rights activist Anis Haroon thanked the provincial lawmakers as well as praised their efforts for passing pro-women laws in the Sindh Assembly.
PPP’s Faqir Dad Khoso, Saira Shahliani and Iram Khalid, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s Sorath Thebo, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Dr Seema Zia, Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s Naheed Begum, SPO Board of Directors Sindh Member Sadiqa Salahuddin, and civil society and political activists also attended the ceremony.
SPO Hyderabad Regional Head Mustafa Baloch briefed the participants on the national support organisation and its various projects. Before the ceremony was concluded, Durrani distributed appreciation awards among the parliamentarians and activists for their contribution towards women’s development and protection of their rights.