By Saba Rani
PESHAWAR: A governmental body constituted to improve the status of women in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has defaulted on rental payments to a widow who had allowed them to set up their office on her premises.
Shagufta Nazneen had rented out her place situated in University Town to the Provincial Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW), which had agreed to pay her Rs0.12 million every month.
But for the last 13 months Nazneen has not been paid a single rupee by the commission. The reason: there is a running dispute on the rental amount. Since October 2015, the case has been pending in the finance department.
Nazneen, when contacted by The Express Tribune, said: “The commission has made a written commitment with us that they would pay Rs0.12 million per month, but they used to pay only Rs0.1 million and that too with a delay of two to three months. But for the last 13 months it has not paid me even a single rupee.”
She claimed that the commission has been giving her the cold shoulder whenever she has tried to contact the chairperson or PCSW members. “If a body constituted to work towards the betterment of women has failed to provide justice to a woman who offered her land to it, then how will the commission protect the rights of other women in the province?” she asked.
Nazneen told The Express Tribune that government officials also are showing no interest in resolving her problem.
The PCSW was a statutory body which was established under NWFP Act XIX, 2009, which was a joint body of the Social Welfare Department of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Its functions were to review provincial legislation, assess government programmes and projects and monitor the mechanism and institutional processes for social care and justice for women.
The tenure of the commission had expired in September last year. Now a new commission has been established under the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Commission on Status of Women Act, 2017 with a new set of policies.
Commenting on the issue, Minister for Provincial Social Welfare Department Sikander Sherpao, said the proper procedure was not followed when the commission acquired the house on rent three years ago.
“If a government department sets up its office on a rented premises anywhere in the province, then it has to take permission from the finance department,” Sherpao pointed out. “The finance department refers the case to the communication and works (C&W) department for rent assessment which sends its report back to the finance department for final approval.”