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‘920 cases registered in two years’

KARACHI: The Sindh Women Development Department (SWDD) has registered 920 cases of different crimes against women during the past two years at five of its complaint centres in the province, said Minister Tauqir Fatima Bhutto on Thursday.

Speaking at a press conference, the minister for women development said the centres functioning in Karachi, Hyderabad, Benazirabad (Nawabshah), Larkana and Sukkur attended complaints related to the cases of acid throwing/burn, domestic violence, honour killing, rape, abduction, harassment, property, custody of children, dissolution of marriage and so forth.

“We have successfully managed to provide needed assistance and support to 650 of the complainants while 270 cases are still in process,” said the minister.

In reply to a question, she said sociologists, psychologists, and legal counsellors at those centres also played a major role in mediating disputes between couples.

At the same time victims of violence as well as those exposed to the risk of being killed on one or another pretext were also assisted in getting registered FIRs and to pursue a legal battle.

“The complainants in need are also provided required medical assistance,” she said.The minister said the highest number of cases were reported at the centres in Karachi (365), followed by Benazirabad (230), Hyderabad (140), Larkana (135) and Sukkur (50).

A vast majority of those cases had been solved while the remaining were under process, she said.

She said there was an urgency to sensitise people in general but particularly those from the rural areas about the SWDD complaint centres in the province.

Ms Bhutto appealed to the media to help the government in its endeavour to empower the marginalised sections of society.

In reply to a question, the minister said there was also an urgent need to develop coordination between the SWDD and the human rights department of the province.

About legislation undertaken at the provincial assembly for the protection of women rights, she said though many bills had been unanimously adopted by the members of the assembly, a few were pending.

In this context, she referred to the bills against women trafficking, domestic violence, child marriage and protection of economic and legal rights of home-based workers.

The minister appreciated the law and home departments for their assistance to women legislators keen to provide legal protection to womenfolk.

“All women legislators need to rise above their respective party affiliation for the cause of less fortunate women,” she said.

Ms Bhutto said an “absolute” commitment was needed to get those laws passed and also duly implemented.

The minister said unanimity was also needed among women parliamentarians of the country against the tribal mindset.

In reply to another question, she said the SWDD was running different projects for the socio-economic empowerment of women and needed a raise in the budgetary allocations for the extension in the ongoing schemes.

She said the SWDD was also faced with covert as well as overt resistance by different sections and mentioned that its hostels for working women in different parts had been put under different use and were no more under SWDD control.

The minister also discussed different programmes undertaken by the department to raise public awareness of domestic violence during the ongoing `No to domestic violence week`.

She said the government was committed to the cause of women empowerment.

Source: DAWN