KARACHI, Jan 3: The Women Complaint Centre at the Artillery Maidan Police Station, established in October last year, was formally inaugurated on Saturday.
The centre is the first of the 18 facilities to be established in all the 18 towns of the city. Besides a police force, women lawyers working on voluntary basis, would also be available there to assist any complainant.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, provincial Minister for Women Development Dr Saeeda Malik urged members of the civil society and NGOs to join hands with the government in resolving the issues being faced by women.
She said that for certain reasons police did not have a good impression among public in general and among women in particular. However, she hoped, when the volunteers from NGOs and other organizations would start sitting at the complaint centres along with police officials, women complainants would also start approaching them for help without any fear.
Referring to the point, raised by a speaker earlier, that only 14 complaints had been lodged with the centre since its establishment, she said that fear kept women away from police.
Dr Malik said that in many developed countries, women victims, after being rehabilitated, were asked by the government to come forward and become resource persons at such complaint/crisis centres, because they, having first hand experience of victimization, could offer better assistance to some fresh victim.
Pointing out that women were a under-privileged segment of the society, she asked the IG Sindh to ensure that policewomen were not harassed by their colleagues at their work place and that their work environment and conditions were healthy.
Earlier, IGP Syed Kamal Shah said that at least one such complaint centre in each town of Karachi had been planned.
He estimated that at least 10 women officers were required to operate a complaint centre. He said it was difficult to arrange such a large number of women officials at the moment. He urged the civil society to cooperate in this regard by providing volunteers.
Recounting merits, he said while police officials would be working efficiently realizing monitoring by NGOs, the complainants would feel comparatively safer in presence of NGO representatives.
He also urged NGOs to launch a campaign covering girl schools and colleges to create awareness in the students. He said that in many cases registered recently, it was found that criminals used girls to kidnap their target person by luring the latter to some isolated place.
He said that a model of community policing was functioning successfully in one area of the city. As the citizens felt satisfied, the police were also trying to replicate that experience all over the city.
With the introduction of Women Complaint Centre, he added, community policing efforts were being made to improve the image of police so that people in general and women in particular did not feel scared in approaching the police.
Nisar Siddiqui, Farzana Saleem, Zeb Javed, Talat Tareen, Mr Rizwan, and others also spoke on the occasion. Adviser to the PM Nilofer Bakhtiar, whose name was included in the programme, did not turn up at the programme.