The Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Aid (LHRLA) and the Sindh Women Development Department has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) aimed at strategic collaboration for the protection of women’s rights in the province, to evolve a framework for the protection and safety of women.
Signed at a hotel on Tuesday, the MoU is aimed at implementing efforts in the drive to attain the rights of women. Women Development Secretary Baqaullah Unar and LHRLA President Advocate Zia Awan signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organisations.
After the signing, Awan said the MoU is a manifestation of the LHRLA’s and the provincial government’s commitment towards due relief to the women survivors of violence and the protection of their rights.
The other signatory, Unar, said that while countering the trends of violence towards women, we have to consider a whole lot of factors, like the age-old tribal mindset that relegates women to an inferior position for no other reason than their gender.
He said we have to tackle the curse from the perspective of these age-old value patterns that we have inherited. He extended full support to the MoU and said we must not lose sight of the ground realities.
“There are no deficiencies in the law. Hindrances sprout up in the implementation. That is because of our very low literacy level, the grinding poverty and the trial system that simply clings to our value pattern,” said Unar.
He added that non-governmental organisations are doing a very good job in countering these trends. Women Development Minister Shehla Raza emphasised the need to empower women in all spheres: economic, political and social. She suggested job replacement plans for women victims of violence and said that to this end, cooperation of the corporate sector be elicited.
She also suggested the opening of an IT portal for getting the message across to women victims. Moreover, she stressed the indispensable need for adequate funding, shelter homes and public-private partnership.
She said her department has 12 offices in the province at the district level but nothing much can be done of late on account of the ban on recruitment. Sindh Prosecutor General Ayaz Tunio pledged his support to the MoU and said that within a month there will be a viable infrastructure for effective and foolproof investigation of cases, which shall greatly mitigate the miscarriage of justice. Meanwhile, Syed Muaz Shah of the LHRLA talked at length of the methodology of intervention and countering gender-based violence.