KARACHI: Women Development Minister Tauqeer Fatima Bhutto has said that working women hostels could not be made functional due to the fact that their buildings are occupied by government departments and Rangers.
The hostels for working women were established by the federal government in the late 90s in five cities, including Karachi and Hyderabad.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, she said that the women development department realised the residential problems of working women and was already working on a priority basis for the establishment of one women hostel each at Benazirabad and Karachi.
She said during the first government of Benazir Bhutto, at least five working women hostel projects were initiated. However, it was found in 2008 that the buildings were in the control of the education, social welfare and other departments. Pakistan Rangers, Sindh, also occupied one such building in Karachi, she added.
She said that since the women development establishment and structures were being devolved to the provinces in the light of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, it was expected that the occupied hostel buildings would become the entities of the provincial women development. “We, if provided with the rights of the hostel buildings, will take legal action to get the possession of the buildings,” she added.
She said that the allocations in the head of the annual development plan for 2011-12 amounted to Rs317 million.
She said that a revolving fund of Rs20 million was created to provide relief to women/juvenile prisoners. So far 162 female prisoners and 78 juveniles had benefited, while 49 foreigner female prisoners had also been repatriated to their countries, she added.
Another revolving fund of Rs20 million had been created in the women development department to provide legal aid to poor women.
She said that five women complaint cells had also been established to provide legal aid or relief to women in distress in Karachi, Hyderabad, Benazirabad, Larkana and Sukkur.