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Reconciliatory committees: Women members get training to settle disputes

By Ashfaq Yusufzai

PESHAWAR: The provincial police department has imparted training to female members of reconciliatory committees to settle cases involving women without registration of FIRs and subsequent wrangling in courts.

In February, the provincial police had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Just Peace International (JPI) to form reconciliatory committees in all the 119 police stations of the province aiming at resolution of petty issues without registration of cases and visits of courts, besides benefiting the aggrieved and offenders.

Police officials said they had completed training of 90 members, three each from every police station in Peshawar, to make the committees operational in the district.

“Initially, we trained male staff, but later we encountered some cases where we desperately felt the need to have women on the committees,” said a police officer. According to him, 30 women, mostly volunteers, had been imparted three-day training about the restorative justice system.

He said training of the police staff had been completed in Nowshera, Peshawar, Swabi, Mardan, Abbottabad, Mansehra and Haripur and now plans were afoot to give training to women in these areas so that the offenders and aggrieved women could take advantage of the restorative justice system.

“Due to shortage of policewomen, we are looking for female volunteers to train them on the new system because in some cases male members of the committees could not play their roles to the desired level,” he said.

He said provincial police chief Malik Naveed Khan had issued directives regarding formation of reconciliatory committees in all police stations in order to resolve conflicts before registration of cases in police stations.

He said training of three officials from every police station had been planned in the rest of the districts to put in place restorative justice system that was gaining currency throughout the world, including the US and Canada, in which reconciliatory committees, consisting of police and trained individuals from the community, pursued alterative ways of conflict resolution.

“However, we face acute shortage of female staff to be made members of these committees,” he said, adding they had asked nazims of union councils to nominate women councillors for the committees.

“We are also trying to include women in the committees to be able to settle disputes involving women. For this purpose, we can use the offices of principals of girl schools,” the police officer said.

He said that before implementation of the system in the remaining districts, female members of the committees would be trained in Mardan, Nowshera, Swabi, Abbottabad, Mansehra and Haripur.
Source: Dawn
Date:12/1/2009

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