Karachi-Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah on Monday took the decision of increasing women’s quota in government jobs from five to seven percent.
Presiding over a meeting of the women development department, he also declared the department to be a women-only zone where only female employees will be employed on all posts. “The applications of male candidates will not be considered for employment in the department,” he said.
The officials who attended the meeting included chief secretary Muhammad Siddique Memon, additional chief secretary (development) Aijaz Ali Khan, women development department secretary Aijaz Mangi and special finance secretary Hassan Naqvi.
“Five percent quota for government jobs is not enough, it should be at least seven percent,” the chief minister remarked on the occasion while instructing the chief secretary to ensure its implementation. During the meeting, women development secretary Aijaz Mangi while answering a question said the department had built working women’s hostel in Shaheed Benazirabad at a cost of Rs13.2 million.
He said though the hostel had been completed, it had been occupied by the police department and the office of Shaheed Benazirabad DIG had been established there.
Upon hearing this, the chief minister expressed his displeasure and directed his subordinates to get the hostel vacated and report back to him. “The hostel is meant for working women only and must be restored for the purpose it was built,” he said.
Briefing the chief minister on the legislation enacted by the Sindh government, Mangi said the women development department had registered 1,007 cases of sexual harassment so far under the “Protection Against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2010” and had managed to resolve at least 887 of them.
Moreover, he said, about 1,000 provincial watch committees had been formed all across the province and while another committee, headed by Justice (retd) Peer Ali Shah, had been formed to oversee the enactment of the legislation.
Referring to the Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act 2013, Mangi said rules of business for the law had been prepared in consultation with stakeholders and had been forwarded to the law department for vetting.
He said the rules of business for the “Early Child Marriage Restraint Act 2013” were also awaiting the approval of law department.
The additional chief secretary Aijaz Ali Khan added that Provincial Commission on Status of Women Act 2015 was also approved by the provincial assembly on March 2, 2015.
“The commission has to examine the policies, programmes and other measures taken by the government for gender equity, women empowerment and their participation,” he said. “The commission will also review all the provincial laws, rules and regulations pertaining to the interest and rights of women.”
Chief Secretary Siddique Memon said the finalisation of Provincial Homebased Women Workers Policy was also in the pipeline. “The cabinet committee has deliberated upon the draft bill and it will be presented in the assembly soon,” he assured.
The chief minister commented that he had issued a grant of Rs130 million for developing an endowment fund to give small loans to women artisans.
“The policy for granting loans between Rs50,000 and Rs100,000 through the Sindh Bank has also been finalised,” said the chief secretary.
When asked by the chief minister, why was it taking so long, he said the endowment fund had been established at the Sindh Bank and the application form was being designed. He promised that the first loan could be drawn by the first week of January 2016.
Chief Secretary Memon also told the chief minister that there was a day care centre with a capacity of 30 kids was functioning in Karachi.
On this the chief minister remarked that only centre was not enough and issued orders to establish at least two more and one day care in each divisional headquarter of the province.