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Women’s centre’s male staff to be replaced: Probe body finds no evidence of abuse

PESHAWAR, September 15 2005: An inquiry committee set up to probe into allegations of abuse at the women’s crisis centre against two staff members has found the allegations baseless, Kashif Azam, provincial Minister for Women Development said here on Wednesday September 14.

The committee has suggested disciplinary action against three employees of the centre and asked the government to appoint women in place of male staff members.

“All the allegations against the centre’s staff are baseless and inquiry committee has found no proof against them,” Mr Kashif said.

A teenage girl, Safia, 13, hailing from Bannu, who had been in the shelter house for more than a month ran away from the centre on July 13.

Safia, a destitute girl, was produced before the court after she was arrested by police. She told the court that she felt insecure in the crisis centre after employee Naseem offered her money for illicit relations which she refused.

Safia also told the court that she had seen another employee, Rahat, committing immoral acts in the centre with another inmate.

The NWFP government, running the women’s crisis centre, ordered the inquiry into the allegations.

Tasleem, a 17-year-old married woman from Darra Adam Khel also ran away from the centre along with Safia. She also accused the centre’s staff of mismanagement when she appeared before the court. She ran away because she feared that she would be handed over to her family as she did not want to go back to her home.

The three-member inquiry committee set up on Aug 12 has suggested in its report that the two staffers, Naseem, a watchman, and Rahat, a sweeper accused of abusing the inmates of the centre were found ‘negligent’ as women inmates ran away from the centre.

Another employee, Bahadur, said, the police guard, was also found negligent and departmental action was suggested by the committee against the three employees.

The report was also sent to the Women Development Cell for suggestions on Aug 29 but as the gender specialist heading the cell was on a leave and there was no comment from the cell, officials sources said.

The inquiry committee also gave some suggestions and recommended that the male staff should be replaced with women. The committee also recommended to separate the crisis centre from the Daar-ul-Kafala for women baggers which are housed in the same building at present.

Kashif Azam, minister for women development, said that the government would appoint female staff, a resident warden and an assistant warden and increase the security of the centre after the incident.

Source: The News