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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 1585

Pakistan's NWFP to enact law on violence against women

Colombo, 10 March, ( "Small actions can make big changes," said Kashif Azam Chishti, minister for population welfare and women's development, North West Frontier Province of Pakistan adding that the government had taken steps to enact a law on violence against women.

The Minister, who is in Colombo to attend the three-day Change Makers Assembly of the "We Can Campaign" that concluded yesterday, said that the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) government has taken steps to introduce a bill in the Provincial Assembly on violence against women.

"We have laws against domestic violence, but this will be on violence against women. We will soon pass the bill in the Provincial Assembly and send it to the National Assembly. God willing it will be changed into a national law once it is passed by the National Assembly," Mr. Chishti said

"In our province we are supporting such campaigns," said Mr. Chishti. "The motto of our government is to make women healthy and educated in the coming five years."

The government of the NWFP, which borders Afghanistan, has increased the budget for the education department by three folds. "We have made sure that 70 per cent of the education development budget would go to female education. We are distributing free text- books and give stipend to women to encourage them to go to schools. This has increased enrolment of women by 22 per cent," Mr. Chishti said.

"We believe that if a woman gets educated she will be empowered to fight for her rights. Not only for her rights, but also for her children and family's rights. We will have an educated generation in the coming years. That will solve the problems, especially that of violence against women," the Minister said.

"In our province we have changed the trend. We have a male as the minister for women’s development. The two women ministers in the cabinet are responsible for parliamentary affairs and human rights," he said. "We have tried a small change and it can make a big difference."

Mr. Chishti said there are very few cases of honor killing in the NWFP. The practice of Karokari, giving away a woman for the family in exchange for pardon, does not exist in the province, he said.

Some 800 change makers from Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Nepal attended the assembly to share their experiences and learn more about the activities and efforts to end violence against women in other countries.

These change makers are women and men, coming from various backgrounds, who actively work in the society at the grass root level to make a change in their own lives and influence others.

Inspired by the deliberations and exchange of ideas at the assembly, change makers said that they were eager to return home and implement new ideas and methods to take the campaign forward.

"It was an excellent experience. I now realize that we are not alone in this campaign, we have so many others in the neighboring countries working on this issue. I was really inspired by Bangladesh’s approach towards ending violence against women," said R. Manoharan, a change maker from Sri Lanka.

Anjeela Wasssel from Afghanistan said that on returning back to her country she would develop a strategy to involve everyone including the government to work towards changing the situation of women in Afghanistan. "Violence happens when women do not speak out against it," she said.

We Can Campaign was launched in 2004 and in Sri Lanka it was launched on 24 September 2004. Some 60 organizations are working with the We Can Campaign all across the island. The campaign has mobilized nearly 7,000 change makers so far and aims to have 200,000 in the coming six years.

- Courtesy: We Can Campaign

- Asian Tribune -


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