Women for protection of their rights to cast votes in polls

Women activists as well as former members of the provincial assembly have demanded fool proof measures enabling women to cast their votes, without any constraint and absolutely out of free will.

Speaking at a session arranged by Aurat Foundation to celebrate completion of five year democratic rule in the country they urged authorities to curtail incidents, as registered in national polls 2008 when certain sections stoped women to cast votes in certain areas of the country.

On the occasion they also recommended democracy within political parties and hoped that all political parties will allocate tickets for winning seats to their women workers.

The programme that also marked passage of a law against domestic violence by the defunct provincial assembly was attended by former minister for women development, Ms Tauqir Fatima Bhutto, advisor to former CM Sindh, Dr. Kaiser Bengali, former chairperson, National Commission on Women Status and current caretaker minister, Ms Anis Haroon, Dr. Masooma Hasan and many other.

Former MPAs pertaining to different political parties present on the occasion mentioned that the law was adopted due to unity among the women members from different political parties.

It was adopted after quite a long wait due to strong resistance from different quarters, they said.

They urged the caretaker set up in Sindh to facilitate implementation of Law Against Domestic Violence.

Maliha Zia Larri, a legal and gender expert associated with Aurat Foundation appreciative the series of pro-women laws introduced in the country during recent years, she said and added that there was an urgent need to sensitise the law enforcers, legal fraternity and people in general about these.

She explicitly discussed different aspects of the anti-domestic violence law and its relevance towards protection of vulnerable members of extended family.

Maliha said special efforts are needed to make people in general understand the importance and relevance of the law.

“This is for us and for our dear ones who have to be protected as owing to their circumstances they are exploited and maltreated,” she said.

DIG Sindh Police, Abdul Khaliq Shaikh said household violence is a bitter reality and implementation of law has to be complimented by public education for which all influential sections of the society have to play their role.

Former MPAs Zareen Majeed, Heer Soho, Marvi Rashdi, Nusrat Sahar Abbasi said it was the time that “protection committees,” comprising government representatives as well as CBOs must be constituted to help victims to register their complaint.

They assured on behalf of their respective political affiliations that the law would be supported in actual letter and spirit.

Activists appreciated the fact that the law encompasses protection against domestic violence of all vulnerable members of the family including spouse, elderly and, or deranged parents, invalid or dependent siblings and other close relatives.

The programme was also addressed by Dr. Masooma Hassan, Mehnaz Rehman, Malka Khan and Rubina Soomro.