Visit to Sindh
Meeting with the Governor Sindh
The chairperson along with her team met Governor Sindh on 7th Oct 2021. The meeting was attended by the Chairperson along with Members from Sindh and the Secretary of this Commission.
The Chairperson was well received at the Governor House along with her team. The Chairperson briefed the Governor on the Commission mandate, its evolution since establishment, and current priority areas of the Commission. During the meeting, the Chairperson requested the Governor for assistance on the promotion of the campaign during 16- days of activism.
The Governor appreciated the initiatives of the Commission and showed his interest in the campaign upon on the activities to be undertaken with Commission. Further, the Governor's Office also requested the Commission for data on women prisoners of Sindh and offered to arrange surety amounts for release.
The Chairperson further added that the Commission really hopes that with the support from the Governor Office to strengthen the Provincial Commission on the Status of Women and also get possible support in women-related legislation and implementation of laws to eliminate all types of violence against women in the Sindh.
Meeting with the Leader of Opposition
Chairperson along with her team met the Leader of Opposition, Mr. Haleema Adil Sheikh, on 7th Oct 2021, at Karachi. The meeting was attended by the Chairperson along with Members from Sindh, Ex-Chief Minister Sindh, Mr. Arbab Ghulam Raheem, and Secretary of the Commission.
The meeting with the leader of the Opposition leader was fruitful. The Chairperson briefed the Opposition leader on the Commission mandate, its evolution since establishment, and current priority areas of the Commission. During the meeting, the Chairperson requested support on the pro-women legislation and also updated the Opposition leader on her monitoring visits to shelter homes and women prisons in Karachi.
The Opposition leader extended full support for the empowerment of the Provincial Commission and also offered to release women, prisoners, with funds he had available, upon request from the Chairperson. The Chairperson highly regarded the concern shown by the Opposition leader for deteriorating women's rights in Sindh.
The Chairperson also added that she is overwhelmed by knowing the huge problems that women of Sindh are facing as pointed by the Opposition leader, specifically regarding women's rights and their political participation in Sindh. The Chairperson also assured the Opposition leader that the Commission will work closely with your office to raise the voice for politically marginalized women and achieve women's rights, as per our common interest.
Visit Women Prison Karachi
Ms. Nilofer Bakhtiar, Chairperson of National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) along with her team visited the Women Prison on 6th Oct 2021, in Karachi.
The Chairperson along with her team monitored the conditions and other facilities being provided at women's prison. The delegation was shown all the facilities in the prison by Ms. Sheeba Shah (DIG Prisons), including art classes; school for children; salon; stitching classes, etc. The Chairperson spoke with prisoners in detail as well to understand legal aid needs.
It was also keenly observed which was quite clear that legal aid for under trial prisoners was adequately provided by the government-managed committee for welfare of prisoners but women struggled in appeals especially those before Supreme Court.
It was also suggested that NCSW would facilitate and organize an art exhibition showcasing the artwork of prisoners during 16 days of activism and take up the matter with the Governor of Sindh.
The delegates also noted that Prison was underpopulated and adequate provisions for medicines food. The prison staff requested assistance for the creation of daycare for female prison officials. It was also decided that the NCSW would write to IG prison requesting the establishment of a Day Care Centre at least for Karachi women's prison.
The Chairperson expressed that “it was indeed encouraging to see good practices being implemented in this prison and the Commission would like other prisons to adopt the same methodology. It was also good to see other facilities like training, grooming, and facilitation centers for children in the prison”.
Visit Legal Advisor Call Center
The Chairperson along with her team also visited the Legal Advisor Call Centre on 6th Oct 2021, in Karachi.
The Chairperson was briefed by the member of the Legal advisory call Centre Mr. Justice Arif Hussain Khilji. The Centre is run by the Legal Aid Society (LAS) and Law Department of Sindh which provides details on the computerized database and handling of 35,000 registered calls annually from across Pakistan.
The call center provides legal advice to callers from across Pakistan through high court enrolled lawyers with retired Supreme Court judges monitoring quality. The Chairperson suggested that NCSW would ask all Provincial Commissions to enter into collaboration with this Call Center through MoU or other legal frameworks to promote awareness of the facility for women callers.
The Chairperson further elaborated that it was indeed encouraging to see such vibrant and encouraging participants from the Legal Aid Society. The visit to the Legal Advisory Call Center working under the umbrella of the Legal Aid Society was very well established and integrated. The ongoing operations with a team of specialized lawyers having registered 35,000 legal queries this year has been valuable.
Meeting with the Ombudsperson Sindh
The Chairperson along with her team met the Ombudsperson Sindh on 6th Oct 2021. The meeting was attended by the Chairperson along with Members from Sindh and Islamabad and Officers of this Commission.
The Chairperson was received by the Sindh Ombudsperson, Mr. Justice Shahnawaz Tariq on Protection of Women Against Harassment at Workplace. The Chairperson was briefed by the ombudsperson on the issues of workplace Harassment laws. The Chairperson said that after thorough deliberation that this law should be discussed on the floor of the house and urged the Ombudsperson to have laws placed in the Assembly on a priority basis.
The Chairperson added that the Commission is appreciative of the monitoring mechanisms in place for harassment at workplaces. We hope that these mechanisms and methods are exchanged with other provinces to maximize our efforts in ensuring that women have a safe and secure workplace environment.