Visit to AJ&K

Call on to the Prime Minister of AJ&K

The Chairperson NCSW along with her team had a call for a meeting with the Prime Minister of AJ&K, Mr. Abdul Qayum Niazi on 3rd Nov 2021.

The Chairperson was well received at the Prime Minister Office along with her team and had a fruitful discussion on women's issues. The Chairperson briefed the Prime Minister on the Commission mandate, its evolution since establishment, and current priority areas of the Commission. During the meeting, the Chairperson requested the Prime Minister for strengthening of AJK Commission on the Status of Women, increased women representation in the electoral process, legislative assemblies and their political participation, and possible support from the Prime Minister office in women related legislation and implementation of Laws to eliminate all types of violence against women in the Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

After detailed discussion and deliberation on various issues, the Prime Minister apprised the forum that his office has already given approval for the reservation of 2 seats for women in upcoming Local Bodies elections. The Prime Minister also agreed on the establishment of Women Development Department (WDD)| District offices in 5 districts of AJK, however, the PM also directed the Principal Secretary to inform the SWWDD to provide him with the briefing on the current status of WDD for the establishment of WDD offices. The PM informed that a state-of-the-art Women Police Station has also been established in one district and another 3 more WPCs will be established in other districts soon. The Chairperson was happy to listen to the recent opening of WPC in AJK and further requested the PM to extend the project to all districts of AJK. It was also mutually agreed during the meeting that the State Commission on the Status of Women of AJK will be strengthened through legislative measures. Similarly, legislative measures will also be taken to establish the Ombudsperson office in AJK.

The Chairperson was overwhelmed by the vast and valuable knowledge of the PM on women issues in AJK. The PM extended full support for the empowerment of women in AJK in collaboration with NCSW and local stakeholders.


Meeting with the Leader of the Opposition

Ms. Nilofer Bakhtiar, Chairperson NCSW along with her team had a call on meeting with the Leader of Opposition, Legislative Assembly of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Mr. Chaudhary Latif Akbar on 2nd Nov 2021.

The meeting with the Opposition leader was fruitful. The Chairperson briefed the Opposition leader on the Commission mandate, the development of the new strategic plan, and the current priority areas of the Commission. During the meeting, the Chairperson also informed the Opposition leader of the purpose of her monitoring visits.

The Opposition leader extended full support for women's empowerment, political participation, and representation and informed the Chairperson that his office is already working on bringing legislative measures to increase women's seats in the assembly and shared the amendment with the Chairperson on increasing the number of seats in the assembly. The Chair was also informed that there is only one female seat in the AJK council. The Chair pointed out, that, in recently held local body elections in cantonment boards; only 1 woman has won the seat, and this is due to the neglected political system for our women in the country.

The Chairperson assured the Opposition leader that the Commission will work closely with your office to raise the voice for politically marginalized women and achieve women rights, as per our common interest


Board Meeting of State Commission on the Status of Women (AJ&K)

The Chairperson was invited to the Board Meeting of AJ&K Commission on the Status of Women held on 2nd Nov 2021. The meeting was co-chaired by Ms. Nilofar Bakhtiar, Chairperson, NCSW, and Ms. Tehmina Sadiq, Chairperson, AJ&K Women Commission. The meeting was attended by members of SCSW, Secretaries of Women Development Departments (WDDs), the Law and Justice department, and its ex-officio members.

The meeting was moderated by the director, WDD. The Chairperson was given a detailed presentation by the Secretary, Law and Justice Affairs on the status of women machinery in AJ&K; its operations, activities, laws and policies, challenges, and the way forward.

The Chairperson pointed out and identified issues related to women in AJ&K. The Chairperson NCSW directed the concern for review of Women Policy Framework 2012, identified need for the establishment of Female ombudsperson in AJ&K, strengthening of Women Parliamentary Caucus, increase in the number of female members in Kashmir council, the inclusion of female judges in higher judiciary and also in committee for funds given to women under the Chairpersonship of Additional Secretary, AJ&K.

The Chairperson, SCSW AJ&K thanked the Chairperson NCSW for showing her full support and commitment for women empowerment and the need for strengthening women machinery at AJ&K.


Meeting with the IGP, AJ&K

The Chairperson, NCSW, along with her team had an informal meeting with the Inspector General of Police (IGP) of AJ&K on 3rd Nov, 2021.

The Chairperson was briefed by the IGP on the problems faced by women of AJ&K and initiatives that have been recently taken by the police department for the welfare of women. The Chairperson asked about the nature and frequency of crime rates and the need for improvement in bridging gaps between police departments and women. The Chairperson was informed that Rawalakot district has the highest rate of crimes related to Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) and Gender-based Violence (GBV) and there is a need to conduct a baseline study or a survey for finding its causes and suggestions for improvements. Another problem identified by the IGP was the underreporting of women due to various issues, however, the IGP office is working tirelessly to bridge this gap and activated its social media account for improving its complaint redressal mechanism.

The Chairperson informed the IGP that NCSW will play its role in bringing the UN Women office to provide support in increasing the technical capacity of the women police officers, provide human resources, and also support in mobilizing funds for the establishment of a Women Police Station in one district of AJ&K. The IGP also requested for the training of women police officers and staff. The Chairperson agreed and assured full support for bringing relevant stakeholders to AJ&K and providing training.

Later, the Chairperson was also shown the newly built system at the IGP office on complaint redressal through its website and social media pages. The Chairperson was overwhelmed by the facility provided to the complainants at the IGP office.


Visit Model Camp Thotha

Chairperson NCSW visited Model Camp Thotha, Muzafarabad with her team on 3rd November, 2021. Mr. Chaudhry Fareed, Commissioner, Rehabilitation Department, AJ&K, warmly welcomed the delegation of NCSW at the refugee Model Camp Thotha camp at Muzaffarabad. Mr. Fareed gave a brief presentation on the condition and present situation of Model Camp Thotha to the delegation. He said that there are 659 plots in the camp out of the 470 houses that are constructed and provide facilities to 468 families. These houses are built with the support of the International Islamic Relief Organization, International Islamic Charitable Organization & Kashmir Development Foundation. Furthermore, the Commissioner briefed the delegation that medical, education facilities are also available for refugees at the camp.

After the briefing, the Chairperson visited the camp and asked the refugees for any difficulty in the camp and distributed blankets among the families of refugees at the camp. The Chairperson was pleased to know that women of the camp are getting basic necessities. Later on, the Chairperson NCSW launches the 16 days of activism campaign from the Kashmir refugee camp in Muzaffarabad, calling for solidarity and sisterhood with the women across the LoC who are suffering the worst forms of violence.


Visit Central Jail, Muzaffarabad

The Chairperson visited Central Jail, Muzaffarabad with her team on 3rd November, 2021.

Superintendent Jail warmly welcomed the delegation of NCSW at the Central Jail, Muzaffarabad.

Superintendent Jail gave a brief on the jail to the delegation. He said that presently, there are 140 women prisoners and out of these 2 are under trial women inmates of 5 months and 6 months respectively. The Chairperson raised a question regarding the criminal rate in AJ&K, the Superintendent responded that the crime rate is very low in AJ&K, while one of the major crimes is elopement. Moreover, he further added that a separate barracks for women is under construction and will have all basic facilities for the women inmates.

The Chair was amazed at the lower crime rate among women in the AJ&K, and she asked the Superintendent to provide women inmate data in AJ&K to this Commission.


Visit Women Crisis Centre

The chairperson along with her team visited the Women Crisis Centre on 3rd November 2021in Muzaffarabad. During her visit, she was accompanied by the NCSW Members and Officers.

The Caretaker of the Centre received the delegation and a representative of WDD AJ&K gave a briefing on the working and its facilities of the crisis centre. During the briefing, the Caretaker of the Centre informed that the Centre is presently working under the Women Development Department.

The Chair was very pleased with the facilities being provided to women. The Chairperson assured her possible support in the context of betterment of the Women Crisis Centre.


Consultative Session with Stakeholders, CSO, Women Parliamentarians

The chairperson along with her team held meetings with representatives of Government Departments, stakeholders, CSOs, and women parliamentarians from Muzaffarabad on 4th November, 2021.

Chairperson NCSW briefed the participants about the purpose of the visit to AJ&K, which includes an input for the strategic plan and thematic areas of the Commission, plan activities planned for the CSW - 2021 on the theme of climate change, a celebration of 16 days of activism at the national level, monitoring visits to Jail, Crisis Centre.

The participants of the session appreciated the visit and extended their full support to the Chairperson for the development of the strategic plan of the Commission and provided inputs/suggestions for the strategic plan.

The Chairperson appreciated the efforts of CSOs and agreed to continue its activity with the support of CSOs.


Media Engagement

Ms. Nilofar Bakhtiar, Chairperson of National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) along with her team held a media conference with representatives from Muzaffarabad on 4th November, 2021.

The Chairperson of NCSW discussed and deliberated on the plight of women issues in the AJ&K with the journalist in its media engagement session. The Chairperson told the participants that this Commission shall monitor women-related cases especially Violence and Harassment cases on a priority basis and will consult the relevant authorities for the provision of speedy justice.

The Chairperson also informed that the Commission is also working for the capacity building of journalists on the sensitization of gender-based violence. The Commission is also working on the development of the strategic plan, in this regard the Commission is approaching all the provincial counterparts for its inputs and suggestions.

The Chairperson appreciated the efforts of media workers and agreed to continue its activity with the support of media organizations.