HYDERABAD: Provincial ombudsman’s office Director General Syed Abdullah Shah said on Monday that Sindh had taken the lead by establishing the office of ombudsman for protection against harassment to women at workplaces.
Addressing a seminar at Sindh University held as part of an awareness campaign organised by the provincial ombudsman’s office and later speaking to reporters on Monday, the DG said the administration of this office was working independently and impartially to ensure protection to women at their workplaces.
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Similarly, he said, measures were taken to resolve problems faced by different employees in their departments. He said that initially the office had started an awareness drive across Sindh regarding anti-harassment legislation for women.
He maintained that information would be provided to people regarding the law in different areas. The office had directed all government departments and private enterprises to form a three-member committee, including a woman, on their own, he added.
He said that in case of any harassment complaint, the woman would/should approach this committee and then on its recommendation the provincial ombudsman would take action against those involved in the incident.
He made it clear that those not complying with the directives for formation of committees would face proceedings in the session court of the district. These proceedings would be initiated upon filing of applications by the ombudsman’s office.
He said that those involved in the incidents could face suspension, termination of services, forced retirement and penalty under legislation’s different provisions.
He said operation of factories could be suspended and units could even be sealed on any complaint.
Provincial ombudsman office Registrar Ghulam Hyder Memon said women worked hard more than their male counterparts especially in the rural areas. He said such women must be informed about this legislation so that they could get relief in case of any such excesses and get the accused punished. He said that under this law an environment would be created where women got parity-based rights and felt safe.
Hyderabad centre of the ombudsman’s office In-charge Abdul Latif Chang said that all departments in Hyderabad and Jamshoro districts had been approached and so far three member committees had been formed in 54 different departments as per requirement of this law. He said that private and government organisations were being approached in other districts.
Speakers also proposed that efforts should be made to provide a sense of security to women at public places like bazaars. They said women who moved in bazaars for shopping often felt insecure, therefore such steps are necessary.
Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2015