KARACHI: Sindh Women Development Minister Syeda Shehla Raza has said that her department was severely understaffed and lacked resources.

She said this at a consultative meeting on safe houses organised by the Sindh Commission on the Status of Women (SCSW) on Friday.

The event was organised with representatives of district administration, the social welfare and women development departments and other stakeholders with the support of the Strengthening Participatory Organisation (SPO).

“A department cannot run ... without strength and support,” said Ms Raza while committing to bringing about structural changes as per the law to activate the department.

Need stressed for legislation on issue of safe houses and Darul Amans

Regarding safe houses, she said there was a need for running a one-window operation with the support of all line departments and non-governmental organisations.

She also said that the first thing to be done was to work on legislation so that these safe houses could come under the women development department.

SCSW chairperson Nuzhat Shirin said that the objective of the meeting was to fulfil the court orders issued to the commission on the issue of safe houses.

She shared that the SCSW had visited safe houses and Darul Aman (shelter homes) and also asked for reports from district administrations. “The SCSW’s observations on the current situation of safe houses are that there is no clear rationale about the functioning of safe houses. It is also not clear whether there is any controlling and reporting authority for them. Officers, caretakers of safe houses also do not exist as the budgetary mechanism for them is unclear, vague or unavailable as the women of the community have no awareness regarding the availability of safe houses.”

She said that the SCSW would develop the mechanism to run safe houses for streamlining controlling authority, budgetary allocations, human resources and SOPs. Raheema Panhwar, regional coordinator of SPO, gave a brief introduction of her organisation and explained that it was one of their programmes to strengthen the commission so it could work for improving the lives of women in Sindh.

Civil society members Anis Haroon and Sartaj Aziz from Women Protection Cell, Malka Khan, Tahir Iqbal and others also shared their observations and recommendations.

These include a need for legislation on the issue of safe houses and Darul Amans and the subsequent working on legal aspects to define the controlling authority, SOPs for custody issues, length of stay of admitted person, rights of the admitted person availing the facility of safe houses, the role of police, the role of WDD, SWD and security.

It was also emphasised that there was an urgent need for developing simple and clear mechanisms for the working of safe houses in Sindh.

Published in Dawn, October 7th, 2018

Opinion

Editorial

ICJ rebuke
Updated 26 May, 2024

ICJ rebuke

The reason for Israel’s criminal behaviour is that it is protected by its powerful Western friends.
Hot spells
26 May, 2024

Hot spells

WITH Pakistan already dealing with a heatwave that has affected 26 districts since May 21, word from the climate...
Defiant stance
26 May, 2024

Defiant stance

AT a time when the country is in talks with the IMF for a medium-term loan crucial to bolstering the fragile ...
More pledges
Updated 25 May, 2024

More pledges

There needs to be continuity in economic policies, while development must be focused on bringing prosperity to the masses.
Pemra overreach
25 May, 2024

Pemra overreach

IT seems, at best, a misguided measure and, at worst, an attempt to abuse regulatory power to silence the media. A...
Enduring threat
25 May, 2024

Enduring threat

THE death this week of journalist Nasrullah Gadani, who succumbed to injuries after being attacked by gunmen, is yet...