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PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister has accepted the resignation of KP Commission on the Status of Women chairperson Neelum Toru with an immediate effect.

Ms Toru, who was appointed the commission’s chairperson for the second term through a notification on Jan 16, 2017, had tendered resignation few days ago due to ‘personal reasons’.

A notification issued by the secretary of the social welfare and women empowerment department on Dec 4 declared that the chief minister had accepted Ms Toru’s resignation and relieved her from the KPCSW chairperson’s post.

Ms Toru was first appointed the chairperson in Sept 2013 under the previous law called KP Establishment of a Commission on the Status of Women Act, 2009, for three years.

Subsequently, the current law, KP Commission on the Status of Women Act, 2016, was enacted by the previous Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s government in the province.

Under the law, Ms Toru was again appointed the commission’s chairperson.

While Ms Toru was not available for comments, sources insisted that she had resigned chiefly due to the bureaucratic hurdles to her work.

A source said the district committees on status of women were inaugurated last year by the then chief minister, Pervez Khattak, but despite the passage of around a year, the required notification for their establishment hadn’t been issued.

He said for the formation of those committees, Ms Toru visited even the far-flung backward districts of Torghar and Kohistan, but she was dismayed to see the sought-after notification not issued.

The source said while the commission had worked on different proposed laws, the process of their enactment was taking too long.

He said during her stints as chairperson, Ms Toru had actively worked on different women related issues, especially some proposed legislations and that the commission had finalised drafts of some of those laws.

The source said the commission had made consultations on some laws including the proposed Domestic Violence Bill and proposed laws on prohibiting child marriages and controlling acid and burn crimes.

Interestingly, after the commission finalised its draft, the Domestic Violence Bill was sent to the Council of Islamic Ideology by the provincial government. The council had returned it with several objections. Recently, the provincial cabinet has approved a much watered-down version of the said bill.

Ms Toru’s major contribution was towards improving the law under which the commission was set up.

Under the 2009 law, the commission was a toothless body under the supervision and control of the social welfare department. However, after consultative sessions with different stakeholders, the KP Commission on Status of Women Act, 2016, was passed repealing the earlier law.

Published in Dawn, December 7th, 2018