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PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Commission on the Status of Women (KPCSW) has announced that committees have been formed in 23 districts of the province to work for protection of women rights.

In addition, efforts are underway to ensure provision of special facilities to women in all the government departments and offices where they could sit, say prayers and have meals separately.

Speaking at a press conference at Peshawar Press Club on Thursday, KPCSW programme director Amina Durrani said that the commission was also working to provide legal assistance to the minority communities in the province.

She said that a comprehensive report regarding the commission’s performance during 2018, its future plans and position of the women rights would be formally unveiled shortly.

Ms Durrani revealed that over 130 different cases of serious nature violence against women were reported during July to December 2018. These cases include five of rape, four of gang rape, eight honour killing, three trafficking, four of abduction, 10 physical violence, over 51 cases of murder/attempted murder, three of swara, five kidnapping and one each forced marriage and exploitation. She added that eight cases of harassment at workplace were also reported.

About the KPCSW’s initiatives for protection of women rights and pro-women legislation, she said that the organisation had made serious efforts to approve the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Domestic Violence Bill from the provincial cabinet, which would soon be presented in the provincial assembly.

The programme director said that the disposal of 18 complaints during the last general elections and passage of pro-women laws were the major achievements of KPCSW in 2018. She said that a special awareness campaign was launched in PK-23 Shangla to encourage women to use their right to vote.

She said that the commission also took measures for provision of rights to women belonging to non-Muslim communities.

Ms Durrani said that the key initiatives taken by KPCSW during last year included implementation of one-year pilot phase of a multi-year project aimed at advancing women’s and girls’ rights in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

She said the commission had pursued the enforcement of women’s empowerment policy framework. She said that they had made vigorous efforts to ensure full participation of women in the political process, especially in Shangla district.

Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2019