KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly was informed on Friday that there were no official hostel arrangements for working women in the province.

Furnishing a statement and replying to written and verbal queries of lawmakers during Question Hour in the provincial assembly, Women Development Minister Syeda Shehla Raza said that there was an Annual Development Programme scheme by the name of ‘Working Women Hostel at Shaheed Benazirabad’.

However, she said, the project could not be launched as the designated building for the working women hostel was under the possession of police department.

The minister said only five rooms of the building were handed over to women development department. She said that ADP scheme was closed on reduced cost last year as the given accommodation was not sufficient for the purpose of hostel.

“Due to above reason, there is no working women hostel arrangement in the province [operated] by the women development department,” she added.

She said that working women hostel would be started in Shaheed Benazirabad, Sukkur and Sanghar after the completion of Women Development Complex in Karachi.

Responding to a question raised by opposition member Arif Mustafa Jatoi, she said that the women development department was not running any ladies club across the province.

Replying to another question asked by Mr Jatoi, the minister said that there were no “shelter houses”

under the administrative control of the women development department. However, the department referred cases to different shelter homes working under the administrative control of the social welfare department.

She said that efforts were being made to bring the shelter homes under the administrative control of the women development department.

Responding to a question raised by opposition member Rabistan Khan, the minister said that the women development department conducted several sessions on Child Marriage Restraint Act in all districts of the province.

She said that as many as 57 cases of child marriages were reported and action was taken against the violators.

The minister underlined the need of taking nikah-khawans and area councillors on board to deal with the menace of child marriages.

She said that the incidence of child marriage was on an upward trend in rural parts of the province where child mortality rate was high due to such marriages.

Responding to a question, she added that there was no officer working in her department on deputation. “No officer of the women development department is working on deputation in any other department either,” she said.

Published in Dawn, March 2nd, 2019

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