QUETTA: Speakers at a meeting organised by the Women Voice and Leadership Pakistan on Sunday said empowerment of women could resolve the issue of women and child rights.

A large number of representatives of civil society, women rights bodies and social activists and working journalists attended the meeting.

Speaking on the occasion, prominent lawyer Abdul Hayee Baloch said women and children had been deprived of their rights due to negligence of the government and institutions concerned. “There is no facility for children and women in schools, hospitals and other such places.

“Women empowerment is the need of the hour and we have formed an alliance of civil society to work together and struggle for it in the province,” Mr Baloch said, adding that the rules had been drafted and a plan had been evolved for implementation of it.

Human rights activist Saima Haroon said there was only one child protection unit in Quetta and three shelter homes for women in Balochistan. She said there was no help line or phone number for making an emergency call for helping the needy women and children.

She said the draft bill against child marriage was pending in the Balochistan Assembly since 2016.

“Female literacy rate is only 17 per cent in Balochistan and 83pc of girls are deprived of education,” Ms Haroon said, adding that women were deprived of basic rights in the province.

General Secretary of the Quetta Press Club Zafar Baloch said journalists in Balochistan were overburdened because they had to cover news about politics, health, education, sports and crimes. He said despite difficulties the journalists reported cases of women and child abuse on priority. Their difficulties multiplied because necessary data was not available with the organisations concerned, he added.

Published in Dawn, March 15th, 2021

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