ISLAMABAD: The gender protection unit of Islamabad police has received 131 complaints from women since its inception a month ago out of which 81pc have been processed.

This was stated by in-charge of the unit, ASP Amna Baig while addressing a seminar on Monday.

She lamented that the current laws were too soft on crimes against women.

“As long as the culprits are not punished, the cases of women harassment will not only continue but rise too,” the ASP said.

The seminar titled, ‘Role of Police in Controlling Harassment of Women’ was organised by the Sustainable Social Development Organisation (SSDO) for the police officers.

The gender protection unit with the helpline number 8090 was established by Islamabad police on May 21 with the aim to help victims of sexual harassment and bonded labour.

Ms Baig said that there was a need to amend the law, and the punishment for harassment of women and children should be a minimum of three years.

The ASP stressed the need for empowering the police by introducing a proper law in the criminal justice system to counter the growing cases of harassment of women at workplace.

“The issue with harassment cases is that the accused get released on bail the day after the arrest,” she said.

She said that the accused were arrested in most of the cases but the problem was that they were released on bail within 24 hours.

“As a result, they become habitual of disregarding the norms of the society,” Ms Baig said.

Officers present on the occasion said the primary purpose of police was to protect citizens including women on the streets.

AIG Islamabad Dr Naveed Atif stressed that senior police officers should also be involved in framing laws related to the police department.

He said that harassment of women at the workplace was a serious problem and it was increasing over time so it was very important to overcome the problem of harassment immediately.

SSDO Executive Director Syed Kausar Abbas said parliamentarians should include police officers in the relevant legislations so that those who harassed women were severely punished.

The SSDO submitted certain suggestions regarding police reforms after feedback from the officers of the department.

Published in Dawn, June 22nd, 2021

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