QUETTA: Civil society representatives, journalists and human rights activists raised serious concerns over rapidly spreading waterborne diseases in flood-hit areas of Balochistan, lamenting that the government had not released any data on displaced pregnant women, destroyed girls’ schools, health centres and other facilities.
Speaking at a media awareness meeting jointly hosted by Women Lead Alliance and Balochistan Women Business Association (BWBA) on Sunday, the participants pointed out that many flood-affected women and children currently housed in tents were facing several health and malnutrition issues.
BWBA President Sana Durrani, child rights activist Behram Lehri, senior journalist Zafar Baloch, Nimra Malik, Ghalib Nahid, Behram Baloch, and others spoke on women, child marriage and other issues, particularly against the backdrop of devastating floods across the country that have affected millions.
Civil society, journalists, activists criticise govt for not releasing data on displaced women, destroyed schools, health centres
The speakers noted that floods caused by heavy monsoon rains had displaced hundreds and thousands of women and children across Balochistan and now they had to live in makeshift camps where they were facing health issues and malnutrition.
The government, they said, had yet to release data about the exact number of affected women and children, and lamented that the authorities concerned were not making a concerted effort to resolve their issues.
On child marriages, the participants said a bill was still pending in the Balochistan Assembly for several reasons, including opposition from religious parties and due to some so-called tribal customs.
It was suggested that organisations working on the child marriage bill should approach the political parties’ heads and get their support on the issue.
The speakers also observed that the authorities concerned were also not serious about addressing women’s issues, pointing out that a commission on the status of women was only represented by its chairperson while other members had not been appointed so far, allegedly due to some political reasons.
They observed that the commission couldn’t work without its members, adding that laws passed on women’s rights and child labourers were also not fully implemented.
The meeting also underlined the need for collecting data about women and their issues, primarily because of flooding.
Published in Dawn, September 12th, 2022