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KARACHI, March 26: Medical experts and sociologists have called for incorporation of chapters on measures against violence in the educational curriculum of students as an effort to sensitize children as well as youth against its severe repercussions on society.

Addressing a session on "Violence against women" at Sobhraj Maternity Hospital here on Friday, they stressed need for inclusion of chapters regarding treatment of trauma, violence and torture, enhancing sensitivity and competence of local medical graduates and postgraduates.

Dr Ruby Abbasi, Dr Aziz Khan Tank, Dr Shershah Syed, Dr Habiba Hasan, Dr Humayun Farrukh, Dr Shabih Naz Masood and Shazia Mohammad addressed the session arranged in coordination with Ahang - a non-governmental organization.

Attributing indiscriminate violence against women to feudalistic mind-set and low status of women, the experts sought efforts to create awareness among the masses to address the scenario.

Dr Habiba Hasan, senior human rights activist, urged the highly educated women including doctors to realize their responsibilities in this regard and come forward to improve the situation for their less fortunate counterparts.

Reminding that violence was prevalent against almost all women, she referred to instances where even lady doctors were exposed to vehemence by their immediate family members. She also referred to Panah, a shelter home meant for women victims of violence in the city.

According to her, proper understanding on part of women about the issue and strong will to contribute in countering the same could lead to any meaningful change in society.

Earlier, doctors from Sobhraj Maternity Hospital, Ziauddin Medical University and Sindh Government Qatar Hospital had recommended need on part of mothers to imbibe deep sense of human dignity and respect for human rights among their kids.

The general secretary of Pakistan Medical Association, Karachi chapter, Dr Shershah Syed, regretted that gender based discrimination was part of the psyche of both educated and uneducated segments of society. Moreover, he said that weak status of women further aggravated the situation.

He also took strong exception to a plea adopted by a certain quarter to abolish "merit as the sole criterion" for admissions to local medical colleges. Under the plea, it was urged that girls were largely unable to practice medicine and the criterion for admissions to medical colleges must not only be merit.

He pointed out that it was Supreme Court of Pakistan that had issued its judgement for merit as the criterion. He called for creation of viable facilities and conducive environment at local health care units for lady doctors nursing their babies.

Dr Ruby Abbasi, a recipient of Tamgha-i-Imtiaz, mentioned of her study on "Violence committed against pregnant women". Mentioning that 70 per cent of the 300 women interviewees confided being subjected to both verbal and physical abuse at hands of their husbands and mothers-in-law.

Some instances were also reported, where a small percentage was exposed to sexual abuse, instigated by father-in-law or brother-in-law, at times even by other members of their very families, she added.

Dr Humayun Farrukh called upon the participants to seek guidance from holy books in accordance to their respective religions. He reminded that violence was not permissible under any religion.

The president of Pakistan Society of Family Physicians, Dr Aziz Khan Tank, who was the chief guest on the occasion, called for inculcating a strong culture of resistance among the masses to tackle violence against women. Dr Shabih Naz also spoke. -APP