ISLAMABAD – To commemorate 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence,USAID supported Gender Equity Program (GEP) of Aurat Foundation (AF) organized a panel discussion themed around the mindset that hinders women from accessing police stations.
The discussion entitled “Towards Women Friendly Policing” started with a video clip highlighting general opinion of women about police stations and police department. All stakeholders including police department officials, researchers, lawyers and gender experts made part of the panel which pointed out gaps that need to be filled for true implementation of pro-women legislation.
The views shared at the panel led to an extensive discussion around gender insensitive justice system in the country.
A large number of civil society representatives, lawyers, students, and media representatives attended the event. They recommended training for gender sensitization, inclusion of more women in police department and a separate department for investigation.
For woman seeking legal redress for rape, domestic violence, property rights or cyber stalking, barriers exist or are erected at every stage often ending in denial of justice. Still, if a woman find the courage to fight legal battle, they are often disbelieved or reprimanded for being part, if not entirely responsible, of the crime.
The first point of access, Police, is usually apathetic and often turns the offense around by blaming the woman for inviting trouble onto herself.
The panel discussion was conducted by famous media personality Sania Saeed and included activist and researcher Sarah Zaman, Assistant Superintendent of Police Shela Qureshi, Retired Inspector General of Police and Federal Secretary Iftikhar Ahmed, Assistant Superintendent of Police Irum Abbasi, Advocate Mohsin Kiyani and Rule of Law Advisor, United States Embassy Julia Fromholz as panelists.
GEP Chief of Party, Simi Kamal urged youth to bring change in their social environment. She said GEP believes that women in any country should have easy access to justice at every level.
“Realizing the pressing need to make the judicial systems more accessible to women litigants through trained women lawyers, GEP provided nine-month internship to 192 female law graduates under one of its grants. In year five of GEP, we will again be focusing on the challenges faced by women in accessing justice,” she said.
Assistant Superintendent of Police Shela Qureshi said people believe that they can solve issues of domestic violence related to women at home. “If that is the case than there is so much violence against women being perpetrated in the society,” she said. She pointed out that more cases of violence against women are reported from rural set ups.
Assistant Superintendent of Police Irum Abbasi gave examples of many cases in which police sustained pressure from all side for a victim of violence but the case ended in out of the court settlement.
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