Kindly find hereby a press article and a few photos that highlight the event and the interface between survivors and parliamentarians. To us, these exercises are essential as they are contributing to promoting democratic processes such as dialogue between elected representatives and constituencies, and demand to access and obtain justice.
The final outcome of this event was simple and needs further follow up: parliamentarians promised that they would support both laws when submitted in the chambers (domestic violence bill, comprehensive acid and burn crime bill), but till then, how to ensure the submission? How to make bureaucracy deliver and work for the citizens who are paying taxes and are therefore entitled to be served by this very same bureaucracy? No tangible solution was presented, although its seems that one option could be the following: question from parliamentarians on the national assembly floor to the relevant administration, so let us ask for a question from parliamentarians: when will the Ministry of interior send the comprehensive acid and burn crime bill back to the NA secretariate so that the bill can be tabled in the NA?
A performance at the event. PHOTO: THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE
In a moot trial on Thursday, a jury of women affected by violence called on parliamentarians to legislate for greater protection for women and better accountability for perpetrators of violence, said a press release.
The moot court, conducted at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts, was convened in a bid to collectively mark 16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Girls and Women, an annual campaign that lasts between November 25 and December 10.
Parliamentarians, civil society members and UK Deputy High Commissioner Alison Blake attended the court.
As the mock court case progressed, proceedings transformed to resemble those of parliament, making a candid point that ending violence against women is a legislative issue which then needs to be implemented and enforced effectively in the courts. The debate focused specifically on acid crimes and domestic violence. The debate also touched upon the political empowerment of women and getting more girls into school.
UK Deputy High Commissioner Alison Blake said, “Investing in girls and women is transformational — for themselves, their families, and their communities. The UK is deeply committed to supporting Pakistan to empower women and to end violence against them.”
Over the coming years the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) aims to help a million more women vote, and will provide important support for some two million girls in school.
Renowned showbiz personalities Sania Saeed, Haseena Moeen, Ayub Khoso and Samina Ahmed participated in the event as petitioners, whereas parliamentarians from different political parties including Senator Saeeda Iqbal of Pakistan Peoples Party, Members National Assembly Tasleem Siddiqui of Pakistan Muslim League (N), Sufyan Yusuf of Muttahida Qaumi Movement, and Asiya Nasir of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (F) participated as respondents.
The event was sponsored by the DFID. Groups including UN women; AAWAZ, the Ending Violence Against Women and Girls Alliance; IHI; We can Campaign; Men Engaged; Women Action Forum; Legislative Watch Group; and Raising Her Voice, spoke to demand stronger legislation to protect women.
The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence is an international campaign that originated from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 7th, 2012.