Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sexual Harassment In The Workplace Bill Implementation In Pakistan.
In the above mentioned blog post I had written about the girl student nurse rape case at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center , Karachi . This case is also facing a lot of hurdles as the culprit is is continuously applying influence to avert serious procedural trial but due ti intense public, NGO and international pressure there is slow progress on the case. The Sindh courts have entered the case for trial and some sessions have taken place. The lawyers following this case both voluntarily and as representatives go regularly for the hearings in which often the culprit is not present. It is a sad irony that this doctor was a medico-legal officer at the JPMC and therefore in many cases he has to appear as giving evidence. How can fair and clear evidence be given in cases where the medico-legal officer himself is so corrupt and criminal minded.
The Sexual harassment in the workplace bill that was passed in Pakistan  in 2009 had to be implemented in all government and other institutions, media houses, educational institutions and private corporations and offices. Initially it was to be started in larger government institutions. No report has been made public as to what organizations have actually done any work in implementation. no general work plan for the implementation has been given.
A news item "Legislation on anti-sexual harassment " in Dawn newspaper dated 2-12-2010 on page two national has given the details of how PEMRA, Pakistan electronic media authority has asked media agencies to comply with this law.The National implementation Watch Committee which comprises the National Commission on the Status of Women and civil society groups, government, private sector and media personnel , is overlooking the procedural nitty gritty of the implementation. I did a television program  last year on the implementation of this bill but I have seen very few programs on media to spread this awareness. There is need to frequently air such programs and also cover cases widely as soon as they are reported, including their progress.Dr Fouzia Saeed who is the chairperson, according to Dawn report has said that 36 out of the 44 ministries in federal Government have implemented the legislation.The State Bank has also issued notice to all banks in public and private sector to adopt this law.
Alliance Against Sexual Harassment (AASHA) in Pakistan has given the details and also the code of conduct for download for the organizations. . As they have worked incessantly for the framing, passing and implementation of this law, their efforts are commendable.
Only through creating continuous awareness about this law, its implementation in each and every workplace in Pakistan will the safe and free environment for work will be created. It is a difficult road but not unachievable goal. It is also close to the Pakistani cultural and religious ethos.

1 comment:

  1. The victim student nurse has become hostile due to pressure on her. She has changed her evidence in front of the magistrate as reported in Dawn newspaper today (8th December 2010.)This often happens because the family is forced and threatened. This victim being from Christian community will also be under a lot of pressure.