HUNZA, Oct 28: Although violence against women in the newly formed Hunza and Nagar valleys is negligible, however they are still deprived of basic health and education facilities. This was reported in a consultative workshop organised by ASR Resource Centre, a Lahore-based organisation, with the collaboration of United Northern Areas NGOs (UNAN) at a hotel in Karimabad the other day.
The workshop was part of the consultative meetings aimed at developing a comprehensive report about the status of women in Gilgit-Baltistan to be presented to the United Nations as part of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Representatives of about 25 village-based social welfare organizations participated in the workshop. The representatives of ASR briefed the participants about the CEDAW convention and said that it is for the first time to include the status of women in GilgitBaltistan and Azad Kashmir in a national level report.
The representatives of local organisations said that accessibility was the main issue as compared to social and cultural barri ers for female education and employment.
They reported that the highly scattered Hunza and Nagar valleys lack schools, colleges and vocational institutes for women. They said literacy rate of women in Hunza was high due to the efforts of Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) but the government had failed to provide further development opportunities to women.
They said that there was not a single gynecologist for a population of about 70,000 women in Hunza and Nagar valleys.
They said AKDN had made a great contribution to the development of women in the region. Representatives of women organisations also highlighted the issues of inheritance and the preference of parents for sons over daughters.
Parveen Ali Jan, member, District Council, Gilgit, said that improvement in education had also improved the status of women in the region. She said health facilities were really poor in the region and there was lack of awareness about what constituted a balanced diet particularly during pregnancy. She said nutritional problems have had a negative impact on pregnancy and lactation of the women.Focus group meet ings were also held with women groups, government officials, political representatives and media personnel. Some of the participants, however, criticised the government and organizers for not engaging the real representative organisations of women in the consultative process.
Pakistan signed the CEDAW convention during 1996. By signing this agreement it was ethically and legally bound to take all necessary measures to end discriminatory policies and laws and discourage all traditions that hindered women’s progress and equality with men. Pakistan had hardly been able to introduce even some cosmetic measures in this regard. The situation further got worse in Gilgit-Baltistan, FATA and Azad Kashmir.
The government made no effort to extend the implementation of international agreements to these oppressed areas. The people of Gilgit-Baltistan were already facing a problem of identity and citizenship. These factors were further affecting women.
The ASR has, for the first time, initiated this process in GilgitBaltistan and AJK so that CEDAW could be implemented in these oppressed areas.
Visit the orignal source: Dawn