Lady councillors complain of discrimination -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Lady councillors complain of discrimination

DIR: Woman councillors in Dir Upper district have complained of the injustices, discrimination and the government’s lack of interest to solve their problems.

Over 100 woman members of different councils have not been attending the respective council meetings since 2005 and are represented by their male relatives but the few attending the district council meeting have been complaining of discrimination.

Some have severely criticised the present government’s apathy towards the problems of the women councillors.

“The present government has dragged local women into politics but has been indifferent to their problems,” a disappointed member the District Council, Kishwar Sultan, said.

“I conveyed in black and white our problems and injustices meted out to us to the president, prime minister, National Assembly speaker and National Reconstruction Bureau chairman in June but still awaiting the response,” she regretted.

Ms Kishwar said the lack of action on part of the government over flagrant violations of rules and regulations pointed towards the abysmal indifference of the government towards the problems of woman councillors. She said the female councillors have no political empowerment as claimed by the government but are still victims of discriminations.

In 2005-06, Kishwar and her two other colleagues wished to attend district council meetings but were not allowed to enter the council hall and kept in a separate room during the sittings for being women but Kishwar strived hard to secure her legal right.

She has been spearheading the cause of female councillors in the district and is one among the only five female councillors attending the council sessions.

However, now she often does not get invitation for the council meeting.

“Invitation for attending the council session is not sent to me despite living at a short distance from the district council hall. The nazims deliberately do so to keep women away from the council sittings,” she alleged.

Though it is a flagrant violation of the Constitution and the Local Government Ordinance that the un-elected male relatives of female councillors have unabatedly been representing the women councillors in their respective councils in Dir Upper, the federal and provincial governments have turned a deaf ear to this blatant irregularity.

The un-elected fathers, husbands, brothers and sons of woman councillors enter the hall, sign the rolls and take part in discussions.

They have been acting as “female councillors” and taking official decisions on behalf the woman councillors.

“I am astonished why the government has been indifferent to this illegal practice,” an NGO activist wondered, requesting anonymity.

“In trainings, we are always told that members remaining absent from councils for three consecutive sessions will be disqualified but here this clause doesn’t come into action despite most of the woman councillors do not attend council sessions,” Kishwar expressed her astonishment.
Source: The News
Date:8/16/2007