NGOs assail govt over security situation -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

NGOs assail govt over security situation

PESHAWAR, Aug 16: Expressing concern over the law and order situation in the NWFP and the tribal areas, representatives of some NGOs said on Thursday that the state of affairs obtaining there had forced them to suspend their operations.

Criticising the authorities, they said nothing worthwhile had been done by them to recover the vehicle of the Khwendo Kor – an NGO – which was taken away by gunmen a few days ago.

They said two staffers of the NGO had also been kidnapped but they were subsequently released. The vehicle, however, remained untraced.

A representative of the Marie Stopes Society, providing healthcare to poor people in various districts, said they had been forced to close their operations in the Swat district because of security concerns.

The NGO representatives were sharing their experiences, enumerating problems encountered in the field and the services they were providing to the people during a function organised by the South Asia Partnership Pakistan here.

The meeting was attended by representatives of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (Sparc), Aurat Foundation (AF), Strengthening Participatory Organisations (SPO), SAP-PK, International Rescue Committee (IRC), Shirkat Gah, Khwendo Kor and Marie Stopes Society.

They discussed different issues, including political reforms, mainstreaming of women in the political process, rights of women councillors, child protection and threats to the NGOs.

The participants stated that women councillors were yet to be granted their rights. They denounced the participation of men in the local council meetings in place of the women councillors they were related to.

Speakers explained that their training on gender mainstreaming during budget preparation, which they provided to women councillors and nazims, had a “very positive impact” and schemes had been included for women development in various areas.

Ijaz Durrani of the SPO and Asim Malik of the AF underlined the need for implementing the Local Government Ordinance in letter and spirit, adding that the Local Government Commission was yet to be made an effective body, which could keep a check on local councils’ wrongdoing.

Mohammad Imran of the HRCP said they had been focusing on cases involving ‘enforced disappearances’.

Said Afzal of Sparc regretted that under the colonial-era Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR), children had been victimised in the tribal areas, adding that the Peshawar High Court had taken notice of such cases which was an encouraging step. He said there was no shelter for street children in Peshawar and elsewhere in the province.

Nusrat Ara of SAP-PK urged upon civil society groups to help other organisations, including community-based organisations in their fields of expertise, adding that they should extend help to organisations facing problems in different areas.

The participants called for capacity-building of genuine citizen community boards and said fraudulent bodies should be discouraged.
Source: Dawn
Date:8/17/2007