Women councillors want their pay doubled
RAWALPINDI: Women members of the City District Assembly have urged the government to enhance their honorarium, which they claimed was quite low.
Presently, women councillors are paid Rs 1,500 as honorarium each month. Women councillors told Daily Times on Tuesday that both federal and district governments had promised that their honorarium would be increased, but the promises were not honoured. Rayla Saleem, a councillor and a lawyer by profession, said that in the budget session, District Nazim Raja Javed Ikhlas had informed the members that from July, women councillors would get Rs 3,000 as honorarium. She said that President General Pervez Musharraf, while addressing women councillors from across the country at the Convention Centre in Islamabad, had announced that their honorarium would be doubled. “In May, the District Assembly had approved a resolution to double the honorarium of women councillors,” she added.
Women councillors have also complained that the government was not doing enough for their welfare. Tahira Shaukat, a councillor, said the Women Development Ministry provided Rs 2.2 million to each district government for the welfare of its women members, but the Rawalpindi district government gave only Rs 1.1 million to the social welfare department. She said women had to visit various departments of the local government several times for approval of a project, adding that women councillors should not have troubles for the approval of their projects. She said there was no separate room for women councillors at the District Nazim’s Camp Office. She said the local government had also failed to establish a crisis centre for women in the district. Another council member, requesting anonymity, said most women in the District Assembly were just rubberstamps as they did not take part in the proceedings. She said these councillors were either non-political or unaware of the local bodies system, adding that their relatives like fathers, husbands or brothers had forced them to become councillors.
District Naib Nazim Afzal Khokar said the present government had provided more facilities and opportunities to women than the previous governments. He said male members of the district council were being provided Rs 1 million, while the women were given Rs 500,000. He said women were given representation in all 23 committees of the District Council. Naeem Mirza, the Aurat Foundation director, said the local bodies system was good but the problem lied in its implementation as the nazim ran the whole show in many councils and his naib even did not hold sessions. He said the system was introduced in 2001 to solve problems at the grass root level. He said the increased women seats in the national, provincial and district assemblies and tehsil and union councils could only be effective if women were involved in decision making processes.
Source: Daily Times