LAHORE: National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW), in collaboration with the European Union-funded Huqooq-e-Pakistan Project (HeP), plans to launch its strategic plan in October, announced NCSW Chairperson Nilofar Bakhtiar while speaking at three-day strategic plan consultations with government officials and civil society representatives.
These consultations aimed to gather a broad range of opinions to devise a Strategic Plan for the NCSW. They engaged the participants seeking their views on women’s rights in Pakistan and their awareness of NCSW’s role, past performance, and achievements.
The participants also had extensive discussions on NCSW’s functions and mission. The consultations were presided over by NCSW Chairperson Nilofar Bakhtiar and led by Dr. Osama Siddique, a senior expert from HeP.
In her address to the participants, Nilofar Bakhtiar stated that the Commission “is committed to representing the diverse voices of women across every district in Pakistan as we work towards realizing gender equality in the public and private spheres.”
She said that opinions and recommendations from participants would be taken into account while preparing the NCSW’s strategic plan and determining the next steps for the Commission.
HeP’s Project Manager Shazil Malik emphasized the importance of Commissions like NCSW given their vital role in safeguarding human rights in Pakistan. “Developing the Commission’s strategic plan through consultations with civil society and the government across Pakistan ensures that diverse perspectives are considered as NCSW charts its plan for the next three years.”
He shared that NCSW will hold similar consultations in Peshawar, Karachi, and Islamabad in the coming weeks.
During last three days, NCSW Chairperson held meetings with Governor Punjab, Chief Minister Punjab, Speaker Provincial Assembly and Punjab Law Minister. She discussed the appointment of Chairperson Punjab Commission on the Status of Women, the establishment of Women Caucus in Punjab Assembly, and legislation pending in the Assembly. She also discussed issues in the implementation of women’s laws. Besides that, she visited women police stations, Anti-Harassment Cell, and Kot Lakhpat jail, Human Rights Crisis Center for Women and APWA.
As part of consultations, Executive Director HeP Seema Jaffar held an interactive session on NCSW’s communications strategy. Participants shared their views on how to improve NCSW’s outreach and visibility. Seema shared the communications material developed by HeP to raise awareness about women’s rights and legal protection provided under the constitution. Details about Human Rights Resource Portal developed under the project were also shared with the participants.
Nilofar Bakhtiar also interacted with media persons on Thursday. She briefed them on the Commission’s vision, plans, and activities since she joined the office. She also discussed the role media could play in empowering women and strengthening the Commission that is the only statutory body exclusively dedicated to promoting gender equality and empowerment of women.