Brussels [Belgium], Aug 28 (ANI): The European Parliament has asked Pakistan to protect the rights of women and girls after rising incidents of honour killings, acid attacks and social restrictions on movement and jobs reported from the country.
Recently, a question was raised that despite the fact that Pakistan benefits from the EU GSP, both the current and former Pakistani Governments have done little for Pakistan’s women and girls.
In the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, an official circular forcing school girls to wear the hijab or the abaya was issued a few months ago. After widespread outrage, the local Government had to revoke the decision.
Ishaq Khakwani, a former federal minister and one of the leaders of the current ruling party, Tehreek-e-Insaf, has admitted that the Government has not paid enough attention to addressing the issue of violence against women.
In a reply, the European Commission said, “The Report shows that Pakistan is making some progress on effective implementation, e.g. on the elimination of honour killings, the protection of transgender persons and the protection of women’s and children’s rights. The report also notes that more progress is needed, including with regard to discrimination and violence against women and girls”.
It further added, “Within the GSP monitoring process, the Commission sent a list of salient issues to Pakistan in June 2020 recalling the need to take effective measures to prevent child marriage across the country, make progress on the bill raising the legal age for marriage to 18 years and on the bill on prevention and protection from domestic violence against women”.
It is waiting for a response from the Pakistan government, which is expected by September 2020.
The reply also added, “Discrimination and violence against women and girls were also discussed during the 10th EU-Pakistan Sub-Group on Democracy, Governance, Rule of Law and Human Rights in November 2019”.
The European Commission also raised concerns over growing child labour in Pakistan.
“The EU Special Representative for Human Rights Eamon Gilmore raised the tragic case of Zohra Shah, and the matter of child labour more broadly, with Federal Minister of Human Rights Shireen Mazari on 27 June 2020, highlighting the EU’s serious concerns. Minister Mazari informed of legislative efforts to ensure that domestic child labour below 14 years of age would stop”, said the Commission in a question raised over the issue.
It further added, “The topic of child labour features prominently on the agenda of the EU-Pakistan Joint Commission’s Sub-Group on Human Rights, and is also addressed in the context of the Special Incentive Arrangement for Sustainable Development and Good Governance (GSP), the 2018-2019 Report on the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) and its assessment on the implementation by Pakistan of the conventions on labour and human rights covered by GSP”.
Extreme poverty in some provinces of Pakistan forced many children to work as laborious. The situation is grim in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. (ANI)