PARLIAMENTARY ROUNDTABLE on Gender Mainstreaming and A case study of inheritance and trafficking laws for WPC, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly (June 9-10,2022)

The Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services (PIPS), in collaboration with the European Union-GIZ ‘Mustehkam Parlimaan’ Project, organized a two day Parliamentary Roundtable on Women Inheritance Rights and Cross Border Women Trafficking Gender Mainstreaming and A case study of inheritance and trafficking laws. Honourable Deputy Speaker Mr. Mehmood Jan, Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, chaired the Roundtable, attended by around 25 participants comprising Honourable Members of the Women Parliamentary Caucus of the Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, representatives from GIZ, senior officers of the secretariat of the Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, representatives from the Provincial Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, FIA, Law Ministry, Council of Islamic Ideology as well as members of civil society and media.

The proceedings began with recitation of verses of the Holy Quran by Qari Muhammad Anees. Christopher Shields, Team Leader, Mustehkam Parliaman, presented welcome note. Mr. Muhammad Rashid Mafzool Zaka, Director General (Research) PIPS welcomed the participants on behalf of the Executive Director PIPS.  The Honourable Speaker of the Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mr Mehmood Jan inaugurated the event as the Patron of WPC at the KP Assembly. Ms Nadia Batool, Training Adviser Mustehkam Parliamaan, presented agenda setting and norms.

PIPS DG (Research) Mr Zaka conducted an interactive two hour session Mr. Zaka on the HUMAN RIGHTS FRAMEWORK OF PAKISTAN – ROLE OF MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT in legislative scrutiny. He shared that the Parliament has four major roles that include law making, executive oversight, representation of its constituency and budget. He said the women parliamentary caucus and other standing committees of the Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have a crucial leading role to play in the executive oversight. He also admonished the fact that the government functionaries should work in close collaboration with the MPs and guide them through issues being faced.

The first day ( June 9, 2022): The roundtable aimed to stimulate intellectual debate on the issues confronting women inheritance rights and the prevailing issues in Pakistan and particularly in the Province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa abridging such rights in Pakistan. Mr. Mufti Ghulam Majid (Senior Research Officer, Council of Islamic Ideology), educated the participants on the inheritance rights of women under Islamic Law. He also expressed the need to have a codified law of inheritance in the country defining all the rights of legal heirs including women and children.  Dr. Riffat Sardar (Chairperson, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Commission on the Status of Women), briefed the participants on the prevailing issues in Pakistan that affect Women’s right of inheritance. She expressed the need to enforce the existing ample of laws through use of coercive apparatus and welfare measures. She stated that State must ensure that women rights are protected though cheaper and less wasteful resources rather than reinforcing rights through courts which are comparatively far labourous, expensive and needlessly wasteful of resources.

Mr. Muhmmad Hanif Khan, Deputy Director (Research), presented on the current national and provincial Inheritance laws of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He also briefed on the prevailing hurdles to women inheritance rights in Pakistan. He stated that it was important to inform, utilize, and engage, legal aid cell ensuring liaison with Social Support Bodies or Non-Profit Organizations at the district level regarding women’s right to inheritance and access to courts or an ombudsman under the prevailing laws. He expressed that it was important to increase advocacy efforts between government’s technical unit for legal reform (Ministry of Law, Justice, and Human Rights) and research institutions such as the Pakistan Institute For Parliamentary Services (PIPS) to accelerate favourable legal reforms.

The second day of the roundtable brought forth detailed and conducive discussion on the apparent challenges being faced in the cross border women trafficking and deliberated on ways of putting an end to such menaces in our society. Ms Tehseen Khalid Director Research PIPS moderated the day long deliberations. The roundtable also provided a platform for the exchange of ideas in order to generate policy recommendations and legislative reforms, for the Members of the Women Parliamentary Caucus (WPC), Provincial Assembly of Khybe Pakhtunkhwa.

Ms. Hina Maqsood (Project Manager, ICMPD), presented the prevailing data and status of women trafficking in Pakistan. She also discussed the prospects and challenges that are being faced in the country combatting this issue. Mr. Jam Aslam (Director, Ministry of Law), briefed on the legislative gap assessment of national and KP laws, regarding Women trafficking in Pakistan. Mr. Zaheer Ahmed (Director, Anti Human Smuggling Unit, FIA, expressed the role of Law Enforcement agencies in combatting cross border trafficking, especially of women and children. He provided a detailed overview of the Trafficking in Persons Act 2018, under which the Police and FIA play a defining role within the parameters stated therein. He recommended the colossal need of implementing the existing National Action Strategy Implementation, mass awareness into public about increasing cross border trafficking especially of women and children and ways to stop them. He also recommended improved federal-provincial and interprovincial coordination of all the concerned departments and law enforcement agencies. He also stressed on the need of data gathering. Hon MPA Ms Madhia Nisar termed the event as most absorbing and on behalf of WPD she thanked PIPS and Mutehkam Pakistan.

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