KARACHI - Activists have demanded autonomous status for National Commission on Women (NCW), in actual letter and spirit, so as to facilitate those seeking justice under the law for protection of women against harassment at work place.

Talking to APP on Sunday they said autonomous status of NCW could be catalyst in strict implementation of the law prerequisite for protection of Pakistani women.

Advocate Rubina Brohi appreciated that a mechanism has been evolved under which all private and public sector organizations are necessarily required to constitute a three member committee, includinast one woman, to investigate complaints made by victims.

“We, however, feel that there must be an autonomous body, empowered enough to address genuine grievances of women who feel not to be provided with needed justice,” she said.

To a query, she said courts may not be the appropriate forum owing to already heavy load of pending cases there.

“Moreover, our women in general are reluctant to go to the courts due to varied reasons,” she said.

Another senior lawyer Kulsoom Niazi, however, urged women to be confident enough to raise voice regarding injustice committed against them.

She said women victims are often noticed to be reluctant to make complaints in writing against exploiters.

The bill itself has been adopted after a long struggle within the house, mentioned activist Mehnaz Rehman.

“Extra and meaningful measures are required for its implementation in the truest sense,” she said. 

She urged the government for more gender balance in the government and private organizations.

The activists, in their respective capacities, were unanimous that the law was undeniably a major step towards recognition of women rights.

They hoped that government, NGOs and media would play their role in bringing about a change in the mind-set of the people towards working women in particular and women in general.

“It is expected that the law itself would also pave the way for creating a sense of respect of individuals as human beings,” said Advocate Rubina Soomro.

Mehnaz Rehman supplemented her and opined that our society has to learn to respect human being without any distinction on basis of gender, caste, religion and social status.