Zardari signs bill to protect women against harassment at workplace
10 March, 2010
ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday signed the `Protection Against Harassment of Women Bill 2010` with a pledge to pursue the commitment made by Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto for the emancipation and uplift of womenfolk.
"We have to create a Pakistan where the coming generations, my daughters, can be proud of the fact that they live as equals. We will make sure that those who wish to harm the ideology of Quaid-e-Azam which was for equality, for men and women, shall not succeed," said the President.
He was addressing a gathering of women from different walks of life, after signing the historic legislation here at the President House.
He paid rich tribute to the women who over the generations had strived for their rights since long and described them as "really a tribute to God`s divine creation."
The enactment of the Protection Against Harassment of Women Bill 2010 aims at creating a safe working environment for women, which is free from harassment, abuse and intimidation, he added.
President Zardari said the struggle for the rights of women in Pakistan has been long and difficult.
"We believe in equal rights and equal opportunities for men and women," he added.
President Zardari earlier signed a bill on January 29 to uphold the dignity of women as their basic right and to seek an end to violence. The bill aims at making women feel safe both in private and public spheres, while the other bill that he signed today aims at providing mechanism for addressing complaints of harassment.
The bill signed by the President aims at creating a safe working environment for women that is free of harassment, abuse and intimidation with a view towards fulfillment of their right to work with dignity.
The bill requires all public and private organizations to adopt an internal Code of Conduct and a complain or appeals mechanism aimed at establishing a safe working environment, free of intimidation and abuse, for all working women.
Under the bill each organization shall constitute an Inquiry Committee, comprising of three members - including one female member, within 30 days to enquire into complaints.
Upon receiving a written complaint, the inquiry committee would give the accused a formal written receipt of the charges and statement of allegations levelled against him within three days.
The Inquiry Committee shall have power to regulate its own procedure for conducting an inquiry and for fixing the place and time of its sittings.