ISLAMABAD - The surge in violence against women and children in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and two dysfunctional commissions including KP Commission on Status of Women (KPCSW) and Child Protection Commission has put a question mark on the performance of the KP govern­ment towards eradication of violence against women and children in the province.

Both the commissions were estab­lished to minimise violence against women and children, who are consid­ered the most vulnerable segment of society.

According to experts, both the com­missions have been receiving grants from the government but are not play their due role to check violence against women and children.

While talking about the KPCSW which was formed in 2009 through an act of law to promote women’s rights and check discrimination against women; the most basic purpose of its creation was to have a regulatory monitoring body that can work with sister government organizations as well as with NGOs towards emanci­pation of women, equalization of op­portunities including socio-econom­ic condition among women and men. 

But due to the non-serious attitude of the KP government and some al­leged political meddling, the com­mission has become dysfunctional and is yet to officially form district bodies even after 11 years of its for­mulation, even though huge grants of Rs.40 million were allocated for its activities - but it has badly failed to reduce violence against women in the province.

According to Aurat Foundation, an NGO working for women rights, an in­crease of 20 per cent has been noticed in cases of violence against women in KP; highlighting that murder, honour killing was on top followed by other domestic violence issues.

As per details released by Aurat Foundation the decade of state impu­nity (2009-2019), around 778 wom­en were killed only in 2019, showing a steady rise in violence against wom­en. As a whole, a total of 4,504 wom­en and girls were reportedly killed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province during last 11 years.

Other than addressing women is­sues, the commission has a mandate to conduct research on the issues re­lated to women of KP, especially those living in remote areas of the province. The step was aimed at advising and in­forming government regarding wom­en issues along with helping the leg­islators to concentrate on relevant issues including gender-based vio­lence. 

It would have also helped NGO sec­tor to better understand the current status of women in the light of facts provided through research papers but unfortunately, nothing has been done in this regard and no worthwhile re­search has been conducted so far.

Besides the KPCSW another com­mission ‘Child Protection Commis­sion’ which was established in 2011 by the then KP government is also al­most dysfunctional and even the gov­ernment has not yet appointed its head although the commission is get­ting grants for the last several years.

According to the sources in welfare department, due to political interfer­ence and despite orders of Khyber Pa­khtunkhwa Chief Minister the provin­cial government has failed to establish the most awaited child protection cen­tres in 12 districts of the province.

As per details, the KP government in the fiscal year 2019-20 released Rs.40.61 million as grant for the es­tablishment of these centres in 12 dis­tricts, but frequent political influence of some ministers remained a hurdle in its way and the huge amount was not spent until June 30, 2020. 

Moreover, the source in social wel­fare department of KP told The Na­tion, that one of the main reasons of the failure of the government to take measures towards making the centres functional was ban on recruitments in all vacant posts of the commission and its district centres.

The sources claimed that KP Minis­ter for Social Welfare Hisham Inamul­lah had allegedly stopped the new re­cruitments due to some political goals and despite orders of the CM no one dared to even discuss the issue in cab­inet meetings.

For his comment, The Nation called the Minister frequently but he was not available.

It must be noted that the Child Pro­tection Law was introduced in 2010 and the Child Protection Commission was established in 2011 in KP. A to­tal of 12 child protection centres were planned to be set up in 12 KP dis­tricts with the help of UNICEF in 2018 but the UNICEF withdrew its support from the commission which finally led to the closing of the project.