ISLAMABAD – The National Implementation Watch Committee (NIWC), set up on the instructions of the Prime Minister, has the mandate of facilitating and monitoring the implementation of the laws. The members of Mehergarh and Women’s Organization for Rights and Development (WORD) conducted monitoring visits to assess organizations according to the compliance measures stated in the Protection Against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act 2010.

Chairperson of the National Implementation Watch Committee Dr. Fouzia Saeed stated that the monitoring visits have been very useful and some of the organizations have succeeded in bringing about a transformative culture of setting up mechanisms effectively to deal with cases of sexual harassment thus promoting zero tolerance for sexual harassment.

According to Maliha Husain, Programme Director, and her team monitored as many as nine organizations including National Institute of Health, SAHIL, Planning Commission of Pakistan, Establishment Division, Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, TCL, SZABIST, NADRA and Shifa International Hospital.

Previously, a number of awareness sessions on the law were conducted for these organizations by Mehergarh, the organizations were facilitated in providing the technical support as well as the material such as posters and brochures. Maliha explained, the results have been satisfactory, organizations have understood the law and shown commitment in creating a conducive work environment.

Mehergah is compiling the results of the organizations monitored in a report and will continue follow-ups on implementing the law.

The response and level of cooperation has been satisfactory there is a proactive approach in eradicating sexual harassment in an area where to talk about these issues was taboo, she said. Cases have been reported and dealt with in a professional manner respecting the integrity of the complainants.

This is the outcome of conducting awareness sessions with the departments, teachers, nurses, general public and representatives of the community. WORD has also monitored and facilitated organizations like Sungi Development Foundation, Cavish Development Foundation and ROZAN. The process of monitoring is ongoing.

The members expressed the concern that where are the organizations abiding by the law, there are few organization managements that need to take the law seriously and handle the complaints professionally. One such organization identified was the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).

The members have tried to engage them but there is no cooperation from their side to follow the law in letter and spirit. These are the challenges but the members remain undeterred in their struggle to get the laws implemented.