ISLAMABAD - Highlighting various challenges faced by the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW), its chairperson Anis Haroon has said that financial issues and bureaucratic hurdles always marred the performance of the commission.

The NCSW Chairperson said this while addressing a press conference wherein the annual report for the year 2010-2012 was also launched Wednesday.

The present Commission is going to complete its three-year term on March 25 and as was announced by the Prime Minister on International Women’s Day, the new Commission will come on board soon.

The NCSW Bill 2012 has now finally signed into law by the President of Pakistan on March 8 and the Commission is finally going to have the status of an autonomous body closely.

The Chairperson also said that the Commission does not have any secretary for the past three years but despite difficulties the Commission has many achievements on its credit.

Landmark legislations including Protection Against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2010, Acid Crime Prevention Act 2011, Anti-Women Practices Act, 2011 and Fund for Women in distress and detention Act 2011 were passed by the Parliament.

She also commended the efforts of government for granting autonomy to the commission. ‘It is a great achievement for the women’s movement and rights activists that they have an independent and autonomous commission today. The independent and autonomous commission will function as an effective body to protect and promote the social, economic, political and legal rights of women’.

She also said that the new commission would closely be working with the provincial governments to ensure that provincial commissions on the status of women are established and provincial chairpersons have representation in national commissions as ex-officio members.

She accepted though the laws to protect the women rights have been made but their implementation is still a question. “We have demanded of the cancellation of the ‘Hudood Ordinance’ and the efforts would continue till our demands are fulfilled’. Nasreen Azhar, member executive committee of NCSW, presenting the report, said that last three years have been extremely challenging for the commission. It resumed the office, when the images of a woman being flogged in Swat were being shown on TV channels all over the world. She said that the Ministry of Women Development had never recognized the importance of the Commission and always tried to undermine the Commission.

She said that the Commission fought battle on several fronts. On one hand it was consistently lobbying with the legislators to promote women rights agenda while on the other hand remained regularly engaged with civil society, academia, lawyers and other stakeholders to build consensus for promoting women friendly policies and laws in the country.

Civil society representatives who also attended the event called upon the government to formally set up the National Commission of Women (NCW) without any delay. Legal expert Justice Kailash Nath Kohli said the new Commission should be made part of the constitution so that no other government can change its status.