The continuous reshuffling among government positions is not limited to the federal government alone. The Punjab government has also made some significant changes when it comes to its cabinet- the chairperson of the Punjab Commission for the Status of Women (PCSW) being a particularly upsetting.

The removal of Ms Fauzia Viqar as the Chairperson of PCSW has invoked the ire of many activists and lawyers, who can stand witness to Ms Viqar good work as Chairperson. Under Ms Viqar, the PCSW was extraordinarily helpful to women, establishing a Gender Management Information System which provides data and insight into gender disparities in the province, ensuring women access to employment and leadership positions and trainings of nikkah registrars at the local government level.

According to activists and lawyers, the termination is politically and personally motivated and should be reversed since Ms Viqar was performing well. However, Minister for the Women Development Department (WDD) said there was nothing personal at all in the removal and was solely the chief minister’s decision, and added that the next Chairperson would not be drawing a salary. However, this is not in line with Clause 4 of the PSWC Act of 2014, which clearly stipulates a salary.

Even if the termination did not have personal or political reasons for it, this dismissal of a valuable worker is not in line with Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI)’s motto of emphasising performance. As can be viewed by several petitions by activists and lawyers, Fauzia Viqar was clearly doing her job well in a field where women often have few respites to seek relief from. Research and workings on the status of women in Pakistan should not be defunded, and the voices of female activists should be paid heed to while appointing the Chairpersons of such departments.