Islamabad - At a consultative meeting over 70 specialists from civil society and government departments deliberated on the draft indicators on violence against women (VAW) in Pakistan.

The meeting was organised by the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) in collaboration with the Gender Equality project- Aurat Foundation and USAID in which over 70 specialists from the civil society, government departments such as PBS, NIPs, ministry of law, provincial commissions on the status of women of KP and Punjab, lawyers, academics and statisticians met.

“Data reporting, collection and tracking on standardised indicators, based on local contexts is critical for the government in order to put in place more effective systems for prevention and response and to hold the government accountable to their international commitments,” said Khawar Mumtaz, chairperson of the National Commission on the Status of Women.

Asif Bajwa, chief statistician from Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, was also present at the meeting. He acknowledged the need for dedicated surveys for measuring the prevalence and frequency of VAW and cautioned that design and details to be covered need to be focused and realistic.

Presenter Dr Yasmin Zaidi, who shared data on VAW in South Asia from the recently published World Bank study, “Violence Against Women and Girls: Lessons from South Asia,” told the participants, “Across South Asia, there are patterns and prevalence of multiple forms of violence which women suffer throughout the lifecycle, whether as infants, adolescents, young women, married or single, widowed or divorced.” A review of UN guidelines and core indicators for collection of VAW statistics were presented by Ayesha Shaukat, NCSW.

Khawer Mumtaz announced that an expert working group comprising 12 members had been established recently by the national commission. The working group is expected to meet regularly over the next few months to finalise the draft indicators. “We will be also be working in very close coordination with the Bureau of Statistics for taking the process forward,” she told the assembled delegates.