PROVINCIAL OMBUDSMAN,THE PROTECTION AGANIST HARASSMENT OF WOMEN AT WORK PLACE , GOVERNMENT OF SINDH.

Provincial Ombudsman - Sindh 
‘The Protection against Harassment of Women at Work Place’

Pakistan was created for its citizens to be free of discrimination and deprivation which they had suffered in the past. CITIZEN INCLUDED WOMEN: Founder of Nation said that women should stand side by side with men as their companions in all spheres of life. The laws of a country establish the basic relationship between the state  and citizens and the rights and obligations between citizens themselves. The dignity and status of women and men as equal citizen is a moral imperative, constitutional obligation and the guiding principle for a egalitarian and progressive society. Certain rights of women are enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan which states that there shall be no discrimination on the basis of gender alone and that the state shall make provisions for the Protection of Women.

·     The Q’uran stresses in several verses that every individual is responsible for his or her own actions. There is no difference between man and woman as regard to status , rights and blessings, both in this world and in the life Hereafter.

·    Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) said: “The best among you is the one  who is best for his family. A man who resorts to violence is not only committing a crime in the  legal sense but triggers the wrath of God and exposes himself to divine punishment”.

·    Islam grants women the right to choose their husbands, to seek divorce, to retain their family names, to pursue education, to seek employment, to own property, and to remain in control of their own wealth.

·    Article 14 of the constitution ensures that the dignity of man (and woman), and subject to law, the privacy of the home, shall be inviolable”.

·    Article 32 of the constitution encourages the promotion of social justice and eradication of social evils”.

“The Protection Against Harassment of Women at Work Place” Act IV of 2010 was legislated by the Senate of Pakistan on 9th of March 2010. As per law,

Syed Pir Ali Shah, Former judge of Sindh High Court was appointed as First Ombudsman of this which established  at 7th Floor, New Sindh Secretariat Building No-1, Karachi, vide Sindh Government  notification dated 05-07-2012. Sindh Government has thus taken massive steps towards effective implementation of anti sexual harassment legislation and there has been consistent effort by the Sindh Government to provide a common platform for women development. Ombudsman has to act as a legal, impartial intermediary between the employees and the management. As much as 130 complaints lodged up till now have been investigated with confidentiality and resolved on the basis of evidence and also through mediation with necessary recommendations.

The Office of the Provincial Ombudsman provides relief to working women suffering from the grievance of sexual harassment carries out the investigation while maintaining the confidentiality of the complainants, takes stern action against the accused as prescribed by the law when the accused is proved guilty. The aim is to redress the grievances of the complainants and to ensure provision of a safe and a secured environment to a woman at her workplace.

As such, the institution of the Provincial Ombudsman is considered to be the ideal solution to achieve the objective of providing justice at one’s door steps without adopting lengthy procedures and requirements of the judicial system, without payment of any cost or court fee and relief has been provided, either directly or indirectly, to a large number of complaints belonging to urban as well as interior Sindh.

Furthermore, the Provincial Ombudsman understands that disputes, however petty, can cause unnecessary pain and stress. Therefore, he and his team analyze each dispute with an open mind and if necessary, listen to the parties concerned patiently and sympathetically so as to find a practical and unbiased solution.

Under Syed Pir Ali Shah, Ombudsman’s leadership, his team continuously remains involved in doing ground work to further the progress of this institution by conducting spot enquiry visits to various organizations in order to ensure that the provisions of this law are being followed in letter and spirit. Ombudsman also strives on increasing more awareness and as such: ‘Awareness Campaign Drive 2015’ was launched. Up till now, as much as 44 successful awareness programs, seminars, workshops and trainings have been carried out in urban as well as rural areas of the Sindh Province. This office also got  around twelve hundred inquiry committees constituted within public as well as Private Sector’s Departments/Organizations which is mandatory requirement of this special enactment.

 

 Government of Sindh, Official Web Portal.