ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Human Rights (MoHR) is yet to appoint the chairperson of National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) as it has remained non-functional since February this year after the appointment of former chairperson was set-aside by the court, Pakistan Today has learnt.
On February 8, Justice Mian Gul Hassan Aurangzeb of Islamabad High Court (IHC) set-aside the appointment of former NCSW chairperson Khawar Mumtaz, after her appointment was challenged by a women rights activist Farzana Bari, who was one of the candidates for the position.
The court while setting aside her appointment, said that the prime minister shall take into consideration the summary of MoHR while carrying out the consultative process in two weeks. The judgment of the court directed that the prime minister shall take into consideration respondent’s summary and the accompanying material in carrying out the consultative process with the leader of the opposition as envisaged in section 4(2) of the NCSW Act.
“It is expected that the said direction will be complied with expeditiously and preferably within a period of two weeks from the date of the receipt of the judgment,” said the court order available with Pakistan Today.
However, sources close to the development said that despite the ruling by the court, the ministry has yet to take any practical steps, leaving the commission without a head. They said that the chairperson of the commission also holds a position of principal accounting officer, who is bound to prepare an internal budget so that the federal government can approve and grant it.
However, due to the non-functioning of the commission, the budget has not been prepared yet which is alarming. On the other hand, the irony is that the ministry did not even remove the picture and portfolio of Khawar Mumtaz from the ministry’s website, which underscores the slackness of the ministry.
Ministry of Human Rights Secretary Rabiya Agha, when contacted, claimed that she had forwarded two summaries to the prime minister: one for permanent chairperson and one for acting. She did not remember the date, however.
When asked that the court had given two weeks only and two months had elapsed and the commission was still non-functional, she replied that there is a process for the appointment and it takes times.
Regarding, the pictures of Mumtaz with her portfolio at the official website of the ministry, despite that fact that she is no longer a chairperson, the official said that the IT department controlled the website which needs to be revamped and ministry is in the process.
NCSW was established in 2000 aimed at examining policies, programmes and other measures taken by the government for women development and gender equality, women empowerment, political participation, representation, assess implementation and making suitable recommendations.