KP Parliamentary Women Caucus discusses gender equality budget consultations with Jhagra

PESHAWAR: A meeting organized by Omer Asghar Foundation to discuss the gender equality budget consultations between the Parliamentary Women Caucus Committee and Minister for Health and Finance Taimur Saleem Jhagra was held here on Wednesday.

The meeting was attended by Chairperson Women Caucus Dr. Sumaira Shams, Senior Vice President Parliamentary Women Caucus Madiha Nisar, MPA Naeema Kishwar, Asiya Khattak, Sajida Hanif, Shagufta Malik Basirat Khan, Chairperson Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Commission on Status of Women Rifat Sardar, Omar Asghar Khan Foundation Executive Director Rashida Dohad and officials of concerned agencies.

The purpose of the meeting was to consult on various proposals for the budget of the financial year 2021-2022 of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Addressing the meeting, Finance and Health Minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra said budget for the next financial year included different points on women employment and other issues adding talks were underway in the Assembly to regularize lady health workers. He said the NCOC will be approached to come up with a way to vaccinate women who do not have ID cards.

About Education, he stated that in education budget costing Rs 200 billion, about half of the amount was for girls adding in the same way, half of our women population benefits from health. The provincial finance minister said that in the same way deserving and needy women also get money through Ehsaas program.

Chairperson Parliamentary Women Caucus committee Dr. Sumaira Shams told the meeting that in the budget funds were allocated for women but if it was formulated according to the Sustainable Development Goals, it would not only be used properly but also could be utilized at international level.

Agreeing with the suggestion of Dr.Sumaira Shams, Provincial Finance Minister Taimur Jhagra said that the Sustainable Development Goals would be mentioned in the budget speech and special attention would be given to it. The government will allocate substantial funds for the implementation of other laws specific to women, including the Domestic Violence Prevention Bill. He further added that the government will also appoint district security committees and provide technical assistance.

He said that he had also announced to allocate Rs 100 million for the establishment and reforms of capitals in the province while assuring efforts to increase the amount allocated for free legal aid for women. The budget has allocated Rs 10 billion for the provision of interest free loans, including to women.

Dr.Sumaira Shams, Chairperson of the Parliamentary women Caucus Committee added that forensic labs were important for investigating cases of violence against women, asking the government to take steps to set up labs in different districts of the province, including the forensic lab in Peshawar. She also demanded that attention should be paid to facilitate DNA testing. Other Members of the Parliamentary Women Caucus also proposed the creation of special courts for gender-based violence.