Punjab Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW) successfully rescued a 19-year old girl from wrongful confinement by her parents and other members of her family in Lahore. Reportedly, the girl was brought to Pakistan from Italy in February 2018 for 10 days, under false pretenses of her brother’s engagement. However, it later transpired that her parents wished to marry her off against her will, thus brought her to Pakistan. While in Italy, her father had put a stop to her studies.
The Italian Embassy informed Chairperson PCSW about the matter with the request to ensure safety of the girl, while the Ministry of Interior continuously followed up and provided assurance of full support. The Embassy will support the girl in case she wishes to return to Italy, where she has resided for the past ten years.
PCSW team and SHO Garhi Shahu located the girl’s address and recovered her, after which she was transported to a secure location. She is adamant to go back to Italy and continue her studies, so that she may pursue a career path of her own choice. Presently, the girl is safe and relieved that PCSW, the Punjab Police and the Italian Embassy reacted swiftly to rescue her.
In the last five years, several laws for protection of women have been passed by Punjab Assembly, as well as the National Assembly of Pakistan. These laws aim to curb the incidence of honour crimes, forced marriage, deprivation of inheritance, domestic violence, trafficking of women and children, and sexual violence against women. Furthermore, Government of Punjab has taken multiple initiatives for the protection and empowerment of women, and is stringently implementing them.
These include establishment of dedicated institutions such as the Punjab Commission on the Status of Women, a woman Ombudsperson against workplace harassment, women’s shelters in every district, a toll-free 24/7 helpline for women, through which women are made aware of their rights and redress mechanisms. The helpline has established coordination mechanisms with the police, to ensure rapid response and sensitive service delivery to survivors of violence.