President censures CDA for non-allotment of quarter to woman

Zubair Qureshi

President Dr Arif Alvi while expressing displeasure over the Capital Development Authority (CDA)’s discriminatory and misogynist act of non-allotment of a residential quarter to a woman employee on the plea has upheld Wafaqi Mohtasib’s orders directing CDA to allot the quarter to the said applicant.

The CDA in its response to the applicant had taken a stand that quarters could only be allotted to adult-male-working dhobis (washer men) as per past practice.

While expressing his wonder at the CDA’s stance, the president in his order said that the Authority had discriminated against the employee and “the most unfortunate part of the CDA’s defence was that allotment could only be made to a male and could not be made to a female for the same services.”

This is highly discriminatory, CDA is directed to improve its rules that are ensuring such misogynist practices and send the report to Wafaqi Mohtasib of the same in 60 days, he said.

The president underscored that Pakistan could not progress if its female members of the society were discriminated against in such a manner. He said that it was against the spirit of the founders of Pakistan, against the fair practices of Islam, and against the Constitution.He further directed the CDA to comply with Wafaqi Mohtasib’s orders and redress the grievance of the complainant and, if so required, approval of the competent authority/forum should be sought without further loss of time. As per details, Shahnaz Begum (the complainant) had alleged that her late husband was an ex-Washer Man attached with CDA, and he had applied for allotment of a Dhobi quarter. After his death, she had joined CDA as a Washerwoman and applied for the allotment of a quarter, but CDA issued the same to another employee who was junior to her in the seniority list.

Feeling aggrieved, she approached Wafaqi Mohtasib which passed the order that maladministration on the part of CDA was evident as it had discriminated against the complainant and was recommended to issue allotment orders for the quarter in question to the complainant and submit a compliance report within 30 days.

CDA filed a representation against the orders of the Wafaqi Mohtasib and contended that from the beginning, the accommodation had been allotted to CDA’s male employees (washermen) and it had never been allotted to any female (washerwoman). The CDA further argued that Dhobi had been defined as an adult male working Dhobi and relatives of Dhobi meant adult blood relations viz. father, brother, and son.

After perusal of the record and hearing the parties, it was observed that CDA had already issued allotment of another quarter to a female Lady Washer Woman in the year 2000. The President, therefore, rejected CDA’s representation and upheld Wafaqi Mohtasib’s orders to issue the allotment letters of the quarter in question to the female Dhobi.