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Sexual Harassment Bill to be introduced in Pakistan
Federal minister for women development in Pakistan, recently, finalised a bill for the protection of employees against sexual harassment in the workplace. She said that harassment is the common problem of men and women and should be addressed equally
PAKISTAN GOVERNMENT has said that a draft bill on ’Protection from Harassment Act 2008’ will be introduced soon to ensure maximum assurance of justice to the victim.

Federal minister for women development, Sherry Rehman recently chaired a consultation meeting with government officials and the members of the civil society to finalise the draft of the bill.

"Harassment at workplace is a very sensitive matter. Any legislation seeking to deal with the issue must incorporate the element of safety as well as ensure maximum assurance of justice to the victim," she said after a meeting at Islamabad.

Rehman pointed out that the purpose of her ministry’s continued consultation with the civil society over the bill is to ensure that the draft law is clear in content and there is no room for any lapses to fail its objectives.

"We have broadened the ambit of law, extending it to cover harassment against both women and men. Harassment is a common phenomenon at work, and men could be as much of a target as women are”, she said.

The federal information minister said that her stress on the protection in the legislation comes from her own experience of dealing with women who have been victims of harassment at workplace.

"A woman finds her career as well as her reputation at stake when she takes an offence to sexual harassment. We want the legislation to provide maximum security to the complainant to encourage her/him to pursue the case at an official level. The victim must have an expanded range of choices in terms of authorities dealing with the complaint. We have, therefore, included an ’inquiry commission’ as well as an Ombudsperson to ensure that there is an internal as well as an external setup to address the grievance,” she added.

Rehman said that the meeting also deliberated the finer details of the draft bill.

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