Pak Govt to Go Ahead With Income Support Programme for Women Despite Taliban Opposition

by Gopalan on  January 7, 2009 at 9:28 PM Women Health News   - G J E 4
 Pak Govt to Go Ahead With Income Support Programme for Women Despite Taliban Opposition
The federal government of Pakistan says it is determined to go ahead with the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) despite strong opposition from Taliban in some areas.

Taliban leaders in tribal areas have warned that women receiving monetary help would be killed.

"We are committed to launching the programme because it is purely Islamic and aimed at helping the poor," BISP's chairperson Farzana Raja told Dawn on Sunday.

She was, however, cautious enough not to antagonize the fundamentalist forces. She advised the people in North Waziristan, including the Taliban, to meet their assembly representatives and senators for clear information about the programme.

"It appeared that because of some misconceptions they have decided to stop women from receiving financial assistance, but that's unfortunate," the official said and took pains to clarify that tribal women would not have to go to any office because the monetary support would be delivered at their doorstep.

"The women will not have to go out of their homes to get their cards because lady workers of NADR will visit them and complete the process," Farzana Raja stressed.

She also said the card required only thumb impression and not photograph, as claimed by Taliban.

She rejected Taliban's claim that tribal women would become morally corrupt and said that the programme was similar to the Zakat system. "How can one call our programme un-Islamic," she said.

Under the programme, some 3.5 million households will get Rs2,000 every two months and money orders will be sent in the name of women beneficiaries to their home address through the Pakistan Post.

She said around 127,000 families would soon get Rs3,000 for the three months with effect from Oct 1.
Pamphlets issued by Taliban banned women from obtaining National Identity Cards from the National Database and Registration Authority [NADRA]. The pamphlet warned the female population of North Waziristan that they would face punishment under Islamic Shariaa law if they were caught visiting NADRA offices.

A NADRA official has said that his office has recently received 300 female applications to obtain national I.D. cards. 

Taliban has warned the people of North Waziristan that they would be constantly monitoring the NADRA offices, and any woman caught visiting there would be severely punished in accordance with Islamic Shariaa Law.

North Waziristan is currently under the control of Taliban-affiliated militia, the strongest group of which is the Hun Gul Bahadaur group.

The Pakistani government control over the situation in North Waziristan has considerably weakened after Pakistani troops halted operations against the Taliban following a peace deal with the local Taliban commander. Although the Pakistani army still has a sizeable presence in North Waziristan, they are not actively engaged in operations against the Taliban at this time.

Taliban commander Haji Gul Bahadaur has also warned that all co-ed schools in the area must cease the practice of educating boys and girls together by 5 January, or else face severe consequences.

The warning was also broadcast from loud speakers of all mosques in the area. The pamphlet threatened both public and private educational institutions in North Waziristan that practice co-education.

The schools were warned to cease implementing the co-ed educational system by 5 January, or else face severe action from the Taliban militia. As a result of this warning the local population of North Waziristan and school administrations have come under increased pressure to abandon the co-ed educational system.

The tribal areas of Pakistan are a strictly conservative society where gender segregation is firmly observed. However at the primary school level, girls and boys study in the same classes.

Source: Medindia

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