The National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW), in collaboration with UNDP & UN Women, held a national conference and a ceremonial handover, to the Election Commission of Pakistan, of the proposed Code of Ethics to prohibit hate speech against women in politics in Islamabad on March 6th 2023. This national event was held after consultations for the Code of Ethics in each province in the previous weeks.
The consultation was attended by multi-party parliamentarians, representatives from the election commission, security agencies, civil society and media.
NCSW is pushing the Election Commission of Pakistan to bring provisions and/or restrictions to the code of conduct for political parties, candidates, political workers etc. which may restrict and control the hate speech spewed against women. They also want implemented strict and severe consequences in case of violation i.e. disqualification from contesting elections.
Chairperson NCSW Nilofar Bakhtiar in her opening remarks thanked all the participants for coming to this very pertinent event. “Women of Pakistan have worked very hard to get to the position where they are today, we have and we will continue to make the country a safer place for women.”
Senator Fauzia Arshad and Senator Seemi Ezdi, while addressing the guests, discussed the unkind remarks towards women within the political sphere that must be curtailed. They both highlighted how it was essential to work together towards curtailing such comments.
Ms. Nabila Malick, member UN Women, gave a thorough presentation on the introduction and the initiative of the Code of Ethics. The recommendations from the all the provinces were presented, voted upon and/or edited by the participants of the event.
Ms. Mehnaz Aziz, Parliamentary Secretary Ministry of Law & Justice, shed light upon the need to set a path apart from the misogynistic systemic way of life. “We shall create this Code of Ethics into a law,” she said. Ms. Syeda Maimoona Zaib, UNDP Gender Specialist commented on the importance of this initiative by NCSW, UNDPA & UN Women.
The proposed code of ethics was then handed over to the chief guest Secretary ECP, Mr. Omer Hamid. In his remarks, Mr. Omer mentioned that the honorable commission has invited NCSW to join them in creating a safer environment for female politicians to thrive and work on curtailing hate speech together. The ECP has also accepted the request of the NCSW to make the code of conduct gender neutral (as before it was only written with male pronouns). “Going forward we will be helping you (NCSW) whenever we can. Thank you for bringing on board this very important topic, I look forward to working with you on this, ” he concluded.