Pakistani JusticeMaker Teams Up with Influential Government Department to Widen Impact of Project
Posted by waqasabid at January 20th, 2010
On 1 December 2010 Pakistani JusticeMaker 2010, Waqas Abid, had a meeting with the Head of Kasur District’s Social Welfare and Women’s Development Department, Mr. Abad Ali Jatala. The Department is a combined subsection of Pakistan’s Ministry of Women Development and the Ministry of Social Welfare, and its aims include promoting gender equality, poverty alleviation and empowering vulnerable sectors of society.
To achieve these goals, the department has a variety of projects, including gender mainstreaming, provision of free health care, skills development for women and improving conditions for prisoners. This last point includes a two pronged approach, providing detainees both with medical facilitates and legal aid, and offers an opportunity for collaboration between Waqas’ Good Thinkers organisation and the Department. Through his JusticeMaker project, Waqas aims to provide information about legal rights to brick kiln workers throughout Kasur; his legal knowledge and experience in disseminating the information to underprivileged communities makes him a valuable resource for the Social Welfare Department
Mr. Abad stated that his department encourages individuals and organisations to work on behalf of the needy. The Department’s efforts to provide effective legal aid have been muted by lack of funds and a problem of scale. Although there is an officer assigned to Kasur District Central Jail, there are not enough lawyers or funds to address every case; thus a lot of individuals remain in jail for comparatively minor crimes. Collaboration with Good Thinkers would be a stepping stone towards resolving the prolonged pre-trial detention. A Memorandum of Understanding is therefore being prepared by Waqas to lay the groundwork for the interaction between the two stakeholders.