Separate women transport service in KPK launched

Separate women transport service in KPK launched

ISLAMABAD: (APP) Japan and United Nationas Office for Project Services (UNOPS) country office in Pakistan on Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to launch a separate transport for women in selected districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province.

The senior officials from Economic Affairs Division, Planning Commission and Department of Transport KPK were present on the occasion along with UN Resident Coordinator and heads of other UN agencies and representatives of foreign mission and donor agencies.

Under the pilot project to be implemented in 10 months, initially, around 14 buses would be run at Peshawar city to facilitate women and male children under age of 12 years.

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The buses to be procured through a transparent manner, would pick and drops women passengers at 30 stops.

The bus stops would be illuminated by solar power to ensure safety for the women passengers.

During his opening address Resident Coordinator UN, Neil Buhne underlined that "Public transportation is the cheapest and practical route adopted by the women to access their work places or colleges or universities, but travelling with the fear of harassment and having to face it every day brings down their productivity drastically.

The introduction of "women bus service" is an initiative taken to make women feel safe, secured and comfortable, when travelling",.

He said that these buses were aimed at protecting women during travel and reducing the risk of being a potential victim adding said the project would pilot 14 buses in 3 districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), Peshawar, Mardan and Abbottabad.

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Speaking on the occasion, Muhammad Haider Reza, Director UNOPS highlighted the fact that sexual harassment of women was not limited to the workplaces it can and does occur when a woman leaves home for work or studies.

He added that UNOPs consider it an honour to support and work in close partnership with the departments of transport, government of KPK, the Japanese government and UN Women on this innovative project.

Jamshed M Kazi Country representative UN WOMEN on the occasion emphasized that the introduction of women only buses in KPK was a simple idea with potentially transformative results for women empowerment.

Zubair Asghar Qureshi, Provincial Secretary Transport and Mass Transit department of KPK thanked government of Japan, UNOPS and UN Women for supporting this initiative.

In his remarks Takashi Kurai, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Embassy of Japan stressed that his country was keen to support and empower women to realize a society in which all women shine as it was one of the highest priority issue for Japanese Prime Minister Abe.

Kazi expressed the hope that this project would contribute towards the socvio-economic empowerment and development of women by providing them with a safer and affordable means of travel.