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Karachi To Witness Women On Wheels On Its Streets

Following the initiation of the Women on Wheels programme in Punjab, Karachi would also be witnessing women on wheels on its streets as the programme is set to launch in the port-city next month.

The inaugural ceremony for the Women on Wheels (WoW) in Karachi would be held on November 25, 2019. The day marks the start of the International 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.

The WoW project was launched by the Strategic Reforms Unit of the Punjab government in 2016. The project started with just 40 women, but by the end of the campaign, 5000 women from across Punjab were part of it.

In 2018, the government provided around 700 women with subsidised motorbikes.

The programme in Karachi, however, is set to be initiated in a private capacity, according to Salman Sufi, who put forth the Punjab Protection of Women Against Violence Act 2016.

Sufi is of the view that women in Pakistan no longer feel safe in public as they are routinely harassed and assaulted.

He was of the view that a programme like WoW was too important to be left to chance, hence he was personally funding it. He added that he was in talks with the Sindh government so they could officially endorse the programme.

Sufi also stated that the programme aims to provide independent mobility to women in a country where they are dependent on poor public transport infrastructure or male members of their family.

To prepare women for the programme, WoW would initially have motorbike training and road safety workshops, and would also include preparation for driving licence tests. The programme would also help women in their application for jobs when they are independently mobile.

Moreover, the programme would be without a fee, as Sufi believes that not being able to pay should not be a reason why women don’t strive for independent mobility.

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