Aurat Publication & Information Service Foundation
Deeds not Words: Pakistan Alternative Civil Society's Alternative Report on CEDAW 2020, UN Headquarters, Geneva

UN Headquarters, Geneva

Deeds not Words: Pakistan Alternative Civil Society's Alternative Report on CEDAW 2020

Aurat Foundation in collaboration with Legal Aid Society has prepared Pakistan Alternative Civil Society's Alternative Report on CEDAW 2020. The report covers the period from 2013-2017. The report researched and written by Ms. Tahira Abdullah, Ms. Naheed Aziz, Ms. Maliha Zia and Mr. Naeem Ahmed Mirza. Ms. Mumtaz Mughal Director Programmes presented the report to CEDAW committee during the 75th Session of CEDAW on 9th to 13th February 2020 at UN Headquarters, Geneva. On behalf of over 200 NGOs and 4-Nationsl Alliances, she also read the "Oral Statement" about situation of "Women's Political and Public Participation in Pakistan" at CEDAW 75 session, on 10 Feb 2020.

This 2020 Alternative Report (Pakistan) covers women's critical concerns in relation to their rights as enshrined in the Pakistan Constitution. Besides responding to the CEDAW Committee's 2013 and 2019 Concluding Observations (COs), this Report draws attention to key issues emerging since the submission of Pakistan's Fifth Periodic Report (October 2018). That Report cites outdated statistics, e.g., Articles 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 (2012-2017 data). AF also demanded the withdrawal of 'Declaration' upon State accession to the Convention and ratification of CEDAW Optional Protocol.

The Government's responses in the Fifth Report give the impression that it has complied fully with CEDAW Articles in letter and spirit. Ground realities belie these tall claims. We appreciate some progress, e.g. enactment of women-friendly laws at federal and provincial levels, including positive amendments in electoral laws. Much of the credit goes to civil society, human rights activists' advocacy and proactive initiatives, women legislators, Status of Women Commissions (CSWs). Yet, there exist many unresolved issues within the bitter reality that women and girls risk being discriminated against, humiliated, raped, and "dishonour"-killed, on any pretext that offends patriarchal and misogynist mindsets. There are signs of regression instead of progression in several respects. The National Machinery for women's advancement is not fully functional or effective; illegal 'jirgas' and 'panchayats' continue to wreak havoc with women's lives. Enforcement of positive pro women legislation is not pursued seriously.

State Party Report shortcomings also include: failure to respond adequately to the Committee's COs and Recommendations; uneven representation or omission of provincial initiatives; use of outdated, and/or disputed data instead of credible independent national and global data-sets on varied dimensions of gender inequality; and failure to mention linkages to the SDGs. It does not identify, measure, analyse substantive change or improvement resulting from new laws and policies, as per adequacy of implementation, coverage, access to, or effectiveness of services.

This Alternative Report recognizes the resilience, courage and initiatives of women and girls in private and public spheres, legislators, minorities, persons with disability (PWDs) and transgender individuals (TGIs), taking action to reclaim their rights. We hope that federal and provincial governments will acknowledge harsh realities facing half the population and undertake concrete actions in compliance with the State's commitments under CEDAW. (Report is available on AF website: