Islamabad
Police in Islamabad have launched a mobile app, developed from the National Information Technology Board (NITB), to help women identify and trace harassers and report incidents of harassment. Image Credit: Supplied

Islamabad: Police in Islamabad have launched a mobile app, developed from the National Information Technology Board (NITB), to help women identify and trace harassers and report incidents of harassment.

With the help of the new app, the mobile phone users besides lodging complaints will also have the option to upload pictures and mark safe routes to travel to particular locations in the city.

The initiative is in line with the Islamabad police commitment and efforts to make the city and its public spaces safe for women harassment-free, said a senior police officer of Islamabad Superintendent Police (SP) Sarfaraz Virk. He urged citizens to make such initiatives successful by using them responsibly.

Under the e-police feature, mobile phone users will now be able to report incidents of harassment and assault and the app will alert the police of the area concerned to come into action against the culprits.

In any uncomfortable situation, women will just have to tap a button to share their location with the authorities, further said the official.

The step has been taken after an increasing number of complaints of sexual harassment by women from different walks of life.

In September, a woman cyclist Samar Khan had complained on social media that she was harassed by a man when she stopped her cycle at the red signal. According to Khan, she was fondled by an unknown person on a motorbike.

Inappropriate move

After making an inappropriate move, the man sped away. Khan shared on her twitter account that despite her best effort to chase the man on her bicycle, she was unable to catch him.

She pointed out she didn’t blame anyone, neither men nor the government for whatever happened to her. However, she went on to question her followers as on social media how they could ignore such incidents while witnessing them happen to a woman in public.

Immediately, after Khan’s complaint went viral, Islamabad administration and police stirred into action and a massive hunt down of the accused man started in various parts of Islamabad. Police even took help from the Close Circuit TV (CCTV) cameras to trace the man but didn’t succeed.

It was after the incident that the police IT section started work to protect women against harassment and as a result the new app was launched.

Incidents of sexual abuse are on rise in Islamabad’s public places and offices according to the Federal Ombudsman or Anti-Harassment’s recent report.

The report says that as a result of the awareness campaign, access to the Federal Ombudsman’s Office has been made easier for women, and in two years, the Federal Ombudsman for Anti-Harassment registered 490 cases of harassment by affected women, whereas 414 cases of these have been decided and 76 cases are pending.