Androulla Kaminara, the Ambassador of the European Union to Pakistan, attended the launch ceremony of the new mobile app. Image Credit: Supplied

Islamabad: Women rights activists, members of civil society and women parliamentarians have termed the launch of a mobile phone application ‘Humqadam’ a big step forward regarding provision of support to victims as well as survivors of domestic or other forms of violence.

Humqadam provides step-by-step information and guidance for victims of specific forms of violence, i.e. domestic violence, with available multi-sectoral referral pathways at all levels.

The project has been financially supported by the European Union (EU).

Cases of violence

The mobile application has been developed by Shirkat Gah and the Democratic Commission on Human Development (DCHD), with the technical support of Technology for People Initiative (TPI) at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS).

Farida Shaheed Executive Director Shirkat Gah said the app provides contact information regarding services that respond to cases of violence against women and girls and other human rights violations.

The app serves as one-stop information tool for anyone who needs information about police and law enforcement, relevant laws, government helplines, ministries and commissions as well as civil society organisations that provide legal aid and psycho-social support.

The information covers so far information about Federal and Provincial institutions as well as a detailed mapping of services available in eight districts (Peshawar, Mardan, Lahore, Vehari, Quetta, Jaffarabad, Karachi and Hyderabad).

Androulla Kaminara, the Ambassador of the European Union to Pakistan said at the launching ceremony: “The Humqadam App is an urgently needed service to women and girl survivors of violence and we are proud to have facilitated its development.

The EU supports, as part of its strategic engagement with Pakistan, the continued progress of the country to protect and women’s and children’s rights, and promote women empowerment.”

Secretary Parliamentarian Caucus Munaza Hassan highlighted the importance of women’s empowerment in social, economic, cultural and political spheres of life to achieve equity for all women.

Fatima Khan from NCSW Balochistan emphasised on the inclusion of regional languages on this app.

Torture and teargas

Feb 12 being Pakistan’s National Women’s Day, was selected for the launch.

On this day in 1983, women were subjected to torture and teargas in Lahore while they were protesting Martial Law regime of the day and its black laws.

While sharing details of struggle in those black days Farida said women were forced to remain silent and in the four walls of the house, however many activists, students and many from other walks from life came forward on the 12th February where they were outnumbered by the police.

She also saluted men and everyone who have supported and still continue to struggle to make Pakistan a gender just Pakistan where peace prevails where no one is targeted for their gender, sect and differently abled.

Ameena Rahman presented the logistics and details of the app. She explained that the purpose of this app was to ensure safety and protection of women, girls and human rights defenders.

Dr. Suleman Shahid Assistant Professor at LUMS presented the technical part of the app he appreciated the support from Shirkat Gah and explained that LUMS will further work on enhancing the app such as audio aid for those who are unable to read.