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Japan, UNOPS Pakistan launch pilot project in transport sector

ISLAMABAD: The Embassy of Japan and the UNOPS Country Office in Pakistan signed a UNOPS pilot project aimed at the development of women-specific transport service in selected districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

The ceremony was attended by high officials from the Economic Affairs Division, Planning Commission of Pakistan and Department of Transport K-P along with UN Resident Coordinator and heads of other UN agencies and representatives of foreign missions and donor agencies.

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The envisaged project is to be implemented by UNOPS Pakistan office in partnership with the K-P Transport Department and UN Women through the financial support of the Japan government, which is contributing 191 million JPY ($1.79 million) for the duration of the project.

In his opening address, UN Resident Coordinator Neil Buhne underlined that the fear of harassment women face each day brings down their productivity. Hence the introduction of ‘Women Bus Service’ “is an initiative taken to make women feel safe, secured and comfortable when travelling. These buses aim to protect women during travel and reduce the risk of being a potential victim,” Buhne explained.

“The project will pilot 14 buses in 3 districts of K-P; Peshawar, Mardan and Abbottabad.”

Also speaking on the occasion, UNOPS Pakistan Director and Representative Muhammad Haider Reza said, “Working women and female students experience sexual harassment from men working as drivers and conductors/ticket collectors in public transport.”

He said that UNOPS considers it an honour to support and work in close partnership on this innovative project.

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UN Women Country Representative Jamshed M Kazi emphasised that “the introduction of women-only buses in K-P is a simple idea with potentially transformative results for women’s empowerment”. Applauding the initiative, he expressed hope that the project will pave the way for more cities and districts to benefit from this service.

Transport and Mass Transit Department Provincial Secretary Zubair Asghar Qureshi thanked the Japan government, UNOPS and UN Women for supporting the initiative.

He said the project is also being linked up with the Mass Transit System or Bus Rapid Transit that is being developed in Peshawar, which will also cater to the needs of the women.

“The public transport system in other cities will also get a boost, which will help improve systems in the city of Abbottabad and Mardan.”

courtesy : Express Tribune

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