A local assembly in Pakistan’s remote Bajaur tribal district has banned women from visiting child-welfare centers that provide regular cash allowances for mothers from impoverished backgrounds.
The assembly, or jirga, in Bajaur’s Mamoond area said that women’s visits to the offices of the Child Wellness Grants violate local cultural norms. The jirga said that as of February 6 any household that allows a female member of the family to visit the child-welfare centers will face a fine.
The jirga also prohibited women from taking part in radio call-in shows, claiming that “vulgar language” is often used during phone-in programs aired by local FM radio stations.
Many families in the religiously conservative area don’t allow women to work outside home or even leave their homes without a male companion.
The Bajaur district government condemned the jirga’s announcement.
“Banning women from visiting the centers or calling radio stations is a violation of basic human rights,” Bajuar Fayaz, the district’s deputy commissioner said on February 6.
Fayaz said he has arranged a meeting with the jirga members to resolve the issue.
Child Wellness Grants, which are funded by the World Bank, are aimed at improving the health and nutrition of the poorest children in Pakistan by financially supporting their mothers.