Kainat Ali Khan
Beside many other issues and barriers which have curbed the development and empowerment of women in society in different walks of life, the issue of transport is one of the concerns for women in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
In order to resolve this issue of women harassment in public transport, the KP government with the help of Japan government has launched a project of transportation for women only in Mardan and Abbottabad districts of KP which is commonly known as Pink Bus Service.
In a man dominant society, it is not easy for a woman to go out of home alone because there are many cultural and religious norms and values which have stopped a woman from going alone outside the home. So it is one of the reasons that a woman or girl always feel a sense of insecurity while going out for school, college, or office.
According to an official of this project, this service has been started with 7 buses and the main purpose of the project was to provide women with a safe and sound environment necessary for traveling.
In local transportation, women usually face harassment of various natures of which steering, bullying, physical and psychological are common. The harassment at transportations usually go unchecked as there is no mechanism to report or talk about it.
The female students of colleges and universities in Mardan have welcomed this project and have called it a step towards women empowerment. Talking about this service, a college student, Sumbal said that they were usually not allowed to use the public transport alone due to fear of harassment.
Another young girl on the condition of anonymity said that she had personally faced a lot of harassment in public transport. And when she heard of this service she started “jumping with joy because she could move and travel safely.” She added that government should also lunch such projects in other big cities of Pakistan.
Sadia Khan a bus-hostess said that they needed to spread the word about pink bus service as still many from rural areas didn’t know this type of service exists in Mardan.
This service is also hailed by religious and political segments of society and termed it a step towards women empowerment. The service has enabled girls and women to go out for school, college, shop or Bazaar freely. Apart from that this service is also convenient and reliable in every aspect.
Kainat Ali Khan is a student of Journalism at Abdul Wali Khan University of Mardan.