MARDAN: There is only one family park for a population of 2.4 million in Mardan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, while in general parks, women often complain about harassment and uneasy situations.
The only family park in Mardan is situated in Sheikh Maltoon Town, the posh area of the district where only the nearby residing women come, while it is almost inaccessible for women from far off villages.
Gul Bano, who came to family park along with her children in Sheikh Maltoon, said while talking to TNN that she and her children enjoy coming to the park, but annoyance by some unwanted people is a big problem and there are no proper arrangements for security. She said there are few facilities at the park and only the men accompanying their female family members are allowed to enter in theory, but some men manage to enter the park without females and these people stare and women and tease them.
Gul Bano said most women cannot come to parks due to cultural and financial constraints. The district administration had announced to establish a family park at College Chowk, but very few women visit that park. Gul Bano said she went to that park once, but there were no benches for visitors and no equipment for children to play. That is why Gul Bano now brings her children to Sheikh Maltoon Park.
According to a research study, about 46 percent women in KP are confronted by some sort of stress-related issues, and the main reason behind this problem is lack of access to recreational and healthy activities.
Mental Health Specialist Arshi Arbab said healthy and recreational activities are imperative to maintain good health. She said women are increasingly suffering from mental health problems because they don’t get opportunity to go out of home as they have to observe pardah and other cultural matters. She said many women also don’t get permission for education and jobs and they always remain confined to their homes and feel stress.
Mardan Tehsil Municipal Administration Supervisor Yasin Ilyas said the administration has set up small parks at the union council level. He admitted that there is only one family park out of total 11 parks which needs improvement. He said work on 398 kanals mega park is also underway and funds have been allocated for improvement of the existing parks.