Mamarha Afridi

PESHAWAR: The women in Peshawar have signed a petition for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister to restore facilities for them at the University Town Club and reverse the exorbitant increase in membership fee.

The women of the area gathered at the University Town Club as a mark of token protest and said the women and children have got membership of the club for having walk and enjoy fresh environment, but now the government is changing its policy and the membership fee will be increased to Rs30,000.

They said they used to enjoy calm and serene environment of University Town Club for healthy activities with a monthly fee of Rs500, but now it seems that the government is intending to make it a club for elites only by increasing its fee by a huge margin. They said it will not be possible for common citizens living in congested houses to retain their membership of the club in the given circumstances and they would be deprived of a healthy and clean activities.

The women said it is the responsibility of the government to provide places for recreation and healthy activities to the common man, but instead it was depriving them even of the existing facilities.

Dr Sadia, a psychiatrist, said while talking to TNN that men have easy access fresh air as there are no restrictions on their movement as such, but women and children are often deprived of it due to physical, cultural, financial and other restraints. She said a healthy society can be created by making the individuals healthy and fresh air is an essential component of healthy lifestyle.

Dr Sadia said there is not even a single green belt for women and children in Peshawar. She said it is the responsibility of the government to provide facilities of parks and green belts for women and children who are mostly and restricted to home.

The psychiatrist said every fourth woman is dealing with issues of depression and anxiety. She said women in small houses have a very little access to green areas and fresh air. She said more parks and recreational places for women must be established to improve their mental and physical health as a healthy woman is an essential component of a healthy society.

Fitrat Ilyaz , co-founder of women chamber and ladies club, said while talking to TNN that middles class families will suffer by making the University Town Club exclusive for elites. She said if this policy is implemented, the same practice is likely to be repeated in other parks in Peshawar. She said every citizen have equal right to entertainment and recreational facilities.

Ms Lubna, a local resident, told TNN that women in a Pakhtun society generally are not supposed to go for a walk on roadside. She said women contract different diseases due to lack of exposure to fresh air and clean environment.

She said that policies against women indicate downfall of concerned societies. She said the women from middle and lower middle class deserve better treatment and facilities. She said a meeting was held with the chief nazim in this regard, but it proved fruitless.