Despite threats, sole female prosecutor in east stands firm
JALALABAD (Pajhwok): The sole woman prosecutor in eastern Nangarhar province says female judges are unwilling to work in the judicial sphere because of the insecurity and low salaries.
Nangarhar is the only province in the east that has a female prosecutor, Shakiba Danish, who holds the BA degree in law,. There is no female judge or prosecutor in the zone.
She recently took over as prosecutor in the ‘preventing violence against women sector’ of the provincial attorney’s office. Motivated by her father to continue studies, she was constantly asked by friends to take up an official job.
Now that she has assumed charge, Shakiba says the bad security situation was a threat to her. Although she is a punctual judicial official, she is continually haunted by security concerns.
“Performing duty here is a threat to me; because I am the only female prosecutor. In fact, I am faced with a host of challenges. But I will fight on and provide services to my sisters until my last breath.”
She cited ubiquitous insecurity, low salaries and female prosecutors’ positions held by men as main reasons behind women’s unwillingness to work at the attorney’s office.
According to her, a man is currently serving as head of the section for preventing violence against women. “I want women to serve in jobs reserved for them,” the official added.
Shakiba initially worked as a volunteer, but the attorney general’s office later appointed her to the position. Now she is the only woman judicial official across the eastern zone.
Shakiba said she had no problem with the work environment or male associates, but she would serve more freely and confidently in the company of female colleagues.
She asked the AGO and international legal aid organisations to pay greater heed to appointing female judges and prosecutors to see to it that women’s issues were resolved by women.
Prevention of violence against women section chief Abdul Waheed Hakimi told Pajhwok Afghan News Shakiba could be assigned to probe women-related cases. But there is still need for more female prosecutors.
“Earlier, we used to investigate women’s cases through female defense lawyers. After Shakiba’s appointment, however, the issue has been resolved,” he observed.
Provincial attorney Khalid Orya acknowledged female prosecutors faced a lot of problems in the past, but efforts were being made to encourage more women to serve as prosecutors.
Based on recommendations from AGO, he said, programmes were being carried out for professionally training women prosecutors. Around 40 law faculty female graduates will be trained for six months.
“Also, they would be also paid stipends during this period of six months and efforts will be made to create job opportunities for them by the end of the training programme,” he promised.
Nangarhar attorney’s office is not the only organisation that has only one female worker; the court of appeals and other judicial institutions neither have female judges nor women employees.
Nangarhar Appellate Court Judge Abdul Wali Qazizada told Pajhwok there was not a single female judge in the province, though some women defence lawyers were there.
Efforts are being made to hire female personnel to ensure gender equality, but no one has evinced any interest in such jobs, according to the judge.
“Security may have an impact, but the main problem is the salary and internship. Salaries are dismally low and women are not interested in working as they have to go through two years of judicial internship in Kabul,” Qazizada argued.
Despite millions of dollars that have been spent on promoting women’s rights in the country over the past 15 years, particularly in Nangarhar, no female judge/prosecutor has been appointed.
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