Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani on Tuesday inaugurated the women-only bus service here.
Earlier in the month, the Pink Bus Service was launched in Mardan.
Funded by the Japanese government, the initiative was undertaken by the United Nations Office for Project Services in partnership with the UN Women, a United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and empowerment of women.
Addressing the bus service inauguration ceremony at the Jalal Baba Auditorium, the assembly speaker said the provincial government had fulfilled its commitment to providing safe, reliable and hassle-free transport facility to women in Abbottabad, the major city of Hazara division.
He said the initiative was part of the government’s efforts for the women’s empowerment and facilitation.
“This project is the first of its kind not only in Pakistan but in the entire South Asian region as well. It will provide safe, economical, reliable and hassle-free transport facility to women in Abbottabad,” he said.
Mr Ghani said the ruling PTI was committed to protecting the women’s rights and providing them with employment opportunities.
He said a bill against domestic violence would be tabled in the provincial assembly soon.
UNOPS director Charles Chanan, who was also in attendance, said his organisation was committed to helping the government for the women’s development.
Local MPA Maleeha Asghar said the number of Pink buses would be increased in light of the women’s response to the service.
She said buses had been designed for women and minor children accompanying them.
“Seven buses will cover 15 bus stops built by UNOPS on an 18-kilometer route from Mansehra Bus Stop to Frontier Medical College. Every bus stop is powered by solar panels ensuring uninterrupted lighting after sunset,” she said.
The MPA said the government would develop women’s hostels and babysitting facilities for working women besides ensuring provision of technical education to women.
A representative of the UN Women said along with the UNOPS, the organisation had been actively involved to make the bus project a landmark of women’s empowerment by enhancing their mobility and access to education and employment.
He said the initiative was meant to provide women with safer public transport.
Originally published in Dawn, May 1st, 2019