Women-only buses hit the road in Pakistan’s Mardan district

Women-only bus service launched in Pakistan’s Mardan district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province from April 4, 2019. (Photo courtesy: Social media)
Updated 04 April 2019

Women-only buses hit the road in Pakistan’s Mardan district

  • Seven buses will operate in Mardan starting April 4 for exclusive use by women and accompanying children
  • Seven more buses will start operations in Abbottabad later this month, all buses fitted with safety app connected to CCTV cameras

ISLAMABAD: The government of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on Thursday inaugurated a women-only pink bus service in Mardan district aimed at providing safe, reliable and economical transportation for women of the conservative northwestern region.
A total of 14 buses have been procured with financial assistance from the government of Japan and technical support from the United Nations Office for Project Services, an operational arm of the United Nations, and UN Women. UNOPS has also constructed 16 bus stops in Mardan through which the buses will be operated.
“Seven buses will operate in Mardan starting 4th April 2019, through specific bus stops, for exclusive use by women and accompanying children,” UN Women Pakistan said in a statement. “Seven more buses under the project will start operation in Abbottabad later this month.”
Sexual and other types of harassment on buses often deter women, especially in Pakistan’s conservative northwestern regions, to stay home and avoid public transportation, thus giving up on opportunities for education and work.
“An estimated 64% of women in Mardan use private transportation as an alternative,” the UN statement said. “Women who cannot afford private transportation are forced to forfeit opportunities for education and employment.”
Speaking at the launch ceremony for the new bus service, Samita Khawar, UNOPS Pakistan Country Manager UNOPS, thanked the government of Japan for the financial assistance for the project and the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for owning it.
“This initiative aims to protect women during travel and reduces the risk of being a potential victim. It will provide safe, secure and comfortable transport to the women of Mardan,” Khawar said.
Since safety was the primary concern for women traveling alone, Khawar said, with the support of UN Women Pakistan, the buses had been equipped with a safety app connected to CCTV cameras installed in the buses. Gender sensitization training modules have also been developed for the staff engaged in operations of the buses. 
“We are excited to see the operationalization of busses and hope that this temporary special measure will increase women’s mobility and also pave the way for behavioral change in society to make existing infrastructure more responsive to women’s needs,” Zainab Khan, Head of Sub-Office UN Women Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said.


Makkah governor, Pakistan’s consul general discuss Hajj arrangements

Updated 05 February 2020

Makkah governor, Pakistan’s consul general discuss Hajj arrangements

  • Majid presented a painting of Islamabad’s Faisal Mosque, named after King Faisal, to the Makkah governor
  • Prince Khaled welcomed the consul general and recalled fond memories of his visit to Pakistan many years ago

MAKKAH: Khalid Majid, consul general of Pakistan in Jeddah, recently paid a courtesy call to Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal.
Majid expressed his gratitude for the facilities extended to the Pakistani mission as well as to the Pakistani community in the Kingdom.
Prince Khaled welcomed the consul general and recalled fond memories of his visit to Pakistan many years ago, and acknowledged the cordial relations between the two countries.
Issues related to the Pakistani community and upcoming Hajj arrangements were also discussed. The consul general extended an invitation to Prince Khaled to visit Pakistan at his earliest convenience, which was accepted.
Majid presented a painting of Islamabad’s Faisal Mosque, named after King Faisal, to the Makkah governor.