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Women-only ‘pink rickshaw’ hits the road in Lahore

Women-only ‘pink rickshaw’ hits the road in Lahore

Women-only ‘pink rickshaw’ hits the road in Lahore

A Pakistani woman, fed up with being groped and harassed by male rickshaw drivers, has launched her own service exclusively for women in her home city of Lahore.

Zar Aslam, president of Pakistan’s non-profit Environment Protection Fund, said she once narrowly escaped kidnapping by a rickshaw driver when she was a student, which triggered the idea of launching her Pink Rickshaw service.

Pakistan is notorious for sexual abuse of women. Offenders often go unpunished within a legal system that can treat the victims as the guilty party.

“This is another step towards women’s financial and professional empowerment,” Aslam said at her home in Lahore. “I and my co-workers face harassment by male auto drivers or by passersby while waiting for public transport.”

The rickshaws are covered, three-wheel motorcycles. Aslam has bought one and added fans, doors and headlights and painted it pink and white. Aslam is looking for sponsors to help her have at least 25 in operation by the end of the year.

“One rickshaw costs 300,000 rupees [£3,250], therefore it cannot be done without sponsorship from donors,” she said, adding that the government had not offered assistance. “We will lease out the rickshaws to deserving females on easy instalment. We will teach them driving and will also help them get the driving licence.”

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