Since its early years
Raasta has initiated and participated in several public service
initiatives of which the extensive study on the interplay of formal
and customary laws on women and men (1997-2003) stands out. The
findings were disseminated widely both nationally and internationally
and have contributed to many policy issues now being debated in
parliament and being addressed through government and civil society
efforts. The study was quoted extensively in international women's
empowerment and human rights circles and acknowledged by Amnesty
International UK, as being the most objective and most comprehensive
study coming out of Pakistan on the subject.
Other public service
initiatives have included humanitarian and fund raising campaigns
for drought relief in 1999-2000 and for Afghan refugees in Balochistan
2001-2002. These efforts were encapsulated in Hisaar Foundation
- a foundation for water, food and livelihood security, which became
a separate legal entity in 2003, set up under section 42 of the
Companies Ordinance 1984, and is an approved non-profit organization
under section 2(36) (c) of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001.
As part of its continuing
public service, Raasta provides support to Hisaar Foundation and
is a member of the Karachi Water Partnership (an initiative of Hisaar
Foundation). It also provides support to the Bookgroup, a research
organization for initiating reform in the education sector.