Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that a major portion of Pakistan’s population comprises women and the country cannot progress without providing them education and equal opportunities for progress.
Sharif said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Punjab government has taken historic measures over the years for the progress and empowerment of women. He said that the Punjab government has published the first Gender Parity Report in South Asia, which is helping identify further measures which should be taken for the welfare and betterment of women so that they can play an active role for the socio-economic development of the society.
Addressing a ceremony in connection with the launch of Punjab Gender Parity Report 2016 and Gender Management Information System on Monday, the chief minister said that it is an important day in Pakistan’s history as the Punjab government has taken a lead role in ensuring women’s empowerment by launching the first Gender Parity Report 2016 in South Asia. He commended the efforts of Punjab Commission on Women Chairperson Dr Fauzia Viqar, her team and the concerned institutions on the preparation of the report and congratulated them.
Governor Punjab Malik Muhammad Rafique Rajwana, Provincial Ministers Begum Zakia Shahnawaz, Ayesha Ghaus Pasha, Hameeda Waheedud Din, Raja Ashfaq Sarwar, Australian High Commissioner Margaret Adamson, diplomats, Punjab Commission on Women Chairperson Fauzia Viqar, members of the assembly, chief secretary, inspector general Police, Chairman Planning & Development, concerned secretaries, representatives of NGOs and a large number of women were present on the occasion.
CM Sharif said that Islam has ensured great respect for women and stressed the importance of their empowerment and providing them equal rights. He said that a Hadith of the Holy Prophet has further enhanced the respect of women by declaring that “Heaven is underneath the feet of the mother”. He said that the Punjab government has taken revolutionary measures under the leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for the progress and betterment of women in accordance with the vision of Quaid-e-Azam.
He said that the office of Ombudswoman has been set up in Punjab while the right of a woman in ancestral property has been ensured through legislation and land record management information system. He said that a Women’s Commission has also been established for resolving the problems of women, while 15 per cent quota has been allocated for women in government jobs. He said that a relaxation of three years in age has also been given to women seeking government jobs. He said that daycare centers are being set up throughout the province for the benefit of working women and that vocational training has been imparted to 140,000 girls so far under skills development programme. He said the purpose of providing technical training to women is to ensure their economic and social independence.
He said that merit and transparency was ignored in the recruitment of lady health workers during the dictatorial era but under the 18th Amendment, Health Department has been devolved. Therefore, the lady health workers have also been transferred to the provinces. He said that though the previous government ignored merit in the recruitment of lady health workers but as this matter concerned women, the Punjab government regularised them and provided funds of billions of rupees for payment of their salaries. He said that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government in the province has promoted the policy of merit and transparency during all its tenures and all that all recruitments in government departments have been made purely on merit. Still, he said, the lady health workers have not been removed from service.
Governor Punjab Malik Muhammad Rafique Rajwana while addressing the ceremony said that the Punjab government has launched the Gender Parity Report 2016 which is a matter of pleasure for the whole nation. He said that the launch of such a report for the first time in South Asia is an honour. He said that women are taking a lead in the field of education and their role in other sectors is also praiseworthy. He said that the government has taken laudable measures for the progress of women under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif. He said that the Punjab government has also undertaken effective legislation for ensuring the rights of women in inheritance.