President’s message

Dr Alvi expressed concern over the retrogressive laws in the making in Europe in the wake of Islamophobia to target Muslims, including women. He said the media could play an important role in changing cultural scriptures about problems such as domestic violence by portraying it as an ill-practice. The president said the role of Ulema (religious figures) could prove effective in supporting healthcare issues, including breastfeeding and population control. Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari said the women had played a forefront role in the national development right from the creation of Pakistan by standing shoulder-to-shoulder with their male counterparts. She said whether it was struggle for family laws in the era of 60s or the present day ‘Aurat March’ and ‘Haya March’, women of the country always championed their rights with diversity in views or forms. She said the government’s amendments in inheritance laws led to smooth dispensation of justice and mentioned that soon the bill on amendment in Protection of Women Against Harassment at Workplace Act would be tabled in National Assembly. She urged upon the international community to take serious note of the rape incidents of Kashmiri women and the detention of women political leaders in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, besides the persistent violation of Geneva Convention. Minister for Defence Production Zubaida Jalal said education and financial security was the basis of women empowerment that gave strength to girls and women to make their mark in all fields of life. She mentioned that the school, she had founded 38 years ago in Balochistan’s Mand village, paved way for local girls to excel as a pilot, bankers and paramedics. During the COVID-19, she said, as an educationist, she started first ‘camel library’ in different areas of Balochistan to help children continue their studies during lockdown. She mentioned that 200 women had recently joined Frontier Corps in Balochistan in the fight against terrorism. Dr Fehmida Mirza, Member of National Assembly and former NA speaker, said the women could harness their potential and achieve tremendously if provided a level-playing field instead of the treatment of gender bias. She proposed a gender-specific national budgeting, a 10 percent quota in party tickets in general elections and an intensive post-legislative scrutiny of Harassment at Workplace Act to make it more inclusive. EU Ambassador to Pakistan Androulla Kaminara said a conducive legal environment and a gender sensitive approach was need of the hour.

Ali Khan

Lahore

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