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CHARSADDA, Jan 25: Leaders of mainstream political parties

CHARSADDA, Jan 25: Leaders of mainstream political parties here on Friday pledged all-out cooperation to safeguard women’s rights in the district at all costs.

Addressing a seminar — Face to face dialogue with political parties — organised by the Aurat Foundation, MMA leader Maulana Gohar Shah said “Islam guarantees full protection to women and has clearly identified their role in civil society”.

Before Islam, he said, people used to burry their daughters alive and women were considered a curse but Islam as a religion has given them a dignified place in the society. Hazrat Ayesha (RA) who could be named as a political activist of that time is a living example in this regard.

The MMA, he said, opposed the passage of women protection bill in the parliament on the count that there were a lot of contradictory things in the bill.

“I am impressed by the witticism and wisdom shown by the women representatives during the debate on the bill in the National Assembly,” MMA’s former legislator added.

The Awami National Party’s district women chapter chief Safia Naz said the ANP was a liberal democratic party which given men and women equal status in its manifesto. Expressing her concern, she said some political parties did not follow their manifestos and did nothing for the womenfolk after coming into power. The ANP, despite differences with the military-led regime, had supported the women protection bill in the parliament, she said.

Zahid Ali of the Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians (PPP) said his party believed in women rights and their frontline role in the party’s affairs was a glaring example for other parties to be followed. Benazir Bhutto was a role model for political parties in this regard, he added.

The Aurat Foundation’s provincial coordinator Tehmeena said women in the society were still vulnerable and a lot of work for their emancipation has yet to be done. She expressed satisfaction over the role being played by political parties including the MMA in this respect and urged joint efforts for proper legislation. “Without political parties’ role we cannot bring a social change in the male dominated society,” she added.

Coordinator Aurat Foundation Tariq Khan condemned the decision of political parties in Dir where women had been excluded in costing their right to vote. Zermina Rafeeq said some political parties were violating the code of conduct which they had signed with the Election Commission of Pakistan.
Source: Dawn
Date:1/26/2008

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