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Fehmida urges end to violence against women

ISLAMABAD: Acting President Dr Fehmida Mirza has said that no society could progress without women participation in all walks of life, adding that existence of violence against women in any society was a big barrier to development.

She expressed these views on the occasion of launching the signing of campaign card of “Say no to violence against women” organized by United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) to commemorate the International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women at Aiwan-e-Sadar here Tuesday.

The acting president said that violence against women and harassment at work place was one major issue that perturb many the world over. She said that the new democratic government in Pakistan was committed to women empowerment and protection of women’s rights and was making legislation to protect women from domestic violence and harassment at workplace.

She said that November 25 holds a special significance for women around the globe since it is dedicated to the memory of three sisters of the Dominican Republic, who opposed a dictator and sacrificed their lives. She said that the heroic tale of the three sisters has a sticking similarity to the gallant struggle of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto who lived for her people and laid her life for their freedom and emancipation. She said that Benazir Income support Programme was also important for the empowerment of women in the rural areas.

Fehmida said that the creation of Women’s Parliamentary Caucus with an objective to protect rights and status of Pakistani women, is a milestone in the history of women rights in Pakistan. She said that through this Caucus, 76 women MNAs would endeavour to protect women rights and make their voice heard louder and clear in the corridors of power.

The acting president said that as the patron of the Women Parliamentary Caucus, I feel the tremendous responsibility to seek a just and secure environment for the women of Pakistan, enabling them to contribute to their fullest for the development and progress of the country. She said that for this noble cause, I seek cooperation of all segments of the society to work jointly and make Pakistan a great nation.

Speaking on the occasion, Country Programme Director of the UNIFEM, Alice Harding Shackelford said that women issues in Pakistan needed greater attention. She lauded the policies initiated by the government for the protection of women rights and women empowerment in Pakistan. Appreciating the formation of Women Parliamentary caucus, she said that the UNIFEM looked forward to the Women Caucus of the Parliament and the government initiatives for elimination of violence against women and their empowerment. UNIFEM also looks forward for a long and successful collaboration with government and NGOs, she added.

Earlier, the acting president signed the UNIFEM card “Saying No to Violence against Women” and launched the 16-days campaign organized by UNIFEM to commemorate the International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women.

The card signing ceremony was attended by senators and MNAs at the President House.

Faisal Karim Kundi, Acting Speaker National Assembly, Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Senator Raza Rabbani, Farzana Raja, Sardar Israr Tareen, Rukhsana Bungash, Nuzhat Sadiq also signed the UNIFEM cards.
Source: Business Recorder
Date:11/26/2008

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