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President supports increasing women’s role in development

ISLAMABAD: President Pervez Musharraf reiterated the government’s commitment to a better and safer future for Pakistani women on Friday, and expressed his hope that the newly elected government will further enhance and integrate the role of women in national development.

“Pakistan joins the international community to commemorate International Women’s Day on March 8, to focus attention and reaffirm our commitment towards a better and safer future for Pakistani women,” the president said in a message issued for the occasion.

He said this year’s theme of “Investing in Women and Girls” highlights the need to address the issues being confronted by women and girls throughout the country by providing greater resources, not only in financial terms but also by bringing about positive changes in the mindset of the people.

“I am pleased to mention that in the recent years there has been a firm commitment and political will at the highest level of governance to enhance the status of women in society and ensure their full and effective participation in mainstream development,” he added.

The President said the government’s firm commitment to gender equality and gender mainstreaming should be translated into all measures and initiatives required to safeguard women’s rights and interests, including those of the girls, within available resources.

He congratulated the women of the world and Pakistan for their relentless efforts and the sacrifices they have rendered, and are still making, to free the world of all forms of discrimination, oppression and bias.

The President expressed the hope that “the newly elected government will further enhance and integrate the role of women in national development, and will certainly concentrate on devising policies, programmes, and strategies to fully utilise the expanding role of women in making the country peaceful and prosperous with zero gender discrimination”.

Soomro: Caretaker Prime Minister Muhammadmian Soomro also reaffirmed the government’s commitment to women’s development and empowerment.

In his International Women’s Day message, he said all women and men are equally entitled to share worldly opportunities throughout their lives, but unfortunately women had been left behind when compared to their male counterparts.

“As a signatory to various UN Conventions especially CEDAW and CRC, our commitment to remove and prevent all discriminatory practices from our social fabric has been further strengthened,” said Soomro.

The caretaker prime minister expressed his hope that the newly elected parliamentarians in general, and women legislators in particular, would raise their voices for the cause of women and girls. “This would help pave the way for gender balanced national

development and prosperity, with mutual partnership of the government and civil society,” he added. The progress and prosperity of any country is directly linked to the active participation of all the citizens in national affairs, and no country could make progress if half of its population was unable to participate in all walks of life. Thus, the emancipation of women was crucial for sustainable development, said Soomro.

Extra institutionalised efforts, both in monetary and non-monetary terms, would have to be made at the national level to narrow gender disparity in the social, legal, economic and political fields, he said.

The caretaker prime minister said these efforts and affirmative actions would reflect the government’s level of commitment, especially the political will to bring about short and long term improvement in the lives of the country’s women and girls.
Source: Daily Times
Date:3/8/2008

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