By SALEEM SHAHID
QUETTA: Women members of the Balochistan Assembly on Wednesday demanded that political parties should award party tickets to women to contest the elections on general seats.Speaking at an event to mark International Women’s Day, Speaker of the Balochistan Assembly Raheela Hameed Khan Durrani said that women had the ability to face challenges because of their struggle.
She added that women had proved their talent by achieving different goals in various sectors.
A large number of people, including MPAs, provincial ministers and representatives of various non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the civil society attended the event and presented their suggestions to empower Pakistani women in the province and across the country.
Ms Durrani, who presided over the event, explained that an educated woman could change the society as she could understand the rights and responsibilities of a woman. She narrated the story of her own struggle and how she became the provincial assembly’s speaker. She said that her patents supported her and her drive to learn which was essential for her success.
The speaker claimed that education was the only way through which women could play their part in society and achieve their goals. She said that women needed support and cooperation from their male colleagues. She added that positive criticism always helped in improving performance.
“The provincial governments and political parties have extended their help and cooperation to female legislators and expressed their confidence to pave the way for enhancing their performance and utilising their talent,” she said, adding that legislation was necessary to protect the rights of women, children and differently abled persons in society.
Speaking at the event, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) MPA Shahida Rauf said: “We need the women’s rights determined in Islam and not more than that — Islam has given enough rights and respect to women.”
Referring to the rights of special or differently abled persons, she said that they should be given representation in the national and provincial assemblies and the Senate through reserved seats. “I will move a resolution in the Balochistan Assembly in this regard,” she said, adding that she would also move a bill regarding a woman’s share in property as adopted by the Punjab government.
MPA Yasmeen Lehri, Deputy Opposition leader Zamarak Khan Piralizai, former Senator Roshan Khursheed Bharucha, Sardar MPA Abdul Rehman Khetran, Prince Ahmed Ali, Saima Haroon of the Aurat Foundation, MPA Barkat William and many others also spoke at the event.
They paid rich tribute to the speaker and her struggle for the rights of the Balochistan’s women.
They said that Balochistan had the honour of having a woman at the provincial assembly’s top seat. They added that women should be brought into mainstream politics by awarding them party tickets to contest the elections on general seats. “The election stigma of woman on reserved seats should be removed and parties should award party tickets to women for taking part in the elections,” said Ms Lehri.
Women-focused organisations and government departments, including the Frontier Corps also held events to observe International Women’s Day across the province.
At a press conference, Sana Durrani, the chairperson of Today’s Women Organisation, said that they had been working for the rights of women in Balochistan for a long time now.
She added that the women of the province had the ability to not just contribute to peace and prosperity in the province but the country as well.