ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Women Development, Social Welfare and Special Education on March 20, awarded Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah Gold Medal to 18 women for their outstanding performances in various walks of life.
At an impressive ceremony organized by the ministry in connection with the International Women’s Day, President General Pervez Musharraf distributed gold medals and certificates among the winners.
It’s worth mentioning here that 2003 had been declared Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah Year and throughout the year various programmes were organized and awarding of gold medal was also part of the year’s celebrations.
Begum Sehba Musharraf and Nilofar Bakhtiar, advisor to prime minister on women development, were also present on the occasion besides around 200 women councillors, women parliamentarians, school girls and prominent women from various walks of life.
Speaking on the occasion, Ms Nilofar said over the last few years women had come a long way and making their impression everywhere, be it the armed forces, engineering or medical professions.
She said the government was striving for the social and economic empowerment of women and in this regard the ministry had started a number of programmes. “Time has come to encourage women participation at all levels to ensure proper utilisation of their abilities,” she said.
Ms Bakhtiar said the government’s programme “Women’s Political Participation Project” was meant for the political empowerment of women. She said, the ministry under this project was also planning to set up ten political schools.
She said under the two projects “Jafakash Aurat” and “Hunermand Aurat” the government had set up centres in all the provinces to encourage women entrepreneurs.
She said the ministry was working on increasing the number of crisis centres in all the provinces to provide legal assistance to women in distress. Also, separate women reporting centres have been set up at some police stations as pilot project, she added.
Ms Bakhtiar said under the directives of President Pervez Musharraf, a special committee had been set up for the welfare of women in jails. Soon, the Gender Reform Action Programme (GRAP) will be submitted to the cabinet which would open new doorways of opportunities for women in all the fields of life, she said.
She said the distribution of Fatima Jinnah Gold Medal was a step towards acknowledgement of women’s services at national level as well as a tribute to Ms Jinnah for her contributions to the Pakistan movement.
A book titled as “Memories of Fatima Jinnah” written by Begum Surayya Khurshid was also launched on the occasion. The writer also spoke on the occasion and shared her personal experience.
Later on gold medals were distributed among the winners selected by the special committees after detailed evaluation of the nominees’ credentials.
The award winners are: Ayesha Begum for literacy promotion, Dr Tehsin Ghaus for higher education and research, Ayesha Kolachi for promotion of agricultural activities, Bibi Aman for gardening promotion, Bas Khatam Jana for traditional trade, Sultana Bahadur as hardworking woman, Amna Khan for drama production, Narjis Zaidi for journalism, Majorie Hussain for fine arts, Farhat Rehman for voluntarily services, Dr Shaheen N. Khan for science, Farkhunda Iqbal for Women in Uniform (Police), Major Nusrat Bibi for Women in Uniform (Armed Forces), Imtiaz T. Kamal for medical services, Dr Farzana Suleman as courageous woman, Saeeda Qazi Esa for Pakistan Movement, Perveen Sheikh as best woman councillor and Dr Mina Kumari as best student (dental colleges).