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Awards for reporting on women’s issues instituted

HYDERABAD, May 20: Sindh Minister for Women Development Touqeer Fatima Bhutto has announced 10 annual “Shaheed Rani Awards” for journalists for filing best reports on women’s problems and highlighting the cases of violence against women.

She made this announcement at a “meet the press” programme at Hyderabad Press Club here on Tuesday.She said that there could be no democracy without free media and condemned the excesses unleashed against journalists by the previous regime.

Paying tribute to the media personnel, especially female journalists, she said that the journalist fraternity had performed their duties magnificently against heavy odds.

The minister said 10 Shaheed Rani awards, named after the assassinated PPP leader Benazir Bhutto, will be given to journalists every year for filing best reports highlighting the problems of women.

Responding to the welcome speech made by press club president Khalid Khokhar, she held out an assurance that she will definitely approach the Sindh chief minister to resolve the problems of the journalists and press club especially with regards to allotment of plots and financial grant.The minister said that the government was determined to complete the mission of Ms Benazir Bhutto and would translate her dream of country’s prosperity into a reality.

She said that she was fully aware of the problems faced by women, especially of rural women, and would do everything possible to protect their legal and human rights and eliminate violence against women in the shape of karo-kari or on any other pretext.“Hyderabad is my own city,” she said and added that she would do everything possible for the betterment of women and the city.

“I wish that 35 per cent quota is reserved for women in every field of endeavour,” she said and added that the labour act will have to be activated to protect the legal rights of women.

She said women deserved to be paid more than men as they were more hardworking and conscientious.

She said rural women would be given loans for livestock to enable them to supplement their family income and live a respectable life.

Ms Fatima said that complaint centres would be established at all the regional headquarters to register women’s complaints and ladies rescue teams would be available at the offices of the DCOs to help resolve the domestic and other problems of women.

She pointed out that many girls’ schools were lying closed because women teachers were afraid to be posted in such schools for want of protection. She said to facilitate the working women hostels will be established as well as shelter houses for destitute women.

She said in rural areas, raw material will be provided to the women artisans and finished goods will be purchased by the government to enable them to stand on their own feet.
Source: Dawn