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Govt urged to include women in talks with militants

PESHAWAR: The government should include women in the process of holding talks with militants as role of women was vital in global as well as regional peace building, said a participant of a conference here on Monday.

The national conference on ‘Women and contemporary challenges’ was organised by the core group of Islamic Women Conference.

“Women’s role in global as well as regional peace building is vital and present government should include women when it initiates peace process or talks with the militants,” said Shagufta Malik, a former legislator.

She said that women were the worst affected by terrorism and their voice should be heard whenever the government held peace talks with militants.

Ms Malik said that voice of women was often ignored but peace would not prevail if they were ignored. She said that women should be made part of decision making bodies.

Sitara Ayaz, former provincial minister and chairperson of the Islamic Women Conference, said that the purpose of the conference was to gather women from different fields and different areas and hold discussion to come out with the solutions to their problems.

“Muslims, especially women, are projected negatively but this conference is an effort to dispel the impression and share thoughts on role Govt urged to include women in talks with militants and status of women in a society,” she said.

She believed that lack of education was the major issue that hindered women’s progress in Pakistani society.

Shamama Arbab, a businesswoman, said that women should, at least, have functional literacy so that they could set up a small business and become economically empowered.

She said that the first wife of Prophet (PBUH), Hazrat Khadija (RA) was a businesswoman. “It means that Islam doesn’t stop women from work or doing business,” she added. Ms Arbab spoke about importance education for economic empowerment of women.

Swabi University Vice-chancellor Dr Noor Jehan, the only woman vice-chancellor of a public sector university in the province, spoke about the challenges she faced as a woman. However, she said that women could progress in any field if they got education.

A number of women from different walks of life shared their views on empowerment of women. They said that women had rights and duties in Islam so they should not be discouraged from taking part in social, political and economic activities.

They said that women should get education for progress in life. They also demanded of the government to implement the laws formulated by the previous government to ensure protection of women.

The image of Muslim women portrayed by the west should be countered by depicting successes of women in Muslim world, the speakers added.

Women from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Fata, Punjab, Sindh and Kashmir participated in the day-long conference. Women professionals and politicians also shared their views during the conference on issues of women.


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