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Investing in women key to progress

ISLAMABAD: The United States believes that investing in women is one of surest ways to achieve economic progress, political stability and greater prosperity for the people, including women of Pakistan.

This was stated by US Ambassador Richard Olson while speaking to the participants of a forum held to discuss ways to address domestic violence and crimes involving women at the Islamabad police lines. The event was organised in connection with the International Women Human Rights Defenders Day.

The ambassador also highlighted US efforts to empower Pakistani women and girls, including support to the special unit to investigate crimes against women and children established by the Islamabad police in 2010.

“That’s why the United States government supports the Islamabad capital territory police in their efforts to protect human rights and empower Pakistani women to lift up their families, their communities and their nation,” he said.

The United States trained the first 40 police investigators of the capital city’s special unit to probe crimes against women and children.

Since 2002, the US has partnered with the Islamabad police to provide it training, equipment and infrastructure support. Through this programme, more than 3,000 Islamabad police personnel besides over 6,000 from across Pakistan have been trained.

In 2011 and 2012, the United States government provided $840,000 to the capital police to purchase ambulances, bomb equipment vans, transport vehicles, patrol motorcycles and tactical equipment as well as to renovate classrooms at the police lines.

Meanwhile, a consultation was organised by Potohar Organisation for Development Advocacy (PODA) to mark the International Day of Women Defenders.

Sameena Nazir, the director PODA, said women working to defend human rights in Pakistan should be honoured and considered a national asset. “Malala Yousufzai is a defender of girls’ right to education in Pakistan so we name this years’ women defenders day after Malala,” she added.