ISLAMABAD: Terming the Women Protection Bill (WPB) a great piece of legislation for women in Pakistan, federal Minister for Women Development and Youth Affairs Sumaira Malik Monday said the government would enact more laws for women in the days ahead.“The journey towards a society having gender equality and equal opportunities for women will continue,” she said while speaking at a seminar on “International day for elimination of violence against women” here.The event was organized by the European Commission, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) and Oxfam Pakistan. Ms Malik said that violence against women was a worldwide phenomenon, with Pakistan no exception to it.
She observed that violence was not only physical, but denial of equal opportunities also amounted to violence. She said the passing of WPB was a step towards doing away with discriminatory laws against women. “Two distortions in the constitution bringing a bad name to Islam as well as Pakistan have been removed,” she remarked. She said the bill was in line with the injunctions of the Holy Quran and Sunnah and those terming it something un-Islamic were in fact trying to mislead the people to achieve political mileage. She said the legislation had restored the honour and dignity of women and given them a hope for a better future.
“The state was bound to protect women but no government in the last 27 years gave them courage to take a step in this direction,” she remarked. Ms Malik said the bill would be implemented throughout the country but she did elaborate on what would be the government’s strategy if the MMA-led government in NWFP did not implement it in the province. She pointed out the State Bank governor was a lady and women were also serving the armed forces and police and demonstrating their skills in the private sector as well.Michael Dale, Head of Operations, European Union, said the worldwide phenomenon of violence against women had a relevance in Pakistan. He was of the view that gender equality was critical for long-term sustained development of the country. “The world is changing so fast these days and we cannot isolate ourselves from this global phenomenon. There is violence, there is inequality and this is regrettable,” he remarked.