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MPAs call for women’s empowerment

Karachi: The provincial assembly on Monday unanimously passed a resolution calling for the empowerment of women in connection with the National Women’s Day.

The resolution moved by Minister for Women Development Tauqeer Fatima Bhutto was supported by several other legislators. It reads: “Every year, Women’s Day brings a reminder of the movements launched and the struggle undertaken to push forward the cause of women, but it also points towards their plight. Women are quite vulnerable to oppression from their families and society not only because of lack of education and awareness, but due to poor economic opportunities, hence, timely measures need to be taken to improve the status of women by providing them equal educational and economic opportunities. The female members of the Sindh Assembly resolve to work together to build the capacity of women by empowering them with education, necessary skills, training and micro-finance. Moreover, we resolve to strive towards providing them with necessary health facilities and legal cover to safeguard their rights as enshrined under the 1973 constitution by making sustained efforts for improving the living and working conditions of women so that they can lead their lives with dignity and honour.”

Initiating the debate on the resolution, the women development minister said that February 12 was reminiscent of the struggle of Pakistani women, who in the year 1983 protested against the promulgation of Hudood laws.

Senior Education Minister Pir Mazhar said that they were planning to give Rs1, 000 to each girl child for the promotion of girls’ education. Law minister Ayaz Soomro said that the government was considering increasing the reserved seats for women legislators since their population was over 60 percent.

PPP’s Jam Tamachi Unnar said the provision of better educational facilities was an important ingredient for female empowerment. He wondered how their betterment could take place when schools were closed and education quality was declining.

PML-Q legislator Nuzhat Pathan said that change would not take place till the mindset that treated women as inferior was not reformed. She said the society was undemocratic as 55per cent of the women population did not participate in politics. She frowned that the women were being sold as ‘commodity’ in Karachi, criticising the fashion shows in the city, which she equated with obscenity. Pathan said this was Karachi not Paris.

There should be a difference between freedom and unbridled independence, she asserted. “We want freedom, and Islam is the only religion that empowers women,” believed the lawmaker.Culture minister Sassui Palijo proposed that the State should pursue honour-killing cases as she would like to see a balanced society.

MQM’s Bilquees Mukhtar said political parties should give representation to women in their decision-making bodies.PML-F’s Nusrat Abbasi said Malala Yousufzi was the talk of the town, but no one paid heed to Kiran Soomro, who was dying of some disease. She lamented that women’s uplift funds had been cut, calling it “discrimination”.PML-F’s Marvi Rashidi opined the resolutions were not sufficient to bring improvement in the life of women, as they were still being killed in name of honour.

Nishan-e-Pakistan award

The MPAs also unanimously passed a resolution moved by several legislators of the Muttahida, urging the federal government to award Nishan-e-Pakistan to two MQM lawmakers assassinated in the metropolis.

The resolution reads: “It is resolved and recommended that in recognition of the meritorious services rendered by our beloved parliamentarians and sitting members of provincial assembly- Syed Raza Haider, who was assassinated ruthlessly in a mosque on August 2, 2010, by terrorists, and Syed Manzar Imam, who was brutally attacked and martyred on January 17, 2013, the Government of Pakistan is requested to honour the martyrs by awarding them posthumous Nishan-e-Pakistan award.”

Minorities’ protection

The PA also unanimously passed another resolution urging the government to provide protection to the minorities.

The resolution moved by PPP’s minority lawmaker, Saleem Khursheed Khokhar, reads: “This house resolves that religious minorities have equal citizens’ rights and have played a very vital role in the development of the country. The assembly requests the government to ensure the safety of lives and properties of religious minorities.”

Motion against Malik

Earlier, Saleem Khokhar withdrew his adjournment motion against federal interior minister Rehman Malik, who had allegedly hurt the sentiments of minorities through his biased remarks.

Khokhar pointed out that Malik had stated that the terrorists should surrender or declare themselves as non-Muslims because true Muslims could not kill innocent persons. However, he did not press his motion when Law Minister Ayaz Soomro said that he had approached Malik and the interior minister had expressed regret over hurting the sentiments of minorities.

The News