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Pakistan working for women’s empowerment: Sherry

WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Sherry Rehman has said that the country is witnessing a great deal of good things like political and societal efforts towards protection of women’s rights.

She made it clear it is not just a place about conflicts as often wrongly refracted through the lens of ongoing war in the region.

Sherry was speaking at a reception she hosted in honour of prominent Pakistani women’s rights advocate and documentary filmmaker, Samar Minallah, whose distinguished efforts were recognised by Vital Voices Organisation this week.

US special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan Marc Grossman, Coordinator for US non-military assistance for Pakistan Ambassador Robin Raphel, Vital Voices Board Chairperson Susan Davis, American journalists, writers and Pakistani-American women leaders attended the event.

“Conflict indeed brings oppression to people but Pakistan is not all about conflict – it is a place where a great deal is happening at the governmental and civil society levels,” she said at a time of lopsided coverage in parts of the Western media through the lens of Afghan war.

The Pakistani envoy referred to the democratic government’s efforts to give women their rightful place in society, citing several legislative achievements and the fact today the speaker of the National Assembly and foreign minister of Pakistan are both women.

But women getting elected as parliamentarians or serving at elite government positions is just one aspect of the change taking place in Pakistan, noted the ambassador, who has been a longtime champion both as a writer and a parliamentarian for rights of women, minorities and vulnerable segments of society.

In her remarks, Cambridge University-educated Samar Minallah touched upon her documentary work, which strives for an end to discrimination against women.

Chair of Vital Voices board, Susan Davis, said Samar rightly deserved the 2012 Vital Voices Global Leadership Award since she has emerged as an extraordinary voice for women’s rights in her country. She also thanked the Pakistani ambassador and praised her commitment to the cause of women’s rights.

The Daliy times