NEW YORK, Sept 19: A delegation of Pakistani women parliamentarians now visiting the United States has pleaded with US lawmakers and the Bush administration to stop US attacks inside Pakistan and provide free trade opportunities to women.
At an Iftar hosted by Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Abdullah Husain Haroon on Thursday, MNA Azra Pechuho of the Pakistan People’s Party said the US-sponsored “Reconstruction Opportunity Zones” in the tribal areas were specifically discussed during their meetings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
These zones, she said, would play a major role in promoting long-term economic development in the region.
“We believe ROZs will provide the crucial economic component that complements our military and political strategies.”
Tehmina Daulatana of the PML-N said she had bluntly conveyed the outrage of the people of Pakistan over repeated violations of Pakistan’s sovereignty by American forces in Afghanistan.
“I told our counterparts that Pakistan is our country and only we can resolve the problems,” she said.
The terrorists, now reported to be operating in those areas, were not there before 9/11, she pointed out.
“We’ll deal with them in our way… it’s our war.”
Ms Daulatana said the Americans had told them that they worried about a repetition of 9/11 from that region.
“But what about Pakistan: we have 9/11 every day.”
She called for upholding Pakistan’s dignity and said that self-respect demanded sacrifice.
“Pakistan is our country; Let’s make it strong.”
Khushbakht Shujaat of the MQM said they had done their best to project a correct image of Pakistan. She said she completely agreed with what her colleagues had stated.
The delegation members also exchanged views with their counterparts on the situation in Afghanistan, the peace process with India, the Kashmir dispute as well as womenÂ’s empowerment.
The nine-member delegation is visiting the United States at the invitation of the government.