LAHORE: Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif presided over a meeting of the provincial cabinet on Wednesday, which reiterated the determination to defeat terrorists and extremists. The Punjab cabinet also gave approval to various steps for women
empowerment and protection of their rights as well as necessary legislation for the purpose. Amendments in family laws to check exploitation of women besides their empowerment were also approved at the meeting. The cabinet also decided to observe World Women’s Day on March 8 in an enthusiastic manner.
Moreover, setting up of Punjab Working Women Endowment Fund and establishment of family courts complex in each district were also approved. The meeting decided to give three year’s special relaxation to women in age limit for employment, while it was also decided that only women would operate canteens at the educational institutions for women. Similarly, all columns relating to the women rights in nikahnama (marriage certificate) will have to be filled.
Addressing the meeting, the chief minister said the country could not progress without empowering the women who would have to display their talent and abilities in the practical life.
He recalled that the job quota for women had been increased from 5 to 15 percent while necessary legislation was introduced for ensuring their share in inheritance.The provincial cabinet also expressed its resolve to eliminate terrorism, extremism and sectarianism from the society, saying no effort would be spared for hunting down terrorists as they were an enemy of the country and the nation.
Referring to the tragic incidents of terrorism, Shahbaz said children were brutally martyred in Peshawar while the terrorists also shed the blood of innocent people in Shikarpur, Peshawar and Lahore.
He said 16/12 had awakened and united the 180 million people of Pakistan. He said by setting up the Counter Terrorism Force in accordance with the vision of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, a dream had been materialized.
He said instructions had been issued to the quarters concerned to ensure foolproof security at mosques, imambargahs and other worship places, as he vowed to eliminate the facilitators of terrorists and extremists.
Shahbaz said a consolidated intelligence system was of vital importance in the war against terrorism, adding that the Punjab government was utilising modern technology for eliminating terrorism, while the work was in progress on the Safe City Project. The project, he said, would start from Lahore and later extended to Rawalpindi, Multan, Faisalabad, Bahawalpur and other cities during the next three years.
He said sincere efforts and national spirit would have to be displayed for providing a peaceful and secure environment to the citizens. “It is a big challenge but the government is determined to restore peace in the society.”
The cabinet also approved including the topics on tolerance, peace and brotherhood in the syllabus as well as to arrange essay-writing and speech contests in educational institutions.
Referring to the discovery and certification of precious mineral reserves in Chiniot, the chief minister said experts conducted drilling at ten places in an area of 24 square km , adding that iron and copper deposits had been discovered at all the sites. He said a Chinese company and German consultants were working for estimating the reserves in a 2,000 sq km area, which would soon be completed.
The chief minister congratulated Minister for Minerals Sher Ali Khan, Punjab Mineral Development Company Chairman Dr Samar Mubarakmand, Secretary Dr Arshad Mahmood and the entire team over the discovery and certification of the precious mineral reserves in Chiniot.
The meeting praised Punjab Education Foundation Chairman Engr Qamar-ul-Islam for showing the best performance in a very short period. The participants also offered special prayers for the martyrs of Lahore Police Lines, Shikarpur, Hayatabad (Peshawar) and Army Public School terror hits.
A preliminary report regarding the Tuesday’s suicide attack was also presented in the meeting. The home secretary and the IGP gave separate detailed briefings on the efforts for maintaining law and order, security arrangements and implementation of National Action Plan.
The women development secretary apprised the provincial cabinet of the measures taken by Punjab government for empowering women and protecting their rights. The law and local government secretaries briefed the meeting about the protection of women rights and necessary legislation in this regard.