ISLAMABAD: Pakistani and British women parliamentarians on Monday reached consensus that economic empowerment of women could eradicate domestic violence against them.
They were holding a dialogue on this issue at Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services. Member of National Assembly Shahnaz Wazir Ali of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), while presiding over the dialogue on behalf of speaker National Assembly, said that dialogue would be beneficial for parliamentarians of the two countries who would learn from each other’s experiences.
“Pakistani women parliamentarians have been working for the last five years to ensure every woman’s access to social justice. They had been instrumental in bringing about a law to provide protection to women at their workplace,” she said.
Baroness D’Souza, Lord Speaker of the House of Lords UK, appreciated the Pakistani government for giving importance to education, economic stability and democratic system.
“All three factors are essential for the development of any country. I am sure that during three days visit, parliamentarians of both the countries will learn from each other,” she said.
During a presentation, MNA Donya Aziz of PML-Q said the current parliament had done more legislation on women issues than any other parliament before.
“There are 77 women MNAs and 17 senators, three federal ministers and seven women parliamentary secretaries. Women parliamentary caucus was established in 2008 and it was pushed by civil society for legislation. Now India and Bangladesh are also considering establishing parliamentary caucuses,” she claimed.
Baroness Northover, Liberal Democrat of UK, stressed that legislation for women done at National Assembly should be implemented in provinces and at grass roots level.
Attiya Inayatullah of PML-Q said that Pakistan had set Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which are for women and children. Besides, there will be 33 per cent representation of women in local government, she said.
“Although we have removed women discriminatory laws but domestic violence is still a major concern for us. After the incidents of acid throwing on women, parliamentarians have given their development funds for establishment of burn units,” she said.
Mary MaCleod MP (Conservative) from UK who is Minister for Women and Equalities said that domestic violence was also problem of her constituency and it was her first priority to resolve it.
MNA Asia Nasir of JUI-F said that she knew that legislation alone did not offer solution to women issues so parliamentarians had been trying to create awareness among the people.
Shabana Mahmood MP (Labour) UK who is Shadow Minister for Business, Innovation and Skills said that gender discrimination in education syllabus should be removed.
Shahnaz Wazir Ali replied that syllabus is being reviewed.
Baroness Royall (Labour) UK, who is Shadow Leader of the House of Lords, inquired that how parliamentarians get access to issues of underprivileged people (as there are privileged persons in parliament).