HUNZA, May 28: Speakers at a workshop on Thursday stressed the need for provision of development-friendly environment in Gilgit-Baltistan.
The event aimed at initiating a debate on contemporary issues and future strategies for a gender-sensitive development process in Hunza and Nagar valleys. It was jointly organised by the Hyderabad Local Support Organisation and the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP) in Karimabad.
A large number of women representatives of local support groups, civil society organisations, councillors and government officials attended the workshop.
Speakers stressed the educated women to participate in the political process in order to solve the problems of women. Gilgit-Baltistan lacked basic human and Constitutional rights which further worsened the role and rights of women in the region, they added.
Some speakers and participants, however, blamed the NGOs for depoliticising the society and “trapping great minds”. Based on the recommendations, an advocacy group would be formed to lobby for women-related issues in Hunza-Nagar, organisers said.
Mirza Hussain, adviser planning and development Northern Areas, said that the basic human and political rights of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan were being violated for over 60 years by the Islamabad-appointed bureaucracy.
He said that political marginalisation was responsible for the miseries of the people. The Kashmiris had representatives in assemblies of European countries whereas the people of Gilgit-Baltistan lacked representation even in the National Assembly of Pakistan, he said. He stressed the women to develop a healthy political culture in the region.
Noorul Ain, advisor education and women development, stressed the women of the region to take Benazir Bhutto and other women as role models and participate in the mainstream political processes. She said the government had allocated 10 per cent quota for women in jobs.
She said men should give confidence to women in order to include them in the uplift process of the society. She stressed the need to develop proper strategies in order to provide employment opportunities for women as 70 per cent among the 370 graduated students of the Karakoram International University last year were women.