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Women councillors for LG strengthening

ISLAMABAD – Women councillors have demanded of the government to strengthen the Local Government system rather instead of abolishing it here on Tuesday at the oath taking ceremony of the office bearers of the national and provincial networks of women councillors.

On March 8 women councillors had elected their one national and three provincial bodies the office bearer of which took oath on the event. The network has been expanded in three provinces and has its branches in 26 branches.

Farzana Bari, Centre of Excellence for Gender Studies, QAU, highlighting the importance of cross party women caucus in the parliament and networking said, 80 percent parliaments of the world have cross party women caucus. She said women have been struggling for their political rights across the world and have 17 percent representation in the world.

The world has committed to give participation to women in politics through CEDAW convention and Pakistan is also a signatory of this international pact. Cross party women caucus and networking in the Parliament is the only way forward and women parliamentarians should take a lead and collaborate with each other and party affiliation should not be a matter of concern for them and party leadership.

Rehana Hashmi from PATTAN also emphasised that all the parties should form caucus in the parliament to discuss women issues. She said finance is necessary for everything so the 33 percent budget should be allocated to women out of the budget of local bodies as these councillors have been elected directly elected and real representatives of women.

Bismillah Irum, president, National Network of Women Councillors, speaking on the occasion said 25 percent seats should be given to women in the provincial and national assemblies and demanded of the government to allocate 25 percent seats in the standing committees of National Assembly and Senate.

The women councillors also demanded to abolish Hudood Ordinance and establish separate courts for women with free legal aid. They said at least one health worker should be available in every village and all the steps should be taken with in five years gradually.
Source: The Nation
Date:6/4/2008

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