LAHORE: Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Thursday announced 33 per cent quota for women in all government institutions, committees and taskforces while a similar quota will also be reserved for women members in the Punjab Public Service Commission.
Addressing a function in connection with the International Women’s Day at the Alhamra Cultural Complex, he also announced a package of comprehensive and far-reaching reforms to bring women into national mainstream.
The chief minister said the purpose of the package was to safeguard social, economic and legal rights of women as well as their empowerment. The women, he said, would now also be able to get their legal share in the inherited property without any hindrance.
Announcing the package, the chief minister said it had been decided to withdraw the condition of submitting application for the transfer and division of joint land in rural areas among the legal heirs.
The purpose of this decision is to put an end to the unsavory practice of usurping the legal rights of female owners in the division of land.
He said now the revenue officers would be duty-bound to initiate the land transfer process at the death of its owner without waiting for an application in this regard and also complete the land division process so that all legal heirs, including females, were granted their due legal share.
Similarly, in order to check forgery to deprive women of their share in inherited property, production of ‘B’ form of all legal heirs is being made compulsory.
Shahbaz Sharif said the provincial government had also decided to constitute special committees to curb irregularities in land division so as to safeguard the heirs’ rights.
On the recommendations of these committees, not only legal action will be taken but cases will also be registered against the officials involved in irregularities in the division of inheritance. The committees will meet at least once a month.
The chief minister further said under the new law, immediately after receiving an application for division of property in urban areas, the court would issue a notice to the respondent who would be bound to settle the issue with the petitioner within 60 days.
To simplify the process of division of inherited property in rural and urban areas and eliminate irregularities, he announced withdrawal of stamp duty on the division of property.
The chief minister also announced provision of three and five marla plots to homeless and landless persons in Jinnah Abadi Schemes for their socio-economic uplift and said that the proprietary rights of these plots would be awarded jointly to a couple.
Now, all such lands given by the government will be the joint property of husband and wife and they will have an equal share.
He said daycare centres would be established on emergent basis in all educational and government institutions so that married women could leave their young children safely there and perform their duties with peace of mind.
He said a special fund of two billion rupees was being set up through the Bank of Punjab for women’s economic self-reliance from which they would be given soft loans for starting a business.
He said 15 per cent quota would also be reserved for women in government jobs and legislation for this purpose would be undertaken within a month.
He announced appointment of a senior officer, Iram Qureshi, as women development secretary. He also announced appointment of Women Ombudsman so that working women should not face any harassment or exploitation.
The chief minister announced setting up of a committee for the effective implementation of these measures and said that women constituted more than 50 per cent of country’s population and were playing an important role in all walks of life.
He said girl students had proved their mettle in the academic field and their success rate in medical sector was 70 per cent, whereas among the recipients of laptops, 60 per cent were girls. He said there was a lot of talent in women who could contribute in national progress and prosperity. He said that lady doctors and nurses rendered invaluable services during recent floods and dengue outbreak and saved thousands of lives. He said highly educated women should not quit their jobs after marriage and continue to serve the country on the basis of their knowledge and experience.
The function was also addressed by Shah Bano Taseer, Samar Minallah, the first woman Maj. Gen. of the country, Shahida Malik, the top position holder in metric examination in all educational boards of Punjab, Amina Sattar, the youngest recipient of laptop, Navera, and former chief justice Saeeduz Zaman Siddiqui.
Prominent poet and columnist Kishwar Naheed presented her poems while Tina Sani sang songs. Girl students, social workers from civil society and working women were present in large numbers at the event. Stalls had also been set up by different departments and NGOs.