LONDON: A delegation of eight women members from Pakistan and Afghanistan will visit the UK this week to discuss women’s participation in politics, gender diversity and forced marriage, in the first trilateral parliamentary programme of its kind.
Whilst in the UK, they will meet with the Home Secretary Theresa May MP, and conduct a series of meetings with MPs, peers, civil society representatives and government officials. The four-day programme will be run by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK Branch in collaboration with the parliaments of the UK, Pakistan and Afghanistan. It will cover a broad range of subjects, including approaches to legislating against early and forced marriage, enabling economic empowerment, the option of gender quotas, and women’s role in peace building and conflict prevention.
Speaking ahead of the delegation, Mrs May said: “Our government is making strides in promoting the role of women in business, politics and wider society. I look forward to sharing our vision with the representatives from Afghanistan and Pakistan and learning more about the challenges they face at home.”
Whilst in the UK, the delegation will also meet with Harriet Harman QC MP, Shadow Deputy Prime Minister; the Lord Speaker, Baroness D’Souza CMG; Baroness Prosser OBE, Deputy Chair of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission; and the former Lord Speaker, Baroness Hayman. They will also spend half a day shadowing MPs in constituencies.
The group will be made up of Dr Nafisa Shah MNA, Dr Donya Aziz MNA, Aasiya Nasir MNA and Senator Rubina Khalid from the Parliament of Pakistan, and Bibi Hameda Yousafi, Fawzia Raoufi, Zakia Sangeen and Dr Nilofar Ebrahimi from the Parliament of Afghanistan.
The visit of this delegation forms part of a long-term collaboration with the Parliament of Pakistan. The trilateral programme is a result of ongoing dialogue with the leader of the Pakistan delegation, Dr Shah, who as well as being a member of the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus in the Parliament of Pakistan is Vice Chairperson of the international Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.