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February 12, 2019

Tabling of domestic violence bill in KP Assembly termed historic moment


February 12, 2019

PESHAWAR: Highlighting the importance of National Women’s Day, women lawmakers of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have termed tabling of Domestic Violence against Women Bill on the floor of the assembly a historic moment for women of the province.

“We (lawmakers) will continue the process for reviewing, amending and adopting laws related to women,” said Maliha Ali Asghar, chairperson Women Parliamentary Caucus (WPC) of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly.

She was addressing a programme aimed to celebrate National Women’s Day of Pakistan organised by the Blue Veins, a non-government organisation, in collaboration with the KP Assembly’s Women Parliamentary Caucus and National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR).

An award ceremony was also held to acknowledge the services of women for the empowerment of womenfolk from the political to the social arena while calling for gender equality.

Maliha said that the growing participation of women in the political sphere, despite severe obstacles like cultural resistance, discrimination patriarchy, religious extremism and religious misconceptions and unequal social power structures, is a positive step in women’s’ effective political inclusion and empowerment.

Another female lawmaker Ayesha Bano, who is also general secretary Women Parliamentary Caucus, said that active participation of women in politics has set up a new horizon in the political sphere in many countries and it is gradually changing the dynamics of politics and democracy around the world.

She added that the role of women in legislation currently is crucial and is being increasingly realised as women constitute almost half of Pakistan’s population and women’s political participation and mobilisation for a viable democratic polity is increasingly needed.

Mehmood Jan, Deputy Speaker, KP Assembly, acknowledged the efforts of Blue Veins in recognising women’s efforts and said that gender equality, besides being a fundamental human right, is essential to achieve peaceful societies, with full human potential and sustainable development. “It is of paramount importance to end the multiple forms of gender violence and secure equal access to quality education and health and recognise the women who help curb these issues,” he added.

Qamar Naseem, programme coordinator, Blue Veins, said that there were various factors of violence against women and girls such as traditional gender roles, patriarchy, and attitudes which force women to be placed in difficult positions.

“Women can play a positive role in the economic and social growth of the country if all the obstacles in their way can be addressed and eradicated,” he added.Rukhshanda Naz, the provincial ombudsperson, stated that the government’s principal planning document “Vision 2025” recognises expanding women’s participation and access to opportunities as central to strengthen the economic and social development of women.

She added that the government would make concrete efforts to improve women’s access, opportunities and capabilities for them to participate as full economic actors in development and growth of a dynamic Pakistan that the Vision 2025 seeks.

Rubina Riaz highlighted the role of the Social Welfare Department and steps taken for the empowerment of women in the province. In the programme, awards were also presented to women for acknowledgement of their services for the empowerment of women from the political to the social arena while calling for gender equality.

Those awarded included Rubina Riaz (Deputy Director Women Development and Social Welfare Department) Roohi Khan Babar (social activist), Sarah Tawab (Peshawar additional assistant commissioner), Afshan Afridi (human rights activist), Rafaqat Bibi (women rights activist), Manmeet Kaur (first female Sikh journalist), Rubina Rahman (chairperson Department of English and Applied Linguistics), Saira Saleh (SHO Police Department) and Nazra Syed (deputy director Social Welfare Department).

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