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March 9, 2019

Functions arranged in KP to mark International Women’s Day

Peshawar

March 9, 2019

PESHAWAR: Events were arranged and walks held across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Friday to mark the International Women’s Day.

The Balance for Better is the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day, which is observed each year on March 8.

In the provincial capital, the Aurat Foundation organised a function at the Peshawar Press Club to mark the day. Speaking on the occasion, the activists and members of the non-governmental organisations said no law existed in Pakistan on the domestic violence against the women who were not treated equally.

Shabina Ayaz, Resident Director, Aurat Foundation, said the initiatives of the civil society and international bodies this year were aimed at gender equality, a greater awareness of discrimination and a celebration of women’s achievements.She said Pakistan was still lagging behind when it came to the legislation to protect women against domestic violence. The AF regional head said that there were around 20 million female domestic workers in the country to earn bread and butter for their families but they were denied due rights.

Other speakers also raised the issues facing the women in the country in general and in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in particular. They said there was no proper education system in the recently merged districts.

The speakers urged the government to ensure punishment to the killers of Afzal Kohistani and his brothers who were murdered for exposing the honour killing case.

A civil society organisation, Noor Education Trust (NET) marked the day by holding a function. The participants were civil society organisations members, students, minority community and people from other walks of life. A known rights activist Tahira Abdullah, the provincial ombudsman who deals with cases of sexual harassment of women at the workplaces, Rukhshanda Naz, and senior lawyer, Parveen Akhtar, were the main speakers.

They talked of the lacunae in the justice system by highlighting the real case studies. The challenges and gaps in the legal and justice system were identified. The issues faced by the women in courts were spotlighted through theatrical performance. A literary and cultural organisation, Gandhara Hindko Board, arranged a function at the Dr Zahoor Ahmad Awan Conference Room of the Gandhara Hindko Academy. The speakers called for providing women equal opportunities in every walk of life to ensure national development.

Farhat Jabeen presided over the event. A young women rights activist, Sana Ahmad Advocate, moderated the proceedings. Women from various walks of life turned up at the programme. The participants expressed views on a number of issues faced by the women and rejoiced at the achievements made by them in different fields. Farhat Jabeen said women had a crucial role in the social and economic development of the country. But, unfortunately, she added, they faced discriminatory attitudes and did not get the kind of recognition they deserved.

She said women constituted almost half of the total population of Pakistan. “There is a need to provide them equal opportunities in every walk of life if we want development of this country,” stressed Farhat Jabeen, the widow of Professor Dr Zahoor Ahmad Awan, the founding chairman of the Gandhara Hindko Board. Other speakers said the Pakistani women had the abilities and should be facilitated to play a role in every sector side by side with men. This will open venues for development and lead to the establishment of an ideal society, they argued. The house was opened to the discussion after the formal speeches. The participants touched various issues prevalent in society and suggested measures to improve the situation.

There was a feeling that women had suffered because of outdated customs and traditions and their lack of awareness was to blame, to some extent, for the state of affairs. One participant said women should be aware of their rights and never surrender them. Stress was laid on the girl education and the speakers called for the allocation of more budget for the sector.

They said the government needed to encourage women to take part in the social and economic development of the country. “At a time when the developed countries of the world such as the United States are offering more opportunities to the women under the concept of “affirmative action,” our government should, at least, ensure equal opportunities to them,” opined one participant. The speakers said Islam gave rights to women but lamented that these were denied to them in the society under the cover of customary practices. The participants believed the violence against women cases could be curtailed by involving people in social training and getting tough with the implementation of the relevant laws. Director of the Gandhara Hindko Academy, Professor Muhammad Adil, offered the vote of thanks. Similar functions were hosted in other parts of the KP as well.

Mardan Golden Arts Council arranged a walk to mark the day. It was led by Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairperson Aqila Sumbal, president Mardan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) Zahir Shah and others.

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