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Parties urged to make optimum use of Sindh Women Parliamentary Caucus

Karachi Stressing the need for continued work for the rights of women, Syeda Shehla Raza, the deputy speaker of Sindh Assembly and head of the Sindh Women Parliamentary Caucus, invited all political parties to use the forum as a platform to advance the cause. Speaking on Tuesday at a consultative

By Ebad Ahmed
October 14, 2015
Karachi
Stressing the need for continued work for the rights of women, Syeda Shehla Raza, the deputy speaker of Sindh Assembly and head of the Sindh Women Parliamentary Caucus, invited all political parties to use the forum as a platform to advance the cause.
Speaking on Tuesday at a consultative forum, “Realising Civil and Political Rights of Women, Minorities and Youth,” jointly organised by the Democracy Reporting International (DRI) and the Sindh Women’s Parliamentary Caucus, Raza said all the
limitations the Sindh government was putting its utmost effort for resolving women’s issues.
“We have tabled and passed countless bills for the protection of women with the support of civil society organisations,” she added, “But after that the implementation of the said bills are the responsibility of the judiciary and law-enforcement agencies.”
Responding to the earlier uncompromising criticism of a lawmaker of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Dr Seema Zia, on the lack of meetings of the parliamentary caucus, Raza said there were two appalling challenges for the treasury benches with regards to women issues.
“Firstly, it is the absence of lower house parliamentarians. All our progress goes back to square one, when the women parliamentarians boycott the caucus meetings, due to any ongoing political tensions between the parties” she said. “Secondly, it is a sad fact that every other member in the caucus has her own ego and every other member desires to have a designation. Working groups and caucuses can’t be run that way.”
Anis Haroon, the former chairperson of National Commission on the Status of Women said that all that was achieved in light of women empowerment in the past 15 to 20 years was being lost because of government’s lack of implementation.
She questioned that after devolution of powers to the provinces, why had the Sindh government not set up a provincial commission for women issues, like the other provinces.
Amar Sindhu, a prominent women’s rights activist and philosopher, said power relations were controlled and sustained by politics and therefore the political empowerment of women was essential to the realisation of gender equality.
During a session on the status of minorities in the country, Krishan Sharma, chairman of REAT Network, stressed the need for implementation of international human rights treaties, including the International Convention of Civil and Political Rights to guarantee the effective political participation of all citizens.
In the last session on the role and status of youth, Muttahida Qaumi Movement MPA Sumeta Afzaal stressed it was easy for everyone to only blame the parliamentarians and politicians for their limitations, but before passing judgments one should be aware of the complications the politicians went through. She criticised the government for not prioritising youth affairs, saying it was illogical to see that the youth department being held by an 88-year-old chief minister.
“The youth budget is often spent on the revival of other sick institutions,” she commented.
Khurram Sher Zaman of the PTI also agreed with Afzaal that the incumbent provincial government had ignored youth, quoting that the government`s promise to grant street footballers funds haven’t yet been fulfilled.
Jibran Nasir, a human rights activist, lashed out at political parties for ‘misusing’ youth for their dirty political agendas. He said political parties had manipulated the youth for target killing, extortion, and mob violence.
Nasir suggested to the parties to implement the policy of shadow youth representatives, in which every MPA/MNA should have one youth assistant during the parliamentary session, in a bid to make the young population aware of the parliamentary processes.