Monday October 18, 2021

Call to include women in peace process

September 17, 2021

Lahore:The Sustainable Social Development Organisation (SSDO) held a session on the role of women in peace with the parliamentarians from Sindh who were on a three-day visit to Lahore.

Inclusion of women is a must in any peace process, the speakers said in the session on Thursday. Thirty parliamentarians, mostly women, were on a visit to Lahore on the invitation of the SSDO.

Punjab Minister for Human Rights and Minority Affairs Ijaz Aalam, the chief guest of the event, welcomed the parliamentarians from Sindh and lauded the role of the Women Peace Council (WPC) Punjab, whose patron is Perveen Sarwar, Punjab Governor Muhammad Sarwar’s wife.

The minister said 150 organisations were working on human rights in Punjab and the present government had increased their by 400 per cent. At present the budget for human rights is 2.5 billion rupees, he said.

For the first time, a policy on interfaith harmony has been launched in Punjab. “We have removed hate material from 188 books in Punjab,” he said in 2020 only four cases of blasphemy were registered. With the bill against acid throwing, the number of acid attacks has come down greatly and the bill against forced conversion will be passed soon in Punjab Assembly,” he said. He was very hopeful that interfaith harmony policy could bring about a huge change over time.

Only the Punjab Ministry of Human Rights and Minority Affairs has Treaty Implementation Cell. The government is going to make Punjab Commission of Human Rights, the minister announced.

Parveen Sarwar thanked the SSDO for bringing people and parliamentarians from different parties and provinces to one platform. Addressing the parliamentarians, she said, “Its important to remember at all times, particularly when talking on TV or social media that you are representing the country.”

The women MPAs from Sindh said they had proposed in the parliament that there should be two women in a union council. They called for creating an enabling environment and reaching out to women in small cities, towns and villages to empower them so that they could earn money on their own. There were many women MPAs from Punjab as well who spoke and stressed that women’s role was pivotal in the peace process.