Pakistan fully committed to protection of women’s rights: FO

Pakistani women have contributed immensely to national development and progress

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan is fully committed to the promotion and protection of women’s rights, both nationally and internationally, the Foreign Office said Tuesday. In a special message on International Women’s Day, the Foreign Office said through various policy measures and legislation, Pakistan continued to make utmost efforts for women empowerment and their equal participation for building an inclusive society. “The government will continue to fulfill its obligations under Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action as well as United Nations Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs), particularly Goal 5 and its related targets,” it said. The FO said the foundations of Pakistan were laid on the contributions of men and women alike. Our Constitution and legal framework provide guarantees for equal participation by women in all spheres of life including, social, economic, and political, it said.

The Foreign Office said Pakistan paid tribute to the women around the world whose resilience, sacrifices and efforts have made it possible for humankind to progress and build a better future for all.

No society or nation can succeed and achieve sustainable development without realization of gender equality and women empowerment, it said.

The FO said the recovery from COVID-19 pandemic was only possible by creating inclusive political systems, workforce, economies and societies.

Pakistani women have contributed immensely to national development and progress, it said.

“We are proud that today Pakistani women participate in every facet of public life. They have held prominent positions, including as Prime Minister, Governor of State Bank of Pakistan, Speaker of National Assembly, Judge of the Supreme Court, Chief Justice of High Court, and important portfolios in the Cabinet as well as Federal and Provincial Secretaries, Generals, fighter pilots and UN peacekeepers,” it said.

The FO also paid special tribute to the remarkable Pakistani women in diplomacy for their exemplary service, hard work and dedication in contributing to the foreign policy objectives and ably representing Pakistan across the world.

It also expressed solidarity with the oppressed women in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).

For over seven decades, they are enduring egregious human rights abuse by Indian occupation forces including sexual violence, rape and molestation – that have been extensively documented by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights as well as by various UN Special Procedures Mandate Holders, it said.

The FO urged upon the international community to hold India accountable for these serious crimes. Pakistan joins the International Community to observe International Women’s Day on 8th March every year. On this day, I take the opportunity to reaffirm our national and international commitments for the protection and promotion of women’s rights with special emphasis on this year’s UN theme “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”, recognizing the contribution of women and girls around the world, who are leading the charge on climate change adaptation, mitigation, and response, to build a more sustainable future for all. In other words, it is an opportunity for the countries to better understand the gender impact of climate change, environment degradation and disaster management.

Pakistan, being a party, to a number of key international commitments pertaining to gender equality and women’s empowerment particularly the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Beijing Platform for Action, the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the Sustainable Development Goals, has made significant progress to improve the status of women by taking legislative, policy and administrative measures.

As we know, no nation can make progress without participation of women, who constitute no less than half of our current population. This day serves as a historical reminder of the struggle initiated by women’s rights activists against discriminatory policies and legislations of the time, and is a testament to their efforts bearing fruit.

The Constitution of Pakistan guarantees many fundamental freedoms and ensures protection of women from all kinds of discriminations. Accordingly, to fulfil international commitments and constitutional guarantees, efforts are underway for social, economic, political and legal empowerment of women.

Our Government has initiated several interventions for economic empowerment of women as well as their social protection schemes under Ehsaas are Interest-Free Loans, Amdan (Income) programme, Kafaalat and Nashonuma program. Other major financial initiatives include Sehat Sahulat Programme, micro finance opportunity, inheritance rights to land and property, as well as, providing enabling and conducive working environment at the workplace.

Moreover, Vocational Training Centres also known as Women Empowerment Centres (WECs) have been established throughout the country to provide free training skills to widows, orphans, and poor girls including women with disabilities.

Recently, the Government of Pakistan through The Enforcement of Women’s Property Rights Act, 2020 secures the rights of ownership and possession of both movable and immovable property owned by women, ensuring that such rights are not violated by means of harassment, coercion, force, or fraud. The Authority of deciding the cases related to the inheritance of women has been given to Federal Ombudsman Secretariat for Protection Against Harassment (FOSPAH).

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