Tag Archives: women in pakistan

Raise awareness about women’s participation in politics

The speakers at a seminar stressed upon measures to raise awareness on women’s participation in political arena and affirmative actions to ensure women’s exercise of right to vote and contest in the elections. Aurat Foundation organised a seminar on “Challenges and Obstacles in Women Right to vote” here on Friday at a local hotel. PPP MNA Ms Yasmeen Rehman, PPP MPA Sajida Mir, PML-Q representative Ms Mehnaz Rafi, regional coordinator Aurat Foundation Mumtaz Mughal, provincial election commissioner Punjab Qamar-uz-Zaman, DGM Nadra Colonel Muhammad Nawaz and President High Court Bar Association Justice Nasira Javaid Iqbal addressed the seminar. Ms Yasmeen said that PPP was working for women betterment especially in rural and tribal areas. She said that feudalism in Punjab and Jirga system in NWFP were main hurdles for women’s active role in politics. She said that women wanted to vote or participate in political activities but their male family members did not allow them to come out of their respective homes. She said that media should play its due role to change the prevailing thinking of society regarding women standing. Sajida Mir said women are living in male dominant society where permission of male is necessary especially in rural areas to come out even for casting a vote. She observed that the condition of women in urban is somewhat better as during current election campaign, female workers were more active as compared to male workers but unfortunately still women are being deprived of their right to participate in country’s politics. Ms Mehnaz Rafi said that women consist of more than half population in Pakistan but they were not interested in casting their votes due to lack of awareness. She said that it was the duty of government to take measures to encourage them to cast their right of vote.

She stressed that all the political parties should give 33 per cent representation to women in their parties. She said that registration of those parties should be cancelled who discourage females to caste their vote in elections.  Qamar-uz-Zaman said that Pakistan Election Commission had completed computerise record of all voters in Pakistan. He said that it was not their duty to make laws and they are bound to follow only rules. He said that if  people were facing difficulties in registration then it was duty of parliamentarians to change those laws. He said that PEC had provided door-to-door service for registration but unfortunately most of the people were not interested in attaining this service. He also informed that immoveable property or permanent residence was required for the registration.Muhammad Nawaz said that 543 centres of Nadra were working to make easy accessibility of CNIC. Friday was allocated specially for women’s registration whereas they could also applied for new CNIC during the whole week, he added. He said that female staff was also deployed to facilitate women.  He said that any body could get his new CNIC without any cost as all kinds of fees had been waived off.

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Regional/Lahore/25-Jul-2009/Raise-awareness-about-womens-participation-in-politics/1

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Women’s Rights in Pakistan: Descending into Darkness

mukhtar_mai Mukhtar Mai, a leading Pakistani women’s rights advocate, gained fame for the way she courageously stood up to traditions that violated her human rights. Online, one can find plenty of information about her – her gang rape, her recent marriage, her strides for women’s rights and education, and the harassment that she has faced from Pakistani government officials. While her past is now known around the globe, her future, in light of the Multan Electric Power Company’s June 11 raid on the Mukhtar Women’s Welfare Organization, remains uncertain. With the exception of coverage by Nicholas Kristof’s blog (“A Hero’s Ordeal in Pakistan“), Ms. Mai’s current dire situation in Pakistan is not well-known. The latest harassment towards Ms. Mai, which within the context of previous incidents was obviously not an isolated event, must mobilize the public to demand action from the Pakistani government.

On June 11, 2009, the Multan Electric Power Company raided the MMWWO in Meerwala, Pakistan, and disconnected all electricity to the grounds, falsely accusing the organization of stealing electricity despite records proving they have paid all bills in full. MMWWO and hundreds of families in the surrounding area were without power for several days. Today, while the power to the surrounding area has been restored, the MMWWO grounds, which house the Mukhtar Mai Girls Model School, Women’s Resource Centre, and Shelter Home for battered women (whose premises was raided despite the fact that men are strictly prohibited), are still enduring blistering temperatures. According to MMWWWO employees who were witnesses, the power company officials claimed that the raid was ordered by Abdul Qayyum Jatoi, the Federal Minister for Defense Production. This raid has significantly hindered the ability of Ms. Mai’s organization to carry out its important human rights work, providing services for vulnerable women, girls and boys.

In 2002, Mukhtar Mai was gang-raped on orders of a traditional village council as punishment for acts allegedly committed by her younger brother. Instead of suffering in silence, Ms. Mai fought back and testified in a rape case against her attackers and is now a leading Pakistani women’s rights activist. The case is now before the Supreme Court after a lower court granted the convicted men’s appeal. Hearings for the supreme Court case have repeatedly been delayed, but her attackers remain imprisoned and her case is pending.

The June 11 incident is only the latest in a series of harassing incidents carried out by government officials to dissuade Ms. Mai from seeking accountability for past crimes and carrying out her work. Throughout the court proceedings, Ms. Mai has faced harassment by government officials, most notably by Minister Jatoi. In 2006, he visited Ms. Mai to ask her to reach a compromise with her attackers. In 2008, he again pressured Ms. Mai to drop the charges against her attackers, allegedly insisting that if she proceeded with the case, he would ensure a verdict in favor of her attackers. Most recently, in February 2009, Minister Jatoi’s associates engaged in a media campaign against Ms. Mai, stating that her attackers are innocent and that the entire case is a “fraud” and a “western agenda.”

Since 2002, Ms. Mai’s record of promoting human rights has put her in danger. To date, no government action has been taken to ensure Ms. Mai’s safety and ability to continue her advocacy. She and her colleagues bravely continue their work, in the darkness and sweltering heat, but the government of Pakistan must step up its commitment to her organization and to the Pakistani women for whom they demand rights. Today, Human Rights First joins other non-governmental organizations in demanding an end to the Pakistani Government’s harassment of Mukhtar Mai. You can find out more and take action here.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/human-rights-first/mukhtar-mai-pakistani-wom_b_219553.html