‘Initiatives for the empowerment of women to bring about economic development’

Islamabad: President Dr. Arif Alvi said on Thursday that initiatives for women empowerment and financial inclusion will lead to the economic development of the country.

He was addressing the ceremony held here to launch the ‘Insaaf Watch’ portal developed by the Ministry of Law and Justice in collaboration with the British High Commission and Group Development Pakistan to facilitate access for women relevant laws and make them aware of their rights.

The president said raising women’s awareness of their own rights was a challenge, but frequent messaging through the media and the pulpit could be helpful, as had been the case during the COVID-19 pandemic. He advised the Ministry of Justice to display posters on women’s rights legislation in mosques, introduce the summary as well as audio description of the laws on the portal, in addition to ensuring their availability in English. and in Urdu.

The president said the ratio of registered cases was far lower than the actual situation of women’s rights violations, which required massive awareness among women. “Women’s rights should not be protected simply for compliance with international law, but rather as the needs of the country as well as an obligation under Islam, which granted inheritance rights to women about 1,400 years,” he said.

The President said that, unfortunately, a large number of women were deprived of their inherited property and that the government had passed the necessary legislation to protect their rights and empowered the office of the ombudsman for this purpose. He called for the real implementation of laws to end the usurpation of women’s property as well as their protection from harassment.

The president said that in addition to granting them inheritance rights, women should also be encouraged to become business partners. He said that before crimes against women, it was the responsibility of society to ensure their safety and illustrated the incident in Minar-e-Pakistan where a woman was harassed and people filmed the scene instead of stop it. The President said that measures such as the disbursement of around Rs.500 billion in cash aid to women under the “Ehsaas scheme”, scholarships and equal allowances for school-going girls would lead to their financial empowerment. He said it was also essential to pay special attention to women’s health as malnutrition, neonatal deaths, frequent pregnancies and maternal mortality would prevent them from empowering themselves and actively participating in national development. Justice Minister Barrister Farogh Nasim said that after the necessary legislation and structural changes, the government was in the implementation phase.

He thanked the British High Commission, the European Union and other partners for their support in the development of the portal. He said that for the implementation of laws, it was essential that women know their rights. The Minister said that religious teachings, the constitution and international laws were taken into account while drafting the legislation and that in total more than 700 legal amendments were made. The Acting Deputy British High Commissioner also addressed the ceremony and commended President Dr Alvi for his continued efforts to protect women’s rights.

Mara R. Wilmoth