Call to increase funding for women ministry
By Mudassir Raja
RAWALPINDI: Speakers at a seminar in Murree asked the government to increase funding for the ministry of women development as at present it stands at the 49th position on a list of 52 federal ministries in terms of annual budgetary allocations.
The seminar “Knowledge-sharing and capacity development for media and parliamentarians on human rights” was organised by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the ministry of women development.
The two-day seminar that concluded on Thursday evening was attended by MNA and Parliamentary Secretary on Women Development Zile Huma, Parliamentary Secretary on Health Dr Mehreen Bhutto, Ghazala Gola, the minister for women development Balochistan; Tauqir Fatima Bhutto, the minister for women development Sindh; Amina Ansari, MLA from Gilgit-Baltistan and members of provincial assemblies of Punjab and NWFP.
The participants said legislatures should also make extraordinary efforts to increase allocations for the provincial women ministries as women affairs were being separated from the department of social development in order to focus exclusively on their issues.
In different presentations, officials of the ministry of women development and UNFPA highlighted the prevalent conditions of women and other marginalised segments of society regarding their basic rights.
The parliamentarians spoke about problems and hurdles faced by them while getting finances and other facilities for their departments. They said bureaucracy always kept the relevant ministers in the dark about preparation of annual budgets and bypassed them when recommendations were made for budget preparations.
Talking about reluctance of women in NWFP to come out of their houses, the MPA from the province said under the Benazir Income Support Programme cheques were being issued only to women of a family but about 48,000 cheques were still pending distribution in Parachinar as women did not turn up to collect them.
With the help of presentations it was stated that Pakistan ranked low in different indexes relating to human development, gender development, gender employment and poverty in the year 2008.