Call to raise women's awareness of rights -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Call to raise women’s awareness of rights

KARACHI, March 9,2005: Speakers at a seminar held here to commemorate International Women’s Day called for a countrywide campaign to sensitize women about their social, domestic, property and religious rights.

The event organized by the Gynaecology Department of Liaquat National Hospital was addressed by Dr Shaheen Zafar, Dr Shershah Syed, Shamim Zuberi, Dr Aziza Anjum, Dr Khushro Sultana and Dr Bushra Gul. Dr Ali Azmat Abdi, LNH Director (Administration), was the chief guest on the occasion.

The speakers were unanimous in their submission for adequate legislation regarding protection of women rights coupled with comprehensive measures to promote women education.

PMA General-Secretary Dr Shershah Syed said that seven women died every week due to non-availability of medical assistance while a large number were made to suffer severe complications due to delayed intervention.

Women constituting 48 per cent of total population of Pakistan registers one of the highest rates of mortality. This was in a scenario when Pakistani women had established themselves to be major contributors to the national economy – with approximately 69 per cent working in agricultural sector, yet having no control over their lives and fate.

Elaborating his stance, he said one single woman in her reproductive age mothers 5.5 children on an average, while only 18 per cent of them could opt for contraceptive techniques. Women were often treated as commodity, he said, referring to frequent instances of forcible marriages under traditional practices.

He was also critical of political parties and other segments of society in its inability to prohibit karo kari. Shamim Zubeiri said that women were oppressed mainly due to primitive traditions and a parallel legal system. The senior professional called for modifying the system with the aim to empower women, particularly in rural areas.

Dr Aziza Anjum, in her presentation regarding women rights under Islamic perspectives, said that the religion guaranteed equal rights to all human beings and prohibited discrimination in any form.

Islam endorsed right of women to education, inheritance, work, decision making regarding issues related to their lives, free will to enter into matrimony or seek divorce along with dignified and honourable existence, she said.

“Our religion also grants woman the reproductive rights as when or whether to conceive and duration to lactate babies born to her,” Dr Aziza elaborated. LNH Director Dr Abidi underscored need for compliance to Islamic teachings adding that practicing what is preached could help solving many of our social problems.

He reiterated need for women education as an educated mother could nurture her children on right tract adding that education did change attitude and behaviours. Dr Bushra and Dr Khusro Sultana in their respective presentations stressed for women empowerment in its truest sense. Dr Sadaf recited a poem ‘Maa ke Naam’.

WOMEN WORKERS: Speakers at a seminar called for protection of the rights of women workers associated with industrial as well as agricultural sector of the country.

The event was organized by the Labour Education Foundation at Godhra Colony, New Karachi. Representatives of the National Trade Union Federation, Hyderabad; the Bangles Workers Association, the Women Workers Help Line, Women Studies Department of Karachi University, the Pakistan Labour Party and the Action Aid attended the seminar.

Zehra Akbar Khan, Organizer Women Workers Help line, highlighted the difficulties being faced by women workers. The speakers reminded that the International Women’s Day was observed to pay homage to the women workers associated with textile industry in the USA who managed to get their wages raised and working hours improved. Similar efforts were required in Pakistan to get local women workers their due rights, they said.

They said the Women’s Day celebrated across the globe offers all women without any distinction to pledge afresh their joint efforts against poverty, diseases, unemployment, conflict and tension. Irfana Jabbar, Irum Zubaira, Asma Manzoor, Shehla Rizwan, Fatima, Nasir Mansoor, Adam Malik and Sheikh Saeed spoke on the occasion.
Source: Business Recorder