Laws to be amended for more women seats: Amir
ISLAMABAD, July 21 2006: National Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Amir Hussain on Wednesday said Pakistan has to amend two laws: Political Parties Act 1976 and People Representation Act, to induct maximum number of women in the assemblies. He was addressing concluding session of the four-day workshop on “Balancing political participation moving towards gender equality” organised by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and Gender Section of the Commonwealth Secretariat, London in collaboration with the Pakistan Parliament.
The speaker also supported maximum number of women representation in Parliaments, adding that “we have to amend in two laws: Political Parties Act 1976 and People Representation Act to increase women representation in the assemblies”. He added the recommendations of the workshop would serve as a beacon of light for strengthening the objectives of women empowerment and elimination of gender inequalities in the Commonwealth countries. He said the government had given 17 percent representation to women in upper and lower houses of parliament and 33 percent in the local government. Amir informed that 72 women were in the National Assembly, 17 were in Senate and some 15,000 women had been serving in the local governments.
The government, he said, under the leadership of President Pervez Musharraf, had taken many steps to bring women into the mainstream of politics and given them equal opportunities in all spheres of life. “Revision of discriminatory laws against women, establishment of crises centres and shelter homes and fixing 10 percent quota for women in central superior services are some of the steps which have enhanced women status in the society”, he added. Participants of the workshop called upon the Commonwealth governments to fulfil their regional and global commitments regarding women empowerment by increasing women representation in parliaments to 30 percent.
Participants from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Nepal, India, Pakistan and World Bank discussed a number of issues relating to the empowerment of women in the politics and decision-making process. The workshop noted that though globally the number of women in parliaments was steadily increasing and had risen by five percent in the last 10 years, yet it stood at 16 percent.
In Commonwealth countries, the figure stands at 13 percent. The speakers observed that at the current rates it would take more than 70 years to attain gender parity. The participants also called for the mobilisation of youth through youth caucuses to promote leadership qualities in them. National Assembly’s and Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians’ Steering Committee Member – Asia Region, Kashmala Tariq demanded for 30 percent mandatory quota within political parties for women in the next general elections. She further said that 50 percent of women should be inducted in the assemblies on technocrat seats.
Source: B. Recorder