Seminar on human rights, governance concludes -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Seminar on human rights, governance concludes

LAHORE (March 15 2008): A two-day seminar on “human rights, governance and democracy”, organised by the British Alumni Association of Pakistan and the British High Commission in Pakistan, ended on Friday. The topic of the second day was “gender and child rights in Pakistan”.

Punjab Child Welfare and Protection Bureau Director Programme Zubair Ahmed said in his speech, “The cultural change is the most difficult one. In case of women empowerment, the first change is the cultural one. We are trying to do our bit to contribute towards this shift.

We mostly condemn men for not being accommodating but most women also don’t agree with this philosophy. People who have some exposure understand the implications of women empowerment.”

He also said a mafia gang was kidnapping and using children in Lahore to beg in streets and set up a child help line. He said child trafficking was still going on in Rahim Yar Khan where parents sold their children for Rs 45,000 to join camel races in the Gulf States. He claimed that the gang had smuggled 10,000 children and that only 700 were recovered.

UNDP Gender Budgeting Specialist Syed Hassan Raza Gardezi said the subject was wide in scope but the country needed to specify the budgetary process. “It refers to a variety of processes and tools to access the impact of the government’s spending pattern and ways to raise revenues. The budget is the most important policy tool by the government,” he added.

Programme Director Gender Reform Action Plan (GRAP), Punjab Aftab Fahim said that “there are major reforms that GRAP is working on, administrative restructuring, women empowerment, discrimination against women. At provincial level we have restructuring of the institutions. In Punjab the women development department is an integral part of the government of Punjab. We have created a separate directorate for the women development. We want to provide equal opportunities between women and men through ensuring women’s equal access and giving equal opportunities in political and public life.”

Director, study center, University College Lahore Ahmad Warraich said that “Unlike Britain we don’t have compulsory vocational training for the lawyers but the government has been making efforts to sensitise various government instructions and I am sure its also happening in the judicial academy.”

Principal Pakistan College of Law Hamayun Ehsan said that “the whole thrust of women’s rights are that they are discriminated against. A girl would perhaps get low quality education then her male counterpart.” He said he encouraged the women to join the profession of law, finance and engineering. He said that people especially civil society should play their role for change.

Vice Chancellor, Lahore College for Women University and President British Alumni Association of Pakistan Lahore Chapter Dr Bushra Mateen said during the discussion on the end of the seminar, that ” it is not necessary that women get higher education only to work, they have a choice to do work and do not want to do work and stay at home. It’s the family system unit we have which compels them to stay at home. If they handle the tasks at home then the men should be taking care of the responsibilities outside the house.”
Source: Business Recorder
Date:3/15/2008