Speakers highlight women’s role in curbing extremism, violence
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By: Sehrish Ali
ISLAMABAD: Gender equality and women’s leadership was on agenda at a one-day peace conference that brought together various stakeholders to engage in wide ranging discussions.
The conference, split into three sections, was organized by the PAIMAN Trust, a non-governmental organization that aims “to serve as a link between people and their communities with opportunities through meaningful initiatives that change their lives for the better”, according to the trust’s website.
The first session began with a discussion on survivors of violent extremism through local interventions. Various NGO’s shared their experiences of dealing with different cases.
Shahnaz Wazir Ali, adviser to the prime minister on social issues, highlighted some positive examples of women making a difference in their society. “Pakistani women are courageous, creative leaders who are striving to alter their country’s dangerous trajectory and rebuild lives shattered in the wake of terrorism,” she said.
When asked about the government’s policies related to violence against women, she said, “Our government’s policy is crystal clear: it firmly believes in unambiguous inclusion of women in the political process.”
In the second session, which discussed women moderating extremism locally, National Assembly Deputy Speaker Faisal Karim Kundi stressed on the fact that curbing violence can not be achieved on an ad hoc basis.
It is an ongoing process that requires full participation of women, he said. “The efforts to moderate extremism cannot be successful in the long term without women’s participation as they play a vital role in averting violence, resolving conflict and helping in rebuilding communities.”
Kundi was also quick to highlight prevention, negotiation and good governance as key ingredients in reducing extremism. The last session focused on finding ways to address violent extremism and offsetting its effects.
PAIMAN Trust Director Mossarat Qadeem concluded the event by encouraging the participants to turn words into actions. “The civil society and the government must together address this menace of extremism collectively at all levels.”