Islamabad: A delegation of women Parliamentarians from Afghanistan today called on President Asif Ali Zardari at the Aiwan-e-Sadr.
The delegation included among others Ms Asila Wardak Jamal, Director Human Rights and women’s International Affairs, Ms Shinkai Karokhail, Ms Razai Sadat Mangal, Ms Golalei Nur Safi and Ms Elay Ershad.
Mr. M. Salman Faruqui, Secretary General, Dr Nafisa Shah, MNA, Dr Donya Aziz, MNA, Ms Farahnaz Ispahani, MNA and Spokesperson to the President Mr. Farhatullah Babar were also present.
Pak-Afghan bilateral relations and mutual cooperation, enhanced ties among the parliamentarians of the two countries particularly the women parliamentarians, situation in Afghanistan and other related issues were discussed during the meeting.
Briefing the media, Spokesperson to the President Mr. Farhatullah Babar said that the President emphasized the need for frequent exchange of visits of Pak- Afghan parliamentary delegations and also urged for forging stronger links and ties among women parliamentarians of the two countries. He called upon women parliamentarians to make joint efforts and participate actively at advancing the cause of gender equality and emancipation of women and also for ending all forms of discrimination against women both in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He expressed the hope that the visit by the Parliamentarians would further strengthen cordial relations between the two countries.
The spokesperson said that the President recalled his meeting with the first Convention of Women Parliamentarians from Afghanistan and South Asia last year and said that the Convention that also include Afghan women Parliamentarians was as a giant leap towards a meaningful participation of women leaders for peace, security and reconciliation in the region. The President while referring to the current wave of militancy and extremism in the region said that the world would be a better place if more women were in positions of power and women of the region were brought closer together. He said that the bringing together of women of the region will make this region and the world more tolerant, more peaceful and more secure.
The President said that Pakistan wants to further enhance trade and investment ties with Afghanistan and urged for increasing the current bilateral trade which is around US $ 2 billion to new heights. He expressed the hope that the new Afghanistan- Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) will boost trade and economic opportunities to the mutual benefit and its smooth implementation will have dividends for peoples of both the countries.
The President said that we feel proud that Pakistan People’s Party has to its credit many firsts on the road of women emancipation adding that Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was the first woman Prime Minister of Pakistan and she was also the first woman Prime Minister anywhere in the Muslim World. For the first time in our parliamentary history a women caucus has been formed, he said and added that apart from women members of Parliament, we have women pilots, women judges and women police officers. We have women in other government services and in the country’s corporate and private sector, he said.
Discussing Afghanistan situation, the President said that Pakistan stands for peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan which he said was in its own interest as any development in Afghanistan had its impact on Pakistan. He reiterated Pakistan will support every effort to bring in peace and stability in Afghanistan adding that Pakistan desires an Afghan led solution to the current situation in Afghanistan.
The members of the delegation thanked the President for meeting and appreciated the various efforts being taken by the government for socio- political and economic empowerment of women of the country.
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