Islamabad: President Asif Ali Zardari today, on the occasion of International Day for women, signed National Commission on the Status of Women Bill 2012 into law here at Aiwan-e-Sadr expressing the hope that National Commission on the Status of Women would play a significant role as a watch dog of women rights and would help in bringing positive change in policies and legislation.
The President while signing the Bill, reiterated Party’s commitment to continue working for the rights of women saying that promotion of women’s rights was part of the history of struggle of the Pakistan Peoples Party. Our leader Shaheed Benazir Bhutto was the first woman ever elected to head an Islamic nation and as the woman leader she felt a special responsibility to address issues relating to women. We have a vision for improving the conditions for women, he said.
According to prepared text of the speech, the President said that on the International Day for Women, it was sad to realize how difficult it has been for the women to develop their creative potential and how many Shaheed Benazirs are lost to the world because of these hurdles. But, the President continued, it was also a source of great satisfaction that women have fought for their rights. The journey may be long and tedious but they are destined to succeed, he said.
The Spokesperson said that the President said that it was a matter of great pleasures for him to note that following the footsteps of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, the Government has achieved many important milestones in this regard and on the day which is marked as the Women’s day, the Bill that would further empower the women of the country was being signed into a law.
The President said that the National Commission on the Status of Women has been made independent and autonomous. It has been empowered to protect the social, economic, political and legal rights of women, he said.
On this occasion, the President also recollected various measures taken by Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Shaheed Benazir Bhutto for empowering women of the country and creating conducive environment for them where they could utilize their potentials and play greater role in the nation-building process.
The President said that Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto opened up civil service for the women and it was his government that appointed women for the first time in the subordinate judiciary and the police force. It was this vision, the President said, that subsequent PPP governments appointed women to the High Courts, created special family courts headed by women judges and special women’s police force to investigate crimes against women.
For the first time in our history we have, under the present government, a woman Speaker, a woman as Foreign Minister and a woman as our Ambassador to the United States. We have a separate Ombudsperson for Women, the President noted.
He also recounted various legislative, political and social measures taken by the present Government to address issues relating to women and to empower them. Protecting women from harassment at workplace, preventing acid attacks, discouraging anti women practices, creation of a Fund for women in distress and detention and legislation to punish several offences against women including depriving them from inheritance and forced marriage were among the prominent measures taken by the Government, the President said.
The President said that one of the best methods to confront terrorism—the greatest challenge of present—was to raise the status of women. When opportunities for women flourish, extremism withers, the President remarked.
The President, on the occasion, congratulated and appreciated the chairperson and members of the Commission, Civil Society organizations and all the political parties for their support to the Government in its struggle for the rights of the women.
The ceremony was attended among others by Chairman Senate, Mr. Farook H. Naek, Speaker National Assembly, Dr. Fehmida Mirza, federal ministers, parliamentarians, members of the Commission and members of the civil society.
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