LAHORE: Some laws and constitutional articles are among the biggest hurdles in providing equal rights to all citizens, Women Action Forum’s Shehla Zia said on Saturday.
She was speaking at a seminar Journey of Women Struggle: Towards a Tolerant and Democratic Society held in connection with the 28th Pakistan Women’s Day.
She said some sections of the society were promoting extremism and terrorism in the name of religion.
She said the WAF had from its inception adopted a clear stance on the issue of blasphemy laws. She said exploitation of the law for personal interests could not be allowed.
Besides the WAF, members of the Concerned Citizens of Pakistan (CCP), the Pakistan Rising Youth Group (PRYG), the Home Based Workers’ Union (HBU) and the Class Foundation (CF) attended the seminar.
Atiqa, a gender studies student, said discrimination against women frequently started at their homes. Family, she said, was first and foremost responsible for condoning acts of violence against women. She said a real change at the level of the society was possible only if individual families changed their attitude towards women’s rights. The WAF passed a resolution at the seminar stating that rights of women, minorities and other marginalised groups could be secured only in a secular and a democratic society.
The seminar was followed by a vigil. Around 40 activists demonstrated against religious extremism and to demand rule of law. They were holding placards reading “Protection for civilians”, “End killing of innocents in the name of Islam, as it is a religion of peace” and “regulate religious establishment”.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 13th, 2011.
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