ISLAMABAD: While women are no stranger to the streets of the capital, most traverse them in search of work or just to get from one place to another. But on Thursday, scores of women rallied to for a single purpose: to make their voice heard and to be counted.
Women activists from all walks of life and political affiliation participated in multiple ‘Aurat march’ in the capital in sync with similar marches elsewhere in the country.
Women rights activists from various organisations gathered at Sector F-6 Markaz on Thursday afternoon and marched to the National Press Club.
Separately, activists from the Pakistan Peoples Party and the Awami Workers Party and even protesting daily wage teachers gathered at the press club raising slogans in favour of their demands.
Women activists from various organizations demanded extra measures to provide computerized identification cards to unregistered women, enhancing their 33 per cent representation in the national and provincial assemblies in the upcoming general elections, decent work for all, the increased quota for differently-abled women and girls at the policy level and timely payment of their dues.
Apart from just women, a number of men and differently abled people also joined these protests. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MNA from Islamabad Asad Umar joined the protest by daily wage teachers, while PPP Senators Sherry Rehman and Sassui Palejo turned up for the PPP rally.
The activists demanded to promote women’s rights especially regarding economic empowerment and their participation in the electoral process.
Acknowledging the efforts of the government for pro-women legislation, they said, that gaps in implementing the laws, which deprive survivors of violence and human rights violations in accessing justice, should be bridged.
The government, they demanded, should set up implementation mechanisms at the district, provincial and national levels, educate and sensitize law enforcement agencies and support the women’s machinery in tracking and monitoring progress on the laws passed.
Human rights activist Dr Fouzia Saeed highlighted that our culture provides a lot of space to women proven by the role played by stalwarts such as former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and lawyer Asma Jahangir.
Tahira Abdullah dedicated the day to the services of Jahangir. She appreciated her efforts and made a commitment to continue the fierce lawyer’s movement of human rights.
Anbreen Ajaib, the Co-Chair of Ending Violence against Women and Girls (EVAWG) Alliance highlighted that celebration of this day was special since it was an election year.
“We demand effective implementation of electoral law 2017,” she said.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 9th, 2018.
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