ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari, reaffirming his resolve to eliminate discriminatory practices and abuses against women in Pakistan, enumerated the government’s initiatives for women empowerment on Friday.
He was addressing a ceremony arranged to mark the end of “One Million Signatures” campaign launched last year to stop violence against women. Maintaining that discrimination against women is deeply rooted in the social, political, economic and legal spheres of society, Zardari said that the issues were not only limited to Pakistan but were also seen in other regional countries.
Claiming that the government’s highest priority is to address discriminatory laws against women, the president listed down the legislative measures taken to protect women, which included Adoption of Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2010‚ Criminal Law (Amendment) Act‚ Acid Control and Acid Crime Act and Prevention of Anti Women Practices Act.
The president added that the National Commission for Human Rights Act 2012 has been enacted to monitor the overall human rights situation, while the Women in Distress and Detention Fund Act 2011 has been promulgated to provide financial and legal assistance to deserving women. Moreover‚ 26 Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Centers for women have been established in various districts to provide immediate relief to female victims of violence, he added.
Zardari further said that around one million women are receiving direct assistance under Benazir Income Support Program, while the National Commission on the Status of Women has been strengthened to monitor the violation of women’s rights. A proposal is under consideration to give more representation to women in the judiciary, he added.
Speaking on the occasion‚ Country Director of UN Women Pakistan, Alice H Shackelford lauded the legislative measures taken by the Pakistani government for the protection of rights of women. She emphasised the need for collective efforts to bring a positive change in society.
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