Once it comes into power, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) will empower people to run their schools and police stations in their villages, PTI Chairman Imran Khan said on Sunday.
Khan was addressing a seminar, Justice for Women of Pakistan, organised by PTI at the Aiwan-i-Iqbal in Lahore. Khan said PTI would establish small courts in villages to provide a speedy resolution to cases and give justice to women. “It is in the remote areas where women normally suffer the most and don’t have any means to get justice. These small courts will provide women immediate remedy and give them justice,” he added.
Khan said he was against reserved seats for women in assemblies. “Legislators in assemblies are representatives of the people.
How can some women be representative of women when they haven’t even contested elections? In some areas it is not possible for women to contest elections, but political parties should hold elections within their ranks and promote women into higher leadership positions,” he said.
Khan said people would be given the power to control schools and police stations in their villages so that the system runs efficiently. He said this would be done through local government systems and by decentralising power. “When we say we will make all ghost schools functional, we don’t intend to send the Army to indentify such schools. Locals will do so and they will run the schools,” he added.
Imran Khan said PTI would give women the right to their share in inheritance, and empower them through education. He said NGOs and many foreigners arrange education for women and people think it has an agenda behind it. PTI on the contrary, he said, would talk to locals and establish education institutions for women with their endorsement.
Khan said there had been no co-education in Mianwali, but when Namal College was established locals were taken into confidence and the co-ed institution was now running successfully.
He said PTI would empower women but not “in the Western sense”. “In the West, they have nullified the due respect and stature for the mother. Housewives are looked down upon there and there is no dignity and respect for mothers,” he added.
He said women entrepreneurs would be offered special loans, transport facilities for women would be improved and day care centres would be established for working women – under a PTI government.
“Literacy amongst women will be prioritised and the budget will be increased five-fold from the current meagre levels of less than 2 per cent. Literacy levels in Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa where the current literacy rate is 8 per cent will be addressed,” he added. He said that, “PTI would be the first political party to train women on psychological, legal and political issues and how to handle them.”
He added that career counselling would be provided for female students in colleges and universities and a five per cent quota in jobs would be allocated to disabled women.
Justice (retired) Nasira Javed Iqbal highlighted the legal position of women in various sectors of life including the political and legal arena. Psychiatrist Dr Saad Bashir Malik discussed the psychological traumas that women have to go through as a result of being singled out from birth as being inferior and treated as a burden throughout their life.
Social worker and women’s rights activist Seemi Raheel spoke about the exploitation of women in the media. She said advertisements, dramas and news items constantly reinforce the idea that women are of secondary value by restricting them to the role of looking good.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 17th, 2012.