30 September, 2011

WPC demands extensive role of women in Politics

Sana Jamal

Islamabad - Following a round-table conference, a unanimous declaration was passed by the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus, on Thursday, calling for equal opportunities for women in the public and political spheres. The Parliamentarians also agreed to build consensus among their respective political parties to provide at least 10 per cent quota for women on winnable general seats before the next elections.
In the declaration, women parliamentarians paid glowing tributes to the brave women leaders of Pakistan particularly Fatima Jinnah, Rana Liaqaut Ali and Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto whose courage and exemplary contributions in public and political life have greatly inspired, and empowered the women of Pakistan.

Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (WPC) recognized that the 17 per cent reservation for women in the assemblies and 17 seats in the Senate provided for in Articles 51 and 59 of the Constitution is “a significant step in empowerment of women in politics.”

Speaking at the conference on “Strengthening Women’s Representation in Political and Legislative Process”, Mir Jan M. Jamali, Hon. Deputy Chairman Senate highlighted the significant role women in the legislative process. Acknowledging the strong link between sustainable development, and role of women at the political and decision making process, he said that there is a “need to give a minimum of 33 percent women’s representation in the legislative assemblies.”

Women parliamentarians committed to protect and preserve the provision of reserved seats for women in the National Assembly, Senate and the Provincial Assemblies and also vowed to enhance and strengthen women’s representation in legislatures by working within respective political parties and elected representatives to increase women’s representation at all levels of decision making in the political forums.

Nafisa Shah, MNA and Secretary WPC, in her speech referred to the outstanding and proactive performance of the women legislators in legislative process and especially recognized the supportive role of Speaker Fehmida Mirza. She recommended that “political parties should review the existing women’s participation in the legislatures to make it more transparent, effective,” and also for empowering women in politics.

The conference was aimed at initiating a dialogue with political parties on the different ways to strengthen women’s representation in political and law-making process. The chief parties represented at the meeting were PPP, PML N, ANP, PMLQ, MQM, PPP (Sherpao), BNP, PML(F). Senior parliamentarians who attended the meeting included MNA Yasmeen Rehman, Secretary General ANP, Ehsan Wyne, MNA Bushra Gauhar, MNA Asiya Nasir, MNA Tasneem Siddiqui, Women Wing President PMLQ Farrukh Khan, MNA Ehsan Iqbal, MNA Nushat Sadiq, MNA Ghazala Gola Women Minister Balochistan, Deputy Speaker AJK, Senator Saeeda Iqbal, Senator Farah Aqil, Shaheen Dar, Shama Mithani MPA, MPA Nargis Faiz, MPAs from Gilgit-Baltistan and AJK.