ISLAMABAD:(APS)March 13, 2017: Inaugural session – A momentous 3-day International Conference on the Role of Women Parliamentarians in Strengthening Democracy and Social Justice was inaugurated by Sardar Ayaz Sadiq Speaker National Assembly of Pakistan earlier today; Amidst a galaxy of 29 women parliamentarians from 12 countries and a large gathering of MNAs, Senators, academia, diplomatic corps and civil society, Ms. Mariyam Nawaz Sharif and Ms. Marriyum Aurengzeb were also present.
Organised by the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (WPC), the participating countries include Australia, Iran, Iraq, Indonesia, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Romania, Sri Lanka and Turkey. The Conference aims at initiating a dialogue amongst women parliamentarians on developing mechanisms, legislations and policies to prioritize women empowerment among governments of respective countries.
The key note speakers in the inaugural session held on Monday morning highlighted on the basic question as to how Women Parliamentarians’ networks can build alliances to effectively support their oversight, legislative & representative roles at the Parliament to achieve social justice for all in democratic societies. The panelists identified the need for a new social contract based on solidarity between all segments of society is imperative for achieving sustainable.
Mohtarma Maryam Nawaz Sharif graced the inaugural session as Guest of Honour on behalf of her mother Ms Kulsoom Nawaz Sharif while the Chief Guest of the occasion was Honorable Speaker National Assembly of Pakistan Sardar Ayaz Sadiq. The Patron of the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus, Dr. Fehmida Mirza, former Speaker National Assembly and Secretary Women’s Parliamentary Caucus Shaista Pervaiz Malik also spoke on the occasion. The event was widely attended by parliamentarians, diplomats, representatives from media, civil society organizations, universities & activists.
The event opened with National Anthem & recitation of verses from the Holy Quran. Secretary Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (WPC) Pakistan Ms Shaista Pervaiz Malik while addressing the occasion said that “today, we the women parliamentarians, from across political divide, have come a long way”. Commenting on the diversity of the conference she said that the colorful flags placed at the dais not only brightens the human diversity but depicts a common hope. Secretary Caucus thanked the Australian Government for extending its gracious support in the organisation of this International Conference.
The WPC Patron, Dr. Fehmida Mirza, emphasized that “As the first woman Speaker of National Assembly, I have seen what determined women are capable of”. Commenting on the event she said that this conference serves as a tribute to all women who stayed determined & achieved heights in face of insurmountable difficulties. Shaista Pervez Malik thanked all participating parliamentarians and termed the galaxy of nations standing together as champion of women empowerment and reiterating keen resolve to work in unison for mutual goal of securing peaceful and happy societies through social well-being of all strata of society including women, children, old and the disable beyond any discrimination of gender, creed or social status.
The Guest of Honor Ms. Maryam Nawaz Sharif warmly welcomed all the delegates to Pakistan who came to participate in the event. Sharing her insights on the role of women parliamentarians, she said that “the struggle of women in all parts of world, especially ours, has never been an easy one”. Recognizing the achievements and contributions of women in Pakistan’s history, she said that “we celebrate the women heroes of our country like the first muslim women Prime Minister Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Shaheed, airforce pilot Maryum Mukhtiar, youngest noble peace prize winner Malala Yousufzaia and Academy Award winner Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy. It’s the women who serve as the agents of change, and even our Islamic history is full of exemplary women leadership.” She felt proud to acknowledge the services rendered by her mother Kulsum Nawaz Sharif in leading the country’s struggle against dictatorial rule, a legacy she plans to take forward. Maryum Nawaz Sharif concluded with recognition and drawing inspirations from Prophet Muhammad (SAW)’s pious wife Bibi Khadija who had been leading entrepreneur of Arabia on to Mohtarma Fatimah Jinnah who led the movement for the creation of Pakistan, step by step alongside the father of the nation, Quaid Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
Chief Guest of the occasion, Honorable Speaker National Assembly of Pakistan, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq applauded the role of women Parliamentarians in Pakistan as well as around the world. “Women have paid a heavy price for their unwavering struggle and resilience” said Speaker Ayaz Sadiq. Sharing the statistics, he said that the Women Parliamentarians around the globe make up 23% of legislators and 8% of peace agents. “Our WPC has been highly effective and efficient being the instrument of change always actively involved in crucial legislation on issues of women, children and vulnerable segments of society”. Honorable Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq also shared that in the present National Assembly of Pakistan women parliamentarians have performed exceptionally as 60% parliamentary business was conducted by them He was proud to share that women Members of Parliament are performing their roles in various different capacities such as parliamentary secretaries always well prepared as compared to men counterparts, ministers and chairs of parliamentary committees. Sardar Ayaz Sadiq also shared the setting up and working of sustainable development goals parliamentary taskforce that has helped push the human rights and social security agenda in Pakistan in a big way. The Inaugural session concluded with a group photo of delegates from all the participants countries with the Chief Guest and Guest of Honor.