Posted by: Administrator | 20 August, 2006

President’s Address at Women Convention 2006

6 December 2006, Islamabad

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, Federal Minister for Women Development, Mrs. Sumaira Malik, all the Ministers, Parliamentarians, ladies and gentlemen:

I am proud on this historic day that I have been invited to this wonderful gathering; this gathering has been organized on the passing of Women Protection Bill.

I am proud to speak to you in such a gathering. First of all I am thankful to all of the ladies who are sitting here because today’ is your day. This is the day of celebration for you all. I am thankful to you all that you came and have participated in this gathering. I am thankful to the Women Ministry and to the Minister that they have organized the function. And I have been given the opportunity to address the large gathering of women. So that I can convey my feelings about the Bill to you. First of all on this occasion I want to congratulate the nation on passing the aggressively progressive bill. I want to congratulate the whole nation and particularly congratulate to mothers, sisters, daughters and girls of this nation. Because this is the day of their victory, it is their victory and the nation’s victory. So, I want to give the congratulations to women and the whole nation.

I want to congratulate the Parliamentarians who have passed the Bill, and those Parliamentarians who have supported the Bill in the Parliament including the women who have contributed in passing out this Bill, also to the moderate political parties who have contributed to this Bill and give vote in favour of right of the women and favoured the Bill so I want to congratulate to all of them as well.

This is the Bill which has been passed without any opposition, nobody has opposed it. There were either those who were opposing it for the sake of opposing it, and those who were doing it sincerely. I would categorize the first as “hypocrites” and the others were sincere and have a right to express their point of view. This Bill has the support of the 50 percent population of Pakistan. So I think this is the biggest victory that the Parliamentarians have passed the Bill without any opposition. No body has the courage to come to the Parliament and vote against it. In my point of view, in order to pass the Bill one has to have courage as well as the faith. And should have clear intentions, I always says this that Allah always help those who have clear intentions. Don’t be afraid and Allah will always help those people who have the right faith and intention and to those who believe on fairness. So this is the victory for all the forces of moderation. This equal treatment of men and women is the ongoing process, and if you support that then we will move forward and this will make Pakistan a moderate, dynamic, progressive society will be established here, Inshallah. World will see it as an example. We will Inshallah make Pakistan as a progressive Islamic state. This is a milestone i.e. the passage of Women Protection Bill. I want to assure the Nation that in Pakistan no bill or law can be passed which is against Islam and Sunnah. This is an Islamic Republic of Pakistan and this cannot be happen here. First we have to differential between Hudood and Hudood Ordinance. Hudood is a divine limit. There is a limit from God to which nobody can change. But this Hudood Ordinance is man made. This has been made in 1979. The Hudood Ordinance is a man­made bill, enacted in 1979 and can be changed if its clauses deny justice or there is any mistake. This is not Hudood so we have to understand this difference. So how can we decide that the Bill is Islamic or Un-Islamic? First we have to realize that we are all Muslims and this is an Islamic Republic of Pakistan, and we are all are emotional Muslims. Those who are opposing and those are who are in favour of the bill are all Muslims, and I am not against those who are opposing it but those people if with good intentions are giving their opinion. But if they are giving opinion so that they are opposing me than they are hypocrites, but those who are sincere have the right to express their point of view.

The Council of Islamic Ideology is an authentic institution, they consider it [WPB] according to Islam and the nation must believe in it. So the Council can discuss, think and give their point of view. Then the Council can decide whether it is Islamic or Un-Islamic. Then the Nation should agree on this decision once been made by the Council. Otherwise we could not reach to the conclusion on any issue. So this is a very authentic Council and they have considered this bill according to Islam so all the people of this nation should accept this decision and believe on it. So I praise the efforts and useful suggestions the Council has given to various forums, on TV, I am thankful to them. If there is any un-justice or insincerity in the society, then it is again an un-Islamic way. So I want to tell that neither we are insincere and nor we are afraid of anyone and lastly we are all very strong Muslims. So that is why I am very proud that we have passed this bill and has been passed by moderate forces and it is exactly according to the teachings of Islam. We should do practice the teachings of Islam. Muslim women have participated during the ‘gha7a.r’ [battles]. They were the back up support. Hazrat Khadija (RA) who was a successful businesswoman and so how can anyone speak against the working women today.

This is your day and women of this country were deprived of their rights in the past and this bill has provided justice to the women. The women of this country are not weak because they constitute half of the population of Pakistan. So they are 80 million and they are strong and so use this strongness by getting your right, and use this against those sections of the society who want to deprive you from the main stream. Reject those forces who do not want your progress. Reject those who deny your rights and to vote for moderate forces in the election. So I request you all to mobilize yourself and vote in favour of the moderate forces and reject those forces who don’t want the progress of Pakistan.

Government and myself are all in favour of under privilege classes. I consider the following are under privileged classes. Number one is the poor people of Pakistan. In the past we haven’t given them their rights. Second under-privileged class is women. We have to give you your rights and bring them equal to men.

For this capacity building is very important. So one should have the capability if one wants the right. So I request you all to bring yourself up and enhance your capacity. I also acknowledge the fact that the girls are doing well in colleges and universities as compare to boys. So this process itself is going forward. So this itself has to go forward and increase in capacity building is required. Other segment is the minorities. Minorities are as equal patriotic Pakistanis as any other Muslim Pakistani. So it is our duty to give them their rights as well.

So we have introduced the Local Government System for the under privilege poor people. So through Union, Tehsil and District Governments, the people are elected from grass root level. This is a political process. We have given the seats to the minorities through Joint Electorate System and reserved seats. So therefore we have also mainstream and man powered them. This act is also been for under privileged class.

Our Constitution accords equal rights, irrespective of caste, creed or gender, and we are here to put this in practice. How can we emancipate this? There are several facts involved in it. Number one is empowerment of women. I think there are two empowerments i.e. the political empowerment and the economical empowerment. So if you are not economically empowered, you will always remain submissive to men.

Therefore your economic empowerment is very necessary. We have done the political empowerment for you. There were now 22 per cent women in the National, Provincial Assemblies and 33 per cent at the Local Government level, the job quota in civil services has increased to 10 per cent, they were working in the Pakistan Air Force, Pakistan Military Academy, PIA, as teachers and other nation building institutions. Now you have to economically empowered yourself by educating yourself and get the earnings through job and do not dependent on anyone. There are 31 girls recruited in Army and they are in Pakistan Military AcademyF Insha Allah I will go on their passing out parade. Seven are the women ministers. So we are going very well in giving economical and political empowerment.

The other thing we are doing is that bring justice through laws. For this we have introducing the bill of banning honour killing. And the Presidential Ordinance on Women Prisoners that secured release of over 1300 prisoners, and the other is this women protection bill. And the other is the unjust social practices. We have to remove these social evils, which are against the women. So we are in the process of building a bill and it has certain elements. One of the elements is the [Warasat] i.e. the inheritance law, so that the women would get their share in [Warasat]. Other elements included are divorce, barter marriages, forced marriage, marriage with Quran and Wani – marriage to resolve disputes. So I am happy that this government is doing all these and I am also backing these laws so that women get their right.

The other thing is the gender mainstreaming, which mean the equal opportunities and bring women in the main stream equal to men for which capacity building and economic empowerment is necessary. The last thing is the violence against women. I know this is a universal phenomenon. But in Pakistan we should have to bring awareness among the society to stop such acts. In this regard I urged the media to play its role by creating more awareness about the rights of the women, their place in society and the dignity accorded to them in Islam. Also the role of the Non-Governmental Organizations in highlighting the problems of women, however they should refrain from taking up such issues at international forum as it brings a bad name to the Country. I also announce Rs. 2000 monthly stipend for the women councillors and the amount may increase in future, with better economic conditions of the Country.

Thank You

Pakistan PaindabadAF

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