Women’s Action Forum to fight for human rights
ISLAMABAD: The Women’s Action Forum (WAF) has pledged to continue fighting for women’s rights on the 23rd anniversary of an incident where police baton-charged and arrested women protestors outside the Lahore High Court.
They were peacefully protesting against the draft Qanoon-e-Shahadat (Law of Evidence).
The 25th anniversary of the Women’s Action Forum (WAF) would also be celebrated in 2006. The WAF was established in 1981 as a platform for advocating human rights of Pakistani women, non-Muslim citizens and other marginalised Pakistanis suffering under unjust systems, discriminatory laws, poverty and patriarchy.
The WAF’s Charter and Statement of Demands have provided the mandate to work jointly with the progressive sections of civil society in the ongoing struggle. “Our struggle is against brutal feudal and tribal socio-legal structures, oppressive military dictatorships, self-serving political regimes, religious extremism, inequitable and unsustainable national and global economic development and environmental policies and plans.”
The statement said the WAF strongly favours a secular state and inter-faith harmony; its
against all moves towards theocratic rule; and it believes in a democratic, pluralistic, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, tolerant and peaceful society.
The WAF works closely with the national, South Asian and global peace movement. The The WAF advocates peace with India, accompanied by bilateral decreases in military expenditures, as well as demilitarisation and de-nuclearisation.
“WAF also continues to work against superpower interference in Pakistan’s internal and regional affairs, the impunity with which Pakistan’s sovereignty and territory continues to be attacked, the government’s misplaced politico-economic alliances, and its acceptance of unfair terms of trade under the WTO,” said the statement.
Over the past 25 years, violence against women, discriminatory laws, unjust and cruel social customs and practices continue to be a norm. Despite the government’s declared intentions, culprits continue to go unpunished and support systems for women remain inadequate, the statement said.
Nevertheless, the WAF has achieved a great deal over the last 25 years. The most important is raising awareness on all these issues, particularly on discriminatory laws against women and non-Muslim Pakistanis, and the promotion of zero-tolerance for any form of violence against women, said the statement.