LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has announced a comprehensive package of far-reaching reforms for removing hurdles in the laws for bringing women into mainstream of national development.
The chief minister also announced regularisation of lady health workers while Punjab government will distribute 200,000 more laptops worth Rs.8 billion among talented boy and girl students.
He was addressing a function held in connection with the International Women’s Day at Aiwan-e-Iqbal and the session of Punjab Assembly today. While announcing amendments in various laws for upholding women rights, he said that child marriage act, dowry and gift to the bride Act, marriage functions act, guardian and ward act, marriage certificate, Punjab land revenue act and the law regarding distribution of assets are being amended by the Punjab government. Moreover, a provincial commission on women has been set up in Punjab and its chairperson has also been appointed. The government is also introducing a comprehensive policy regarding domestic servants and registration fee on birth certificate is being abolished due to which registration of female children will be encouraged.
Similarly, only women contractors would be able to operate canteens in educational institutions of women, representation of women as office-bearers will be essential for trade unions, veterinary training programme will be launched for women. The government has also decided to arrange training for the wives of workers and topics regarding equality between males and females would be included in the syllabus of schools. He said that economic empowerment of women is essential for granting them due status in the society.
He said that such programmes have been included in the package, which would directly benefit women. He said that government has decided to create opportunities for women in jobs and trade at a small scale. He said that all possible steps would be taken for the empowerment of women and their welfare. He said that various programmes would be implemented during the current year under educational endowment fund, Punjab Education Foundation and Punjab Skills Development Programme for enhancing educational and professional abilities of women. Similarly, at least 30 percent representation of women has been made compulsory on the boards of all government corporations, institutions and companies.
He said that national security is linked with economic security and active participation of women in every sector of life is necessary for making Pakistan a strong and stable country. He said that there is a need for adopting a solid strategy to remove centuries-old discriminatory attitude and injustices against women. He said that such policy reforms have been brought forward as are supported by the law. The chief minister said that the elements harassing working women who are playing their role in strengthening of economy would be awarded deterrent punishment. He said that harassment of women at work place is a crime and the guilty persons would be treated as criminals.
The chief minister said that Punjab Assembly in connection with International Women’s Day unanimously adopted a law regarding proper representation of women for which he is thankful to all members of Treasury and Opposition in the august house. He said that it is a big step towards upholding of women rights. Shahbaz Sharif said that he has returned from Turkey on Saturday and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has thanked Pakistan especially Lahoris on the warm hospitality extended to him during his visit to Lahore.
The chief minister said that a few days ago he went to China along with President and Chinese government realising the problems of Pakistan announced investment package of 32 billion dollars for seven years. He said that Chinese leadership openly admits this fact that Pak-China friendship is higher than Himalayas, deeper than oceans, sweeter than honey and stronger than steel. He said that if we work hard and use 80% of 32 billion dollars, darkness from this country would be eliminated forever. Shahbaz Sharif said that the law regarding proper representation of women is a milestone in the setting up of a prosperous, healthy and developed society. He said that scholarships have been given to 50 thousand students from Punjab Educational Endowment Fund and out of these 25 thousand are female. Similarly, among those who benefited from laptop scheme during the last two years, 60 percent are female, he added. He said that small loans of four billion rupees have been given to 50 percent women and now they are earning their living honourably. The chief minister said that 50 billion rupees have been allocated for women under Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s loan scheme.
He said that services of lady health workers were transferred to the provinces without taking the provinces into confidence during previous government, however, they are being regularised, as lady health workers are daughters of the nation.
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