Potohar Organization for Development Advocacy (PODA), in collaboration with Public Affair Section, US Embassy Islamabad, organized an event to mark National Women’s Day with theme “Women Empowerment is Progress for all “topay tribute to those courageous women who struggle for the rights of women and restoration of democracy with its true essence. The event was attended by the prominent women in the field of art, civil society, district level community representatives, ministries, government line departments’, students, academics, journalists and lawyers.
Speaking to the occasion, Ms. Arlissa Reynolds Country Cultural Attaché US Embassy Islamabad said, that, “observance of the day serves to raise greater awareness about the issues of the women and highlight their critical role in the sustained developmental process. She said this day provides an opportunity to pay tributes to the achievements of women and to highlight their needs and concerns at the national, regional and global level.She stated that any kind of discrimination against women is a fundamental violation of human rights and government’s resolve to provide equal opportunities to women enabling them to grow and excel in every sphere of life.”
Ms. Kakuab Jehan Executive director PODA focused on the history of Women National Day, she shared around 100 women marched on the Lahore High Court to protest against Dictator General Ziaul Haq’s repressive and discriminatory Law of Evidence. Pursuant to this legislation, a woman’s testimony was considered half as valuable as a man’s. Police arrested up to 50 female protesters, using tear gas and batons. Defying laws against public assembly, the women’s protest marks an important event in Pakistan’s recent history.
Following this historic event, the struggle for women’s rights, human rights, and the restoration of democracy was further invigorated, and many women’s rights organizations were launched.
Ms. Khalida Saleemi SACH (Struggle for Change) and Sarkar Abbas Senior Advocate Supreme Court also addressed the function and highlighted the issues and challenges regarding the women rights and gender equality.
In closing of the event a classical dance and music buffs applauded the performance rendered by Dr. Feriyal Amal Aslam student of renowned Kathak dancer Indu Mitha on the poem “We Sinfull Women” written by famous feminist poet Kishwar Naheed, poem was sung by Ms. Kanwal Iftihkhar.
12th February 1983 is indeed a milestone in the women’s movement that even today serves to inspire and invigorate their struggle.
All participants paid tributes to Asma Jahangir who passed away on Sunday 11 February, 2018. One minute silence was also observed in the memory and recognition of Asma Jahangir’s struggle for human rights, democracy and social justice.
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