On the occasion of International Women’s Day, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has announced that all out measures will be taken for the social and economic empowerment of women.

The Chief Minister was addressing a special function in connection with International Women’s Day at Aiwan-e-Iqbal on Sunday.

Provincial Ministers Begum Zakia Shahnawaz, Hameeda Waheedud Din, Balochistan Minister for Women Development Mir Izhar Khan Khosa, National Assembly Member Shaista Pervaiz Malik, women assembly members, Country Head of DFID in Pakistan Richard Montgomery, United Nations’ Country Director Women Jamshaid Qazi and a large number of women were present on the occasion.

Shahbaz said that Pakistani women are very talented and rendering invaluable services in different sectors. He said that be it medical education, engineering or any other sector, the girls have taken lead over boys and he personally observed this fact in the functions held for laptop distribution as well as in honour of position holder students. He said that the government has taken several solid steps for the development and empowerment of women. He said that revolutionary measures have been taken for ensuring women’s share in heritance, protection of their rights, 15 percent quota in government jobs as well as others. He said that in Malaysia, Turkey, Iran and other Islamic countries, women had worked side by side men and took their countries towards success. He said that women as doctors, engineers, bankers, specialists and bureaucrats in these countries, have changed the destiny of their nations. He said that Pakistani women like that of other Islamic countries, will also have to come forward and play their due role in the practical field. He said that the government will continue to take effective measures for the development of women.

The chief minister announced setting up of a committee and said that further decisions will be taken for the empowerment of women with the consultation and proposals of this committee.

Referring to the measures taken for the promotion of education, the chief minister said that the Punjab Educational Endowment Fund, which is a unique programme in the history of the country, has been set up in Punjab and the volume of this fund has increased to 12 billion rupees. He said that 65,000 poor but talented students are being provided scholarships from this fund in the province and with the help of these scholarships, students are also studying in local and foreign universities. He said that the Danish School System is another revolutionary step of the government for providing quality educational facilities free of cost to the children of backward areas. He said that children of poor families have as much right over education as those of rich families. He said that through revolutionary measures in education sector, the government has also provided quality educational facilities to the children of poor and backward areas of the province. He said that programmes worth billions of rupees are continuing for the encouragement of position holder students on the basis of merit and they are also being given laptops in a transparent manner so that they can gain latest knowledge.

He further said that through Akuwat Foundation, small loans have been given to tens of thousands of women of the province to make them self sufficient and the rate of repayment of loan is nearly 100 percent. He said that self finance scheme has been abolished in medical colleges and other educational institutions for upholding merit. He said that self finance scheme was tantamount to robbing poor and talented children of their rights.


Referring to terrorism, he said that terrorism and extremism have tarnished the image of Islamic world and caused an irreparable loss to Pakistan. He said that besides use of force for elimination of terrorism, provision of education, health and justice, elimination of unemployment and poverty besides equitable distribution of resources is essential for rooting out this menace. He said it is lamentable that Muslims are killing fellow Muslims and bloodshed is being enacted in the name of Islam. He said that people of Pakistan and the entire leadership are determined to rid the country of terrorism and efforts in this regard will prove fruitful.


He said that the scope of skills development programme with the collaboration of the British Department for International Development for making youth skillful is being extended to whole province. He said that Britain is extending commendable cooperation for the uplift of education, health, vocational education and other sectors in the province.

Minister for Women Development Zakia Shahnawaz said that the government led by its chief minister has taken laudable measures for the welfare of women.

Country Head of DFID Richard Montgomery said that the government has made commendable efforts for the promotion of education and empowerment of women in the province and the chief minister deserves credit for this achievement.

United Nations Country Director Jamshaid Qazi said that the government has carried out effective legislation for the empowerment of women besides taken bold decisions for their progress.