National convention discusses ways to empower women parliamentarians

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ISLAMABAD: A day-long event, titled ‘National Convention of Women Parliamentarians’, on Wednesday deliberated on the opportunities for women parliamentarians and the challenges confronting them in assuming their full political and parliamentary potential, including legislative, oversight and representative roles.

Federal Minister for Human Rights Mumtaz Ahmad Tarar was the chief guest on the occasion. The event was organised by the Women Parliamentary Caucus (WPC) as part of the International Women’s Day celebrations.

Around 100 women parliamentarians from the National Assembly (NA), Senate and all the provincial assemblies participated in the national consultation.

The convention reflected on the legislative, representative and oversight role of women parliamentarians in the political system of Pakistan.

The minister highly appreciated the role of women parliamentarians in playing an important role in the legislation process. He also lauded the role of WPC for the successful conclusion of its second term.

In her welcome remarks, WPC Secretary and member of the National Assembly (MNA) Shaista Pervaiz said that the outcome of the consultation was to raise awareness of the policy regarding the substantive potential and role of women parliamentarians in contributing towards an inclusive democratic parliament.

She said that as the General Elections 2018 drew closer in Pakistan, the WPC members were preparing themselves to mark the successful conclusion of its second term in the parliament.

“Since its inception in November 2008, the caucus has continued to provide an encompassing forum to the women parliamentarians from both houses of the parliament to freely raise, discuss and address issues affecting the lives of ordinary citizens of the country, especially women,” she said.

Shaista Pervaiz further said that WPC had addressed some of the most pressing issues being faced by women in Pakistan through legislative measures, sensitization, advocacy and knowledge sharing through conferences/seminars.

She said that one decade down the road and working with two different governments, members of WPC felt the need to reflect on the issues and challenges confronted by them. The speakers also discussed certain studies in the areas of child abuse, human trafficking and gender-based violence.

The women parliamentarians would also develop a strategic roadmap after deliberations to make the legislative business gender responsive and to transform parliamentary democracy into an institutionalised and inclusive system.

The participants also decided to build consensus to form a strategic alliance representing one senior member each from the national and provincial WPC chapters.

The report of the consultation would serve as a strategic roadmap for the future members of WPC in Pakistan.