Published Date: May 19, 2014
SDPI Press Release: SDPI Third meeting of Women Parliamentary Council (WPC)
is facing a systemic problem of violence against women, and
parliamentarians irrespective of their political affiliations should
work for pro-women legislation. This was the consensus point of more
than two dozen women parliamentarians present in the third meeting of
Women Parliamentarians Council (WPC), a forum of Sustainable Development
Policy Institute (SDPI), in Islamabad.
the need for making CNIC compulsory for marriage registration, the
women MPs demanded that registration of divorce should also be made
compulsory. The MPs, highlighting the plight of women in prisons,
suggested measures for their economic rehabilitation once they complete
the discriminatory treatment meted out to women parliamentarians, who
come to assemblies on reserved seats, the women MPs discussed in detail
the problems faced by them in parliament, including marginalization in
decision-making, lack of research support, gender discrimination, and
inequality in political process. They were of the view that women’s
political empowerment and their meaningful inclusion in decision-making
was fundamental for any constructive and sustainable democratic change
in Pakistan. However, few of them showed satisfaction on the
effectiveness of their role as parliamentarians, and denied any
instances of political marginalization.
in his opening remarks, Dr. Abid Qaiyum Suleri, the Executive Director
of SDPI, said that there is a dearth of research evidence on various
issues of national concern and policy think-tanks should rigorously
provide research support to parliamentarians so as to strengthen their
role in evidence based policy making. "SDPI is not only committed to
provide research support to the honourable women parliamentarians but
also plans to extend legislative drafting support to them", added Dr
Suleri, while informing the participants that SDPI research secretariat
for women parliamentarians would be operational very soon.
Suleri said that a populace of almost 180 million, regardless of
limited resources at hand, is expanding at an alarming rate of 1.8%. The
nation is today
locked in an intricate trap of crises starting from energy to
unemployment, gender disparities, economic growth and security issues.
He argued that policy prescriptions to these solutions often lack
evidences and a mismatch of such policies with ground realities leads to
weak implementation. While talking about the post 18th Amendment
scenario, he said that some functions have been assigned to provincial
ministries, yet the challenge of transition of policy processes from
federal government to the provinces is huge for the political
governments in center and the provinces. Meanwhile, findings of a
research study on "State of policies and legislations to curb Violence
Against Women (VAW) at federal and provincial (KP and Punjab) level"
conducted under AAWAZ programme, were also shared with the participants.
on the occasion, Dr. Vaqar Ahmed, the Deputy Executive Director of
SDPI, told the meeting that in the Gender Inequality Index, Pakistan
Ranks 115 out of 140 countries. “According to the Gender Empowerment
Measure of UNDP, Pakistan is placed at 82 out of 93 countries.” He said
that in the current situation, SDPI continues to strive for a better
future for Pakistan by advocating evidence based policy making.
Saleem, SDPI’s Senior Researcher, sharing the findings of SDPI-AAWAZ
research with the participants, said: “SDPI believes that Women policy
makers are not only the voice of general public but also a guarantee to
gender responsive policy making."
The meeting was attended by MNA Arifa Khalid, MNA Romina Khusheed Alam, MNA Shahida
Akhtar, MNA Naeema Kishwar Khan, MNA Musarat Ahmedzeb, Senator Robina
Khalid, MNA Dr. Shahida Rehmani, MNA Anita Khalid, MNA Shmas ul Nisa,
MNA Aisha, Senator Farah Aqil, MNA Suriya Jatoi. Also members of Punjab
Assembly Suraya Naseem, Lubna Rehan, Tamkeen Akhter, Niazi &
members of Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa Assembly Maliha Khan and Nagina Khan.
Naghma Imdad from DAI and Ambreen Ajaib from SPO were also present. The
women parliamentarians lauded the SDPI’s role in policy advocacy.
Ambassador (r) Shafqat Kakakhel, the Chairperson of Board of Governors
of SDPI, presented the vote of thanks.