MANSEHRA, Dec 5: Representatives of nongovernmental organisations working for women rights and development on Thursday demanded of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to give men and women equal representations in the local bodies.

The demand was made here at Mansehra Press Club during a seminar on gender equality and discrimination against women.

The speakers urged the provincial government to give 50 per cent representation in the local bodies to women.

Sungi Development Coordinator Mohammad Javed said the Senate and National Assembly couldn’t legislate for women’s empowerment due to lack of enough representation of women there.

He said it was high time that women should be respected and empowered through proper legislation and share in the elected bodies.

Member of Public Safety and Police Complaint Commission Gulnaz Shah demanded equal representation for both men and women in the elected bodies.

She said currently, there was no strong voice of women in parliament and that was why abuses against women were increasing.

Ms Gulnaz said until participation of women at the decision-making forums and elected bodies was ensured, discrimination and violence against them would continue.

She said many local NGOs had established village councils of women to highlight their problems but it was highly important to give equal share to women in local bodies so that they could raise their voice against whatever discriminations being meted out to them in society.

Ms Shah said she had come across a large number of cases in which women were even deprived of their inheritance in moveable and immoveable property.

“It is unfortunate that women are considered as a commodity and handed over to rival families under vani custom to settle blood feuds. The custom is an inhuman act and should be banned completely,” she said.

On the occasion, Mohammad Asif said from Nov 25 to Dec 10, the international community would organise events to highlight women issues and problems.

“We are also part of the global village and should show up largely in events, where women issues are highlighted and voice is raised in support of women empowerment,” he said.

Mr Asif said if women were given due rights and equal share in elected bodies, there would be no violation of women rights and that women would be considered integral part of society.

Qamar Zaman and Obaidullah also spoke on the occasion.

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