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LAHORE: The Punjab Cabinet has expressed its resolve to defeat terrorism and extremism plaguing the country.

Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Wednesday presided over a meeting of the provincial cabinet, which also gave approval to various steps for empowerment of women and protection of their rights as well as necessary legislation in this regard. “Amendments to family laws to check exploitation of women besides their empowerment were approved,” says a handout.

The cabinet also decided to observe World Women’s Day on March 8 in an enthusiastic manner. Moreover, setting up of Punjab Working Women Endowment Fund and establishment of family courts complex in each district were given a go-ahead.

The meeting decided to give three-year special relaxation to women in age limit for employment while it was also decided that only women would operate canteens in educational institutions for women. Similarly, all columns relating to the women rights in Nikahnama (marriage certificate) will have to be filled.

The chief minister said more than 50pc population of Pakistan comprised women and the country couldn’t progress without their empowerment. He said women would have to display their talent and abilities in practical field for the progress and prosperity of the country.

He said the job quota for women had been increased from five per cent to 15pc while necessary legislation had also been made for ensuring share of women in inheritance.

The Punjab cabinet pledged to eliminate terrorism from society. Referring to the tragic incidents of terrorism, Shahbaz Sharif said innocent children were brutally killed in Peshawar and the terrorists also shed the blood of innocent people in Shikarpur, Hayatabad and Lahore.

He said the people of Pakistan were united in the hour of trial. He said the Punjab government had set up a fully-trained Counter Terrorism Force after two years of hard work and its first batch had passed out. He said passing out of the second batch would be held in April and that of third batch in August. The CTF, he said, would play a key role in elimination of terrorism from the country.

He said effective measures with regard to implementation of the National Action Plan had been taken. He said amendments had been made to laws to make penalties more stringent. He said the nation was proud of its armed forces.

The chief minister said a consolidated intelligence system was of vital importance in the war against terrorism.

He also spoke of the Safe City Project which would start from Lahore and its scope would be extended to Rawalpindi, Multan, Faisalabad, Bahawalpur and other cities during the next three years.

The meeting also decided to include topics on tolerance, peace and brotherhood in the syllabi of educational institutions and arrange essay-writing and speech contests on the subject.

As for the discovery and certification of precious mineral reserves in Chiniot-Rajwa, the chief minister said experts conducted drilling at 10 places in an area of 24 square kilometers and besides iron reserves, copper deposits had been discovered from all the sites. He said that according to experts, these precious reserves were spread over an area of 2,000 square kilometers. He said the Chinese company and German consultants were working on an estimate of these reserves.

The meeting appreciated Punjab Education Foundation chairman Engineer Qamarul Islam for showing good performance.

The chief minister and his Cabinet offered special prayers for the victims of the blasts outside the Police Lines in Lahore, and in Shikarpur, Hayatabad and Peshawar’s Army Public School.

Preliminary report regarding the suicide attack on the Police Lines, Qila Gujjar Singh, was presented at the meeting. The Secretary Home and IGP gave briefings to the meeting regarding efforts for maintaining law and order, security arrangements and implementation of the NAP.

Published in Dawn, February 19th, 2015

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