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KARACHI: A welcome reception for parliamentarians in Sindh organised by the Sindh Commission on the Status of Women brought up many hopes and wishes for the betterment of women in the province on Monday.

Nuzhat Shirin, chairperson of the commission, said that they are looking forward to directly working with the women’s caucus. “The parliamentarians hail from remote areas and the commission’s mandate is to review the laws looking at gender equality, violence against women, education of women and spreading awareness about their rights to help them get justice. Being a monitoring body we want to see how funds are being spent and knowing their areas well these parliamentarians can assist us and also help us develop a system to help women,” she said.

“We have set up an advisory committee, a law committee, a committee for looking into acts of violence against women among others and with their help we will activate women development cells,” she added.

Senior PPP leader and Sindh Minister for Women Development Syeda Shehla Raza said that Monday was her fifth working day in office and Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah already wanted her recommendations on how to restructure their department. “We want all our projects to be expedited,” she added.

PPP’s Tanzila Ume Habiba Qambrani, the first woman from the Sheedi community to be nominated to the Sindh Assembly, also said that she wanted to work for women’s empowerment. “Badin, from where I hail, has several issues such as the need for clean drinking water but we badly need strong women who understand their basic rights too to demand such things,” she said.

Ghazala Sial, a PPP lawmaker from Khairpur, said that she has already done a lot of work within her constituency by getting good lawyers for women in need of justice, and she will be carrying on with the work this term as well.

PPP’s Kulsoom Akhtar Chandio observed that everyone, including herself, was upbeat and looking forward to doing and seeing good things for women in the province.

Another PPP MPA Farhat Seemi Soomro, for whom it is her second time in office, said that the provincial government in the last five years did a lot of work in the form of development in Thar and Thar coal contributing towards women’s empowerment, which should not be forgotten. “So we will be continuing our work while completing our late leader Benazir Bhutto’s vision for Sindh,” she said.

Sadia Javed, also of PPP, a first-time parliamentarian, said that she was very excited to be of service to her people thought parliament.

Senior PPP leader Nisar Ahmed Khuhro’s daughter Nida Khuhro, also a first-time parliamentarian, said that PPP is in power in the province for a third time due to a reason; they would give the people more reasons this time to keep their faith in the party. “A lot has been done already and much more needs to be done in education, health, water and women’s empowerment,” she said.

Nusrat Sehar Abbasi, elected to the provincial assembly as a candidate of the Grand Democratic Alliance, said that she was in the opposition and quite happy to find herself in that role. “It is my third term and I have found myself going from strength to strength while in the opposition,” she said, adding that during her first time in the assembly she only saw statements but no action from the ruling party. “I got to see bad governance up close as institutions went astray and the Supreme Court had to step in. It is not the judiciary that was interfering, as some saw it. This kind of thing happens when bureaucracy fails,” she said.

“Now it is PPP’s third time in power and they better deliver as after the 18th Amendment the provinces, too, have more power. If they don’t deliver, they will really lose everything, and there won’t be a fourth time for them,” she observed.

Published in Dawn, September 4th, 2018