RAWALPINDI, June 29: Twenty-nine Pakistanis are among the 1,000 women who have been nominated from over 150 countries by an international body for Nobel Peace Prize. The Noble Peace Prize Committee, Norway, will consider their names for the coveted prize. Speaking at a press conference here on Wednesday, Yasmin Zaidi, coordinator of the nomination committee, said these women have been nominated for rendering valuable services to the cause of peace, justice and human dignity.

“There is a growing realization that peace is not the result of an individual effort rather it’s a collective effort in which women play an important role”, she observed.

Ms Zaidi said the International Coordination Committees Association had been formed on a Swiss initiative, which enjoyed support of Switzerland’s foreign minister as well as the backing of the United Nations organs, including Unesco.

The 29 nominees from Pakistan are: Nigar Ahmed Nusrat Ara, Zakia Arshad, Nasreen Awan, Quratulain Bakhteyari, Rubina Feroze Bhatti, Maryam Bibi, Bilquis Edhi, Kulsoom Farman, Madeeha Gohar, Anis Haroon, Asma Jehangir, Hina Jillani, Yasmin Karim, Parveen Azam Khan, Mehmooda Salim Khan, Sheema Kirmani, Salma Maqbool, Khawar Mumtaz, Dilshad Murtaza, Kishwar Naheed, Akeela Naz, Akhtar Riazuddin, Majida Rizvi, Hilda Saeed, Zari Sarfraz, Nafisa Shah Farida Shahid and the late Shehla Zia.

So far this prestigious award has been received by 80 men, 12 women and 20 organizations.

Out of these 1,000 women jointly nominated for this award, 157 are from South Asia — the largest number from any region with 91 from India the largest from any country. There are 16 nominees from Bangladesh, 9 from Nepal, 12 from Sri Lanka.

The official nomination was handed over to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee in Oslo in January 2005. The announcement about the recipient of Nobel Peace Prize would be made on October 14 this year.

The coordination committee says the number of 1,000 is symbolic, as the nominated women represent innumerable women worldwide, who are engaged in the cause of peace and human dignity.

The coordination committee introduces these women as those who commit themselves daily to the cause of peace and justice, often under the most difficult circumstances. They call for reconciliation and organise peace talks, they rebuild what has been destroyed in villages and cities, they fight against poverty and create new sources of income.

These women struggle for access to clean water, land and other resources. They denounce violations of human rights and give public condemnation to all forms of torture. They utter silent protest in public places and seek solutions to all forms of aggression, the committee states.

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