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Exclusion of Benazir’s name from women’s day ads to be probed

Updated March 09, 2019

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Photograph and mention of the twice-elected prime minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto was missing from the official advertisement highlighting contribution of Pakistani women in diverse fields. — Reuters/File
Photograph and mention of the twice-elected prime minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto was missing from the official advertisement highlighting contribution of Pakistani women in diverse fields. — Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: The Senate was informed on Friday that the government would investigate how the name of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto was excluded from its advertisements for International Women’s Day.

The assurance was held out by Senator Syed Shibli Faraz, Leader of the House in the Senate, after the issue was raised by Pakistan Peoples Party’s parliamentary leader Sherry Rehman during a session of the Senate.

Ms Rehman, while protesting over the issue, regretted that the name, photograph and mention of the twice-elected prime minister of Pakistan was missing from the official advertisement highlighting contribution of Pakistani women in diverse fields. She said Ms Bhutto was an identity of Pakistan and her achievements brought her worldwide fame. She said roads were being named after Banzir Bhutto in different parts of the world while international universities were creating chairs in her name.

She sought an official apology over the issue and an amendment to the advertisements by the evening, before the opposition staged a walkout from the house in protest over the issue.

Opposition members walk out of house in protest

Mr Faraz, in the absence of the opposition, acknowledged that Benazir Bhutto gave unparalleled leadership to women and said the services of the first woman prime minister of the Islamic world for restoration of democracy were beyond any doubt. He said women’s history in Pakistan would find a prominent mention of Benazir Bhutto.

He attributed the missing reference of Benazir Bhutto from the advertisements to a mindset and promised a probe to find out at which level it had been done.

Later, the house passed a resolution commending the role of Pakistani women in nation-building. “The importance of women’s day should be realised and the house recommends that concrete steps should be taken for women’s empowerment,” said the resolution.

The house also had a discussion to commemorate International Women’s Day.

The latter part of the Senate’s proceedings was chaired by Krishna Kumari Kolhi, first Hindu woman senator from Thar, during which speeches were made to pay tribute to prominent Pakistani women for remarkable achievements in multiple fields despite all odds and challenges.

A visibly excited Ms Kolhi expressed her gratitude for being given the chance to chair the session. “I consider myself very fortunate today to be sitting in this seat, I salute Pakistan and I salute Pakistan’s people and I am proud to be a Pakistani and only Pakistani.”

Ms Kolhi allowed only female members to take part in the discussion on women’s role.

“The male members will speak next year,” she remarked in a lighter vein before reading out the prorogation order.

Earlier, during the question hour, federal Minister for Power Omar Ayub disclosed that an amount of Rs42 billion was payable against the federal and provincial governments as electricity dues. He said the dues against the AJK Government alone stood at Rs114.13bn.

He said all CEOs of distribution companies had been directed to recover the federal and provincial governments outstanding dues of Rs42.453bn by the end of this year by putting in all-out efforts.

“Moreover, as far as outstanding amount against the AJK government is concerned, efforts are being continuously made at government level for recovery after settlement between the governments of Pakistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

Published in Dawn, March 9th, 2019