ISLAMABAD: Selected as the Ministry of Human Rights’ goodwill ambassador Mehwish Hayat on Friday expressed her support for the Kashmiri women and children in India-held Kashmir.
“We are with them. We need the world to stand with them, to put an end to what amounts to nothing short of war crimes,” Mehwish Hayat said at an event held to launch advocacy campaign on girl child’s rights through truck art.
Organised by the Ministry of Human Rights, the event was held to celebrate International Day of the Girl Child in collaboration with the European Union. Through the innovative use of an indigenous art form, 20 trucks were painted with messages about rights of the girl child. Five of those trucks were parked on the lawns of Lok Virsa where the event was held.
According to the organisers, travelling the length and breadth of Pakistan, these trucks shall carry messages on the rights of girls to create awareness.
Mehwish Hayat believed that when provided the opportunity, girls can accomplish anything they set their minds on.
“We have seen girls from the remotest corners of Pakistan becoming teachers, doctors, sportswomen, musicians and mountaineers,” she said.
In addition to the truck art initiative, a series of public service announcements on the rights of the girl child, featuring Mehwish Hayat, were also presented on two big screens.
“The rights of all children, including the girl child, are enshrined in our Constitution. As an equal participant, it is her right to equal access to opportunities to develop her full potential,” said Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari.
Celebrated globally, the day aims at highlighting and addressing the needs and challenges of girls and ensure the fulfillment of their fundamental rights.
Speaking on the occasion, Human Rights Secretary Rabiya Javeri Agha said: “As many as 22.8 million children are out of school and 56pc of these are girls. Let’s change the statistic, let’s educate, empower and celebrate our daughters to be the best of everything they were born to be.”
Ambassador of the European Union to Pakistan Androulla Kaminara said: “It is inspiring to see how young Pakistani women are influencers and active members in every sphere of life. As a mother and a professional woman, I am convinced that when girls get the opportunities they deserve, magic starts to happen. They flourish, poverty goes down, economies grow, families get stronger and healthier. So, my message to all girls today is to never give up on your dream not only for yourself but because the world would be a better place because of it.”
Speaking on the occasion, activist and filmmaker Samar Minallah said: “It is important to challenge the patriarchal mindset and stereotypes. Truck art with empowering messages on rights of girls will help in reaching out to people that matter and are unreachable.”
In recent years, Pakistan has taken several steps to advance the rights of children. Article 25-A of the Constitution legislated free and compulsory education for children aged 5-16. Child protection laws at national and provincial level provide protection and mechanisms to deal with cases of violence against children.
Published in Dawn, October 12th, 2019