ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is taking the lead when it comes to dealing with cases related to harassment. In the last four years, 5,000 cases were resolved and high officials were suspended including an ambassador posted in Europe and a police officer. Besides, Pakistan is the first country that started women’s representation on reserved seats in Parliament and now 30pc of it was made up of women.

This was pointed out by Federal Ombudsperson on Harassment Kashmala Khan while addressing participants of a session titled ‘Women at the Centre of the Development Agenda’.

Parliamentary Secretary for Human Rights Syeda Nausheen Iftikhar headed the session held in connection with the third regional seminar for the Asia-Pacific Region Parliaments on Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Dr Fehmida Mirza, Dr Nafisa Shah, Kishwer Zehra, Dr Aisha Ghaus Pasha, representative from Parliamentary Caucus Shahida Rehmani and Kashmala Khan were part of the discussion.

Says Islamabad first to give women representation on reserved seats; Sherry insists Pakistan paying price for emissions by other countries

In her opening remarks, Syeda Nausheen Iftikhar said women’s right to work and rights at work were hampered in the Asia-Pacific region by high levels of informal and vulnerable employment.

She said women made up nearly 40pc of the workforce in 20 developing Asian countries but only 14.4pc of them held senior managerial positions compared to the global average of 27.9pc.

MNA Dr Fehmida Mirza gave a detailed presentation highlighting the plight of women who suffered during the recent floods and steps taken by Pakistan to help women participating in the legislation process.

Speaking at the session, Ms Rehmani said the Caucus took multiple steps to ensure that women, transgender persons and people with special needs were given their rights. She said 70pc of the business of the parliament was run by women.

Minister of State for Finance and Revenue Aisha Ghaus Pasha said achieving SDGs depended on gender equality and women’s participation.

Sherry for building climate resilience

The bargain between the global North and the global South needs be reviewed, as currently, it is not working for countries like Pakistan that are paying the price for emissions by others without contributing even 1pc to the problem, Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman said.

Damage to crops, livestock, livelihoods, human health and economic stability would be felt for a decade, especially due to the sheer magnitude, scale and velocity of the water coming in, the minister said, adding that, “Just in the province of Sindh, areas are still reachable only by boat, because water is just standing there, as the land is below sea level”.

This has created internal displacements of climate refugees looking for dry land, while economic losses will likely go to $40 billion,” she said.

Resolution at IPU assembly

National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Wednesday termed the move by the lower house to convince 34 members of the Asia-Pacific region to present an emergency resolution at the forthcoming Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) General Assembly in Rwanda “an achievement”.

“This resolution would highlight the plight of those affected by floods in Pakistan and the consequences of climate degradation on vulnerable economies of developing countries,” the speaker said.

He also expressed his gratitude to the president of the IPU Duarte Pacheco and the entire IPU staff for their continuous and close cooperation with the National Assembly of Pakistan.

Convener SDGs MNA Romina Khursheed Alam also drew attention of the participants towards the devastating floods that had affected one-third of the country and had impacted over 33 million people.

Published in Dawn, September 15th, 2022

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