UNITED NATIONS: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari reached New York on Tuesday to attend the first UN conference on the rights of women in Islam and on the first International Day to Combat Islamophobia.

Pakistan, as the chair of the OIC Council of Mini­sters, is hosting the March 8 conference at the UN Headquarters in New York on the sidelines of the 67th Session of the UN Comm­ission on the Status of Women.

“The general perception that Islam promotes the oppression of women is misplaced,” Pakistan’s UN mission said in a statement.

“In reality, Islam dec­lares that women have the right to make their own choices, the right to education, and the right to be involved in political, social, and economic activities.”

The mission acknowledged Muslim women “face multiple challenges in securing their rights within the Islamic countries as well as in non-Muslim countries and societies”.

On March 10, the foreign minister will also chair a high-level event co-convened by UN General Ass­e­mbly’s President Csa­ba Krösi to commemorate International Day to Com­bat Islamophobia.

Since Pakistan initiated the move to designate a day to combat Islam­ophobia, it has been asked to chair this special event as well. The conference on women will also initiate an annual policy dialogue to address challenges and explore opportunities to advance the role of women in OIC countries.

The conference will highlight the achievements of current women leaders while also quoting examples from the Muslim history.

The speakers include Nobel Laureate Malala Yousufzai, Deputy Secr­etary-General Amina Moh­a­mmed, the executive dir­­e­ctor, Muslim Deve­lopment Orga­nisation, OIC and others.

Published in Dawn, March 8th, 2023

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