ISLAMABAD, Feb 12: Speakers at a gathering here on Sunday demanded that the government should repeal all discriminatory laws against women without any further delay.

They said the existence of Hudood Ordinance, Qisas and Diyat and the law of evidence on the statute book was against the interest of women.

The event was organised by Coalition for Citizens Rights, Pattan Development Organisation, Women Councillors Network, Free and Fair Election Network, Gender Studies Centre and Women Action Forum at Super Market on the national day of women of Pakistan.

Women rights activists, including Farzana Bari and Jehangir Akhtar, said since creation of Pakistan both dictators and civilian governments had been compromising on women’s rights.

“A woman is also a complete human being and she should have equal rights just like a man but as we have a male-dominated society so no one cares about the discrimination against females.”

They said despite women’s consistent demands for the repeal of discriminatory legislation passed during the regime of General Ziaul Haq in the name of Islam, successive governments have failed to demonstrate courage to repeal the anti-women laws.

“The presence of discriminatory laws against women introduced in the name of Islam in our statute book not only distorts the spirit of Islam but also brings a bad name to the country in the civilised world,” Ms Bari said.

Jehangir Akhtar said women had a history of their work and struggle for their rights. Male segment of society who is liberal will also take part in the struggle for women rights.

The speakers said it was about time the nation realised that woman were also an important segment of society and by ignoring them the development of the country cannot be ensured.

The national day for women reminds us the unwavering courage of Pakistan’s women to protect their rights.

On February 12, 1983, women gathered on the Mall in Lahore to protest against the law of evidence promulgated by Gen Zia making a woman’s witness half of a man.

The then regime used brutal force against the protesters and many of them were put behind bars.

The speakers said the way women resisted the brutality of the police showed that they would never accept anything less than equal rights and dignity.

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