Islamabad: Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan, Ms Margaret Adamson said Violence against women is a serious problem affecting all societies across the globe. She expressed these views in joint Get-Together hosted by Australian High Commission and United Nations Women Pakistan on the topic of “Progress towards Gender Equality in Punjab” in the light of Punjab Protection of Women against Violence Act 2016 here in Islamabad on Thursday. Gender equality is a core foreign policy priority for Australia, and I am reassured to be joined today by colleagues from all sectors of society who are committed to advancing the rights of women and promoting gender equality, not only in Pakistan, but globally, Ms Margaret Adamson said.
The panel was comprised Australian High Commissioner, Ms Margaret Adamson, Fauzia Viqar (Chairperson of the Punjab Commission on the Status of Women), and Hina Jilani (Advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan), Mr. Jamshed Kazi, Country Representative, UN Women Pakistan, Mr. Salman Sufi, Senior Member, Chief Minister’s Special Monitoring Unit (Law and Order Wing).
The discussion focused on provincial responsibilities (post-devolution) to ensure comprehensive measures protecting women and justice to women survivors. It also addressed Punjab’s progress in other key areas towards gender equality: women’s economic empowerment, education for girls, and women’s voice in decision making.
Mr. Jamshed Qazi, Country Representative, United Nations Women Pakistan, on the occasion said over the past few months, there seems to have been a surge in country-wide reported cases of violence against women with some resulting in killings of a tragic nature taking a devastating toll on women. Tackling the pandemic that reaches almost every woman once in her lifetime where 1 in 3 women experience violence, must be everyone’s top priority.”
Mr. Salman Sufi, Senior Member, Chief Minister’s Special Monitoring Unit (Law and Order Wing) presented salient features and signiﬁcance of Punjab’s comprehensive initiatives to protect women against violence. He was lauded by panelists and participants for spearheading drafting and passage of key legislation on the directive of the Punjab Chief Minister to end violence against women in the province.
The event was part of Australia’s tenure as co-chair of the Inter Agency Gender and Development Group (INGAD) in partnership with UN Women. INGAD is a group of donors and multilateral agencies who have been working to promote gender equality in the development and humanitarian sectors and interagency coordination in Pakistan since 1985. INGAD is chaired by different donors and UN agencies on a biannual rotational basis. Australia is the current rotating co-chair of INGAD for the six months to August 2016 in partnership with UN Women (a permanent co-chair).
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