AJK women want en­hanced po­lit­i­cal em­pow­er­ment in up­com­ing polls

Pakistan Observer - - KASHMIR - STAFF RE­PORTER

IS­LAM­ABAD—Women ac­tivists from AJK hail­ing from dif­fer­ent walks of life de­manded gov­ern­ment and po­lit­i­cal par­ties to pay deeper at­ten­tion on po­lit­i­cal em­pow­er­ment of women in AJK. The de­mands were made in a roundtable ti­tled “Women’s Po­lit­i­cal Par­tic­i­pa­tion in AJ&K: Chal­lenges and Op­por­tu­ni­ties” - in the con­text of up­com­ing elec­tions and was or­gan­ised by Kash­mir In­sti­tute of In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions (KIIR).

While in­tro­duc­ing the topic, Di­rec­tor Women Wing KIIR, Ms Atia An­wer Zoon said that our po­lit­i­cal par­ties needto cre­ate spa­ces for women in pol­i­tics and pro­mote equal par­tic­i­pa­tion. She said that women of AJK are ed­u­cated and are mo­ti­vated to play a role in pol­i­tics but due to lack of spa­ces in pol­i­tics, fam­ily sup­port and cul­tural hin­drances they are un­able to harness their po­ten­tial. She also said that nar­ra­tive of women on pol­i­tics in AJK is miss­ing and a re­vival of lo­cal gov­ern­ment could cre­ate lot of spa­ces for women to par­tic­i­pate in the ac­tive pol­i­tics.

Deputy Speaker AJK as­sem­bly Sha­heen Kosar Dar said that, she has been per­sis­tent and worked re­ally hard in ac­tive pol­i­tics to reach to this level. “I had not had big fi­nan­cial sup­port, nei­ther I be­longed to a po­lit­i­cal fam­ily I worked hard, re­mained per­sis­tent and cre­ated my own space in a male dom­i­nated so­ci­ety” said Sha­heen. She said that her gov­ern­ment was the first gov­ern­ment in Pak­istan which cre­ated women par­lia­men­tary cau­cus in AJK, and were reg­u­larly mon­i­tor­ing is­sues of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence and abuses in AJK.

She also stated that her gov­ern­ment has been giv­ing greater at­ten­tion to eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment of women in AJK and in fu­ture they are in­stalling mo­bile health unit cov­er­ing al­most all the re­mote villages of AJK to ad­dress ba­sic ma­ter­nity health is­sues of women.

Sec­tary Gen­eral Mus­lim Con­fer­ence Mrs.Mehr-un-Nisa stressed on the im­por­tance of women’s po­lit­i­cal par­tic­i­pa­tion in AJK and opined that it’s the need of time that women should as­pire for tak­ing up lead­er­ship roles. She said that the pres­ence of women in lead­er­ship po­si­tions can play a cru­cial role to in­form all pol­icy, plan­ning and decision mak­ing in or­der to make it more gen­der sen­si­tive.Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Jammu Kash­mir Peo­ples Party Na­bila Ir­shad said that women have to re­claim their lost spa­ces by ex­ert­ing them­selves and re­main­ing ac­tive in so­cial and po­lit­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties. While nar­rat­ing her own ex­pe­ri­ence she said that my fam­ily stood with me and they al­ways sup­ported me in pur­su­ing pol­i­tics as ca­reer.

Pres­i­dent Women Wing, from Jammu Kash­mir Lib­er­a­tion Front Tahira Touqeer while ap­pre­ci­at­ing the KIIR’s ef­fort called for bring­ing in laws to en­sure women par­tic­i­pa­tion in pol­i­tics in AJK. She stated that it has been a great chal­lenge to do pol­i­tics in a pa­tri­ar­chal so­ci­ety and we need to pay at­ten­tion that how more ed­u­cated and in­formed women can join pol­i­tics and be­come ac­tive in so­cio-po­lit­i­cal fab­ric.

Ed­u­ca­tion­ist Ms Rukhsana Khan from Univer­sity of AJK Muzaf­farabad said that we need to chal­lenge the ex­ist­ing nar­ra­tive of de­fined role in so­ci­ety. Women need to be more proac­tive in claim­ing their spa­ces in spheres of life and ed­u­cated women should raise voice for equal op­por­tu­ni­ties.

The round ta­ble was at­tended by al­most 50 women from var­i­ous po­lit­i­cal par­ties, civil so­ci­ety or­gan­i­sa­tions, me­dia, lawyers, and stu­dents wherein they all unan­i­mously called for in­creas­ing women rep­re­sen­ta­tion in leg­isla­tive as­sem­bly and in up­com­ing lo­cal elec­tions. While con­clud­ing Di­rec­tor Pro­gram Atia An­war Zoon put for­ward sug­ges­tion to the deputy speaker AJKassem­bly to re­vise the ex­ist­ing syl­labus of schools and to make it more gen­der sen­si­tive that could help in brin­ing so­cial change.

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