Sherry Rehman prods Pakistan-americans to help realise better future for children
Pakistan has launched a series of programs to realize empowerment, education and healthcare for its children and diaspora's participation in this endeavor would bolster the country's progress towards that end, Ambassador to the United States Sherry Rehman said.
The ambassador told a gathering of community leaders, women activists, philanthropists and entrepreneurs that the Pakistan's government and people are bravely defying implications of a lingering regional conflict and focusing on socio-economic uplift of the poor.
In this respect, she referred to programs like Benazir Income Support Fund that seek to pull the people out of poverty trap but said the country would have to strive for a long time to ensure welfare of the entire younger generation and vulnerable segments like women and minorities.
Ms Rehman, who has been a longtime advocate for rights of women, children and minorities, appreciated the spirit the Pakistani-Americans have shown in assisting the work of SOS Children's Villages and other education and healthcare programs.
"Around 60 percent of Pakistan's population is aged under 30 --- by giving them access to education and health, you are helping Pakistan to turn the demographic challenge into an opportunity --your support is valuable and you are helping give Pakistani kids a bright future."
Ambassador Rehman apprised the gathering of Pakistan's democratic progress and upcoming peaceful democratic transition upon completion of the elected government's five-year term, media freedom, the resilience of the people, the strength of the civil society and independence of judiciary, saying the country is going through a historic transition.
"In Pakistan, we have finally achieved after much sacrifice and suffering a political democracy. We are about to witness the first elected government make a peaceful transition following elections. This is a monumental achievement but we are certainly not resting on our laurels. If you ask me, our work is just begun". She noted that empowerment is not defined by political values alone but also equally defined by economic and social values. "Until every man, woman and child has equal access to opportunity, our work cannot be finished".
For its part, the government has taken several initia- tives to empower families and women, especially rural women, to invest in selfemployment projects and small businesses. Ambassador Rehman cited the inspiring story of Malala Yousafzai, the
teenaged schoolgirl from Swat, who is now recovering from a militant attack on her for advocating girls' right to an education. Malala personifies hope, the envoy said.
"This can-do spirit and determination is pervasive in our youth, and gives me hope for the future of our country". The ambassador said her mentor, Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, was committed to providing a level-playing field for all Pakistanis. "And though we have come far, we have much to do to fulfill her vision for Pakistan".
Sherry Rehman particularly praised efforts by women activists including Rukhsana Rahman, Shaista Mahmood, Tahira Chaudhry, Tazeen Hashmi, Safia Naz and Shela Qamar in organizing the event for cause of SOS Children's Village.