Awareness and capacity building, key for women empowerment in Law: Law Minister

Islamabad, September 03, 2020 (PPI-OT): Federal Minister for Law and Justice, Barrister Dr. Muhammad Farogh Naseem has said that awareness regarding the laws enacted to help women and capacity building of women in the legal profession is vital for women empowerment in the country. He was addressing a virtual launching ceremony of “Increasing Women Representation in Law” at the Australian High Commission. The ceremony was live-streamed on Facebook. The Law Minister further said that there are brilliant judges as well as highly educated and competent women in legal profession in the country. He said although we admit we are not gender neutral, however Pakistan’s Constitution and the laws do not discriminate against women in any way.

The Supreme Court judges are eager to have a female colleague elevated to serve with them at the Supreme Court. He said last year Judge Lubna Saleem Pervaiz was sworn in as the first female judge of Islamabad High Court and the Chief Justice is very happy with her performance. The overall mind-set in Pakistan has changed and women in judiciary are being given the space, for which there was a dire need. He said the incumbent government has done a lot on women empowerment agenda. We have enacted law to safeguard women’s property rights.

The law if implemented in letter and spirit, will guarantee right of a woman on her property within three months of filing a complaint with the Ombudsperson. He said there is a need to create awareness regarding this landmark legislation and the other such laws so that no one usurps on the legal rights of a woman, and also so that the women are fully aware from where they can have the redressal. He expressed his support for ‘Increasing Women Representation in Law’ initiative and said the symposia will help in capacity building of young men and women in the legal profession. Parliamentary Secretary for Law and Justice Barrister Maleeka Bukhari too, hailed the women empowerment agenda of the incumbent government. She said there is a dire need to address the gender gap in the legal profession and women should have a place in the decision making quarters.

The present government has enacted laws to support women and children with legal aid in criminal cases. She said the web portal/App on women in law will help identify women lawyers in Pakistan. Increasing Women’s Representation in Law is a joint initiative of Australian High Commission, Group Development Pakistan (GDP), Women in Law Network and British High Commission while Ministry of Law and Justice will also collaborate and facilitate the initiative. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Ministry of Law and Justice, GDP and Women in Law Network for that purpose.

The Project envisages three activities as deliverables that include; Women in Law Awards, Symposia on increasing women’s representation in law and other aspects of gender, child justice and diversity in law, and a web portal and an App to highlight the achievements of women in Law. Parliamentary Secretary for Law and Justice Barrister Maleeka Bukhari, Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan Dr. Geoffrey Shaw, Deputy British High Commissioner to Pakistan Mrs. Alison Blackburn, Executive Director of GDP, Ms. Valerie Khan, Ms. Nida Usman Chaudry, Head of Women in Law Network and Ms. Ambreen Abbasi from the Ministry of Law and Justice also participated in the launching ceremony of the project.

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