ISLAMABAD  – Reaffirming his resolve to eliminate discriminatory practices and abuses against women in Pakistan, President Asif Ali Zardari on Friday enumerated the government’s initiatives for women empowerment in the country. He also told the audience that a proposal was under consideration to give more representation to women in the top judiciary. Zardari was addressing a ceremony arranged to mark the end of “One Million Signatures” campaign launched last year to stop violence against women. Maintaining that discrimination against women is deeply rooted in the social, political, economic and legal spheres of society, the president said the issues were not only limited to Pakistan but were also seen in other regional countries. Claiming that the government’s highest priority is to address discriminatory laws against women, the president listed down the legislative measures taken to protect women, which included Adoption of Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2010‚ Criminal Law (Amendment) Act‚ Acid Control and Acid Crime Act and Prevention of Anti Women Practices Act. The president added that the National Commission for Human Rights Act 2012 had been enacted to monitor the overall human rights situation, while the Women in Distress and Detention Fund Act 2011 was also promulgated to provide financial and legal assistance to deserving women. Moreover‚ 26 Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Centres for women had been established in various districts to provide immediate relief to female victims of violence, he added.Zardari further said that around one million women were receiving direct assistance under Benazir Income Support Programme, while the National Commission on the Status of Women had been strengthened to monitor the violation of women’s rights. Speaking on the occasion‚ Country Director of UN Women Pakistan Alice H Shackelford lauded the legislative measures taken by the Pakistani government for the protection of rights of women. She emphasised the need for collective efforts to bring a positive change in society.Zardari for appointing women top judges

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 28-Jul-2012 here.