Federal Minister for Information & Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira said on Friday that the government of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) guided by the vision of its leader Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto has always believed in women emancipation and the issue has always been one of the salient points of the Party manifesto.
While speaking as chief guest at the opening session of two-day conference on Women universities as agents of change by International Islamic University (IIU), he said that no society can progress without active participation of women in nation building.
He said that being the worker of the party of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, he believes that there is only one way to progress for the country and that is provision of equal opportunities of education and employment to women.
He said that radicalization of the Pakistani society some thirty years back on the behest of the West, also proved a hindrance in the way of empowerment of women.
The minister said that greatest challenge that we face today are from forces of monologue who want to impose their brand of religion over the whole society.
Unless we defeat them and encourage diversity in the society, we cannot make real progress, he added.
He said that by the efforts of the present government, civil society and media, status quo has been broken but still we need to make concerted efforts to achieve a liberal and tolerant Pakistan.
He announced that the government has planned to initiate a process of open dialogues at university, college and school level to promote diversity in the society.
He expressed satisfaction over the increasing trend of women taking up jobs in our society which, he said, is partially due to increasing financial needs.
About Benazir Income Support Programme, he said that its cards are issued to women heads of the family to empower them in the far-flung rural areas.
He said despite the fact that this step was opposed by many circles but the PPP leadership did not make any compromise and the results are very encouraging.
Later talking to media persons he said the government has to compensate the victims of devastating floods and for this purpose the government is striving for approval of a minor Flood Relief Tax from the Parliament.
He said that if as a nation we cannot contribute anything for the flood victims, then we have no moral justification to appeal to the world community for their help.
About General Sales Tax Reforms, he said before presenting the RGST bill in the Parliament, the government took all the stakeholders in confidence, besides getting approval from the Council of Common Interests (CCI).
Kaira clarified that the PPP being a democratic party came to power through peoples votes and it is well aware of their problems, but it has to take difficult decisions for strengthening economy.
While replying to another question, he said that there is great potential to promote tourism in the country, but it has been badly affected due to terrorist activities.
He said that the government has taken several steps to improve law and order situation in the country, which have started paying dividends, but still it will take some time to make Pakistan a truly peaceful society again.
To a question, he said that local chapter of Transparency International is working freely in Pakistan.
Our only objection is over its methodology which is based of perception, he added.
To a question about tax on agriculture, he said that many taxes have already been imposed on agricultural inputs and after the passage of 18th Amendment, only provinces can impose tax on agriculture.