ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif yesterday constituted a committee to formulate the National Women Empowerment Policy 2016, proposed to be launched on the occasion of International Women's Day on March 8.

The committee under the head of Federal Minister for Climate Change Zahid Hamid was directed by the prime minister that the final recommendations of the committee shall be submitted to him for his approval by March 5.

The Prime Minister's Office has prepared a working paper in consultations with various stakeholders and Pakistan's Permanent Mission to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Geneva, to align the Women Empowerment Policy with country’s national and international undertakings and commitments.

Sources aware of the developments taking place on this front informed The Nation that the think tank working under the head of Maryam Nawaz Sharif has actually prepared the draft of the proposed policy on women empowerment and all what the committee would do is to give it a legal wetting and providing a requisite legal cover to the whole exercise.

These sources said that Maryam Nawaz Sharif had taken extra pain in formulating the structure of National Women Empowerment Policy 2016 and her team had worked day in and day out to prepare the draft and made it in line with the international standards and requirements to fulfil the country’s obligations both at home and at international level.

The committee comprises Zahid Hamid, Minister for Climate Change; Saira Afzal Tarar, Minister of State for National Health Services; Anousha Rehman Ahmed Khan, Minister of State for Information Technology; Khawaja Zaheer Ahmed, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister; Ashtar Ausaf Ali, PM's Special Assistant on Law; Dr Shezra Mansab Ali Khan Kharal, MNA; Shaista Pervaiz Malik, MNA; Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq; Iram Bukhari, former Secretary Women Development, Government of Punjab; Dr Ijaz Munir, Additional Secretary to the Prime Minister and the Secretary, Cabinet Division.

GOVT FOCUSES ON SOCIAL SECTOR REFORMS: PM

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that his government has focused on social sector reforms and referred to the recent major initiatives in health and education sectors which would greatly benefit the public at large. The Prime Minister was talking to Under Secretary General, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) Dr Shamshad Akhtar who called on him yesterday at PM House.

Acknowledging the role of UN in helping Pakistani government in achieving sustainable socio-economic development objectives, the Prime Minister extended his appreciation that a Pakistani woman has reached such a high and prestigious level at UNESCAP.

Highlighting the role of economic prosperity in national development, the Prime Minister said that his government has successfully overcome multiple challenges enabling the country to march towards ensuring sustainable economic and social development.

“Our government has pulled the country out of numerous crises and today Pakistan is viewed an altogether different country from what it was few years ago,” he added.

The Prime Minister said that the improved law and order situation has boosted the confidence of local and foreign investors to invest in Pakistan. “We are focused on social sector reforms and the recent major initiatives of our government in health and education (sectors) would certainly benefit people in general and the poor and vulnerable in particular.

The government has achieved the highest foreign reserves of its history, contained inflation and undertook mega energy projects to address the energy issue faced by the county, stressed the Prime Minister.

Dr Shamshad Akhtar appreciated the leadership role of the Prime Minister in regard to initiating huge infrastructure projects which will ensure better regional connectivity and socio economic development for the entire region. China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will usher into economic prosperity not only for Pakistan but the region, said the Under Secretary General.

The unprecedented infrastructure and energy projects of your government speak for your leadership role. Wherever I go, whether it is Tajikistan, Uzbekistan or any other country in the region; they all appreciate your regional leadership role. Projects like TAPI and CPEC are of paramount regional importance, which will improve the standard of living for millions in this part of the world, said Dr Shamshad.