LAHORE – Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that effective participation of women, in political and practical fields, is essential to make Pakistan a strong and dignified country in the comity of nations.

In his message on the International Women’s Day, the chief minister said it was a fact that no society could achieve progress, without granting due rights to the women.

“The Punjab government has taken revolutionary steps, during the last five years, to ensure protection of women rights, and to provide them equal opportunities, due to which women are now playing a vigorous and effectual role in progress, prosperity and development of the country,” the CM held.

Shahbaz said, as compared to other religions, Islam has granted greater rights to women, but, unfortunately, women did not have those rights in Pakistan despite being an Islamic country.

He said we would have to re-emphasize our determination that we would discharge our religious, social and moral responsibilities, in an efficient manner, to ensure protection of women rights.

He said the Punjab government had taken concrete steps to bring women into the mainstream of progress and prosperity. He said, for the first time in the history of the country, not only 15 per cent women quota had been earmarked in government jobs, but its implementation had also been ensured.

The chief minister said, for the first time in the history, the provincial government had also granted joint proprietary rights of residential plots, made available under government schemes, to both husband and wife.

Shahabz said universities and colleges had been established for women, while a large number of women were also benefiting from laptop scheme, ujala programme, internship programme and self-employment scheme. He said as no society could develop without progress of women, the Punjab government had empowered women in every walk of life.

“General elections are now at hand and women can play a vital role, being a half of the total population, in electing a sincere, honest and dedicated political leadership, “ the CM held.