LAHORE – Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has announced a comprehensive and far-reaching package of reforms to bring women into the mainstream. The purpose of the package is to safeguard the social, economic and legal rights of the women. Another aim is that women get their legal share in the inherited property without any hindrance.

The CM made this announcement while addressing a function held at Alhamra Cultural Complex (Qaddafi Stadium) on Thursday in connection with the International Women’s Day. Announcing the package, the CM said: It has been decided to withdraw the condition of submitting the application for the transfer and division of joint land in rural areas among the legal heirs. The purpose of this decision is to put an end to the unsavory practice of usurping the legal rights of women in the division of land.”

He said that now the revenue officers will be duty bound to initiate the process of transfer of land at the death of its owner without waiting for the application and also complete the process of division of land so that all legal heirs including women are granted their due legal share. Similarly, in order to check forgery for depriving women of their share in inherited property, production of ‘B’ form of all legal heirs is being made compulsory. He said that provincial government has also decided to constitute special committees to curb irregularities in the division of land so as to safeguard the rights of the heirs. On the recommendations of the committee, not only legal action will be taken but cases will also be registered against the officers and officials involved in irregularities in the division of inheritance.

The committee will meet at least once a month. The CM further said that under the new law, immediately after receiving application for division of property in urban areas, the court will issue a notice to the respondent who will be bound to settle the issue with the petitioner within 60 days. For the purpose of simplifying the process of division of inherited property in rural and urban areas and eliminating irregularities, he announced to withdraw stamp duty on the division of property.

The CM also announced to give three- and five-marla plots to the shelterless and landless in the Jinnah Abadi Schemes for their socio-economic uplift. “The proprietary rights of these plots will be awarded jointly to couples. Now, all such lands, given by the government, will be the joint property of a man and his wife and they will have an equal share.”

He further announced that 33 per cent quota for women will be compulsory in all government institutions, committees and taskforces while 33 per cent quota will also be reserved for women members in Punjab Public Service Commission. He said that daycare centers will be established on emergent basis in all educational and government institutions so that married women could leave their young children safely in these centers and perform their duties with a peace of mind.

He said that a special fund of two billion rupees is being set up through Punjab Bank for the economic self-reliance of women. He said that loans will be offered to women on soft terms for business from this fund. He said that 15 per cent quota will also be reserved for women in government jobs and legislation for this purpose will be undertaken within a month. He announced appointment of a senior officer of Punjab government, Iram Qureshi as Secretary Women Development. The CM further announced appointment of Women Ombudsman so that working women should not face any harassment or exploitation.

He announced setting up of a committee for the effective implementation of these measures and said that women constitute more than 50 per cent of country’s population and are playing an important role in all sectors of life.

The Chief Minister further said that girl students have proved their mettle in the academic field and success rate of girl students in medical sector is 70 per cent whereas among the recipients of laptops, 60 per cent are girl students. He said that there is a lot of talent in women who can help in national progress and prosperity. He said that lady doctors and nurses rendered invaluable services during recent floods and dengue attack and saved thousands of lives.The function was also addressed by Shah Bano Taseer, Samar Minallah, the first woman Maj. Gen. of the country Shahida Malik, the top position holder in metric examination in all educational boards of Punjab Amina Sattar, the youngest recipient of laptop Navera and former Chief Justice Saeed uz Zaman Siddique. Prominent poetess and columnist Kishwar Naheed presented poems while Tina Sani presented songs. Girl students, social workers from civil society and working women were present in large numbers in the function.