KARACHI - The women are true leaders who are fighting to create a better Pakistan for their mothers, daughters and sisters. And through this struggle, they are ultimately creating a better society for all.

Acting US Consul General Kevin Murakami, who is also a Public Affairs Officer with the CG in Karachi, said this in his opening remarks of a seminar on International Women’s Day. He hosted a dialogue on the day titled ‘Women: Freedom and Equality.’

The seminar was presided over by Bilqees Edhi, while Mahtab Akbar Rashdi, Sheema Kermani and Sadiqa Salahuddin also spoke on the occasion. Renowned poetess Azra Abbas recited her poem as Sheema Kermani performed there.

Kevin Murakami said, “It is an honour to address you all,” adding that Consul General William Martin wanted to be here as he is a staunch supporter of women’s rights in Pakistan. Congratulating the Pakistani women, he said that Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy’s Oscar for Saving Face, is great achievement of everyone. Her success signifies an extraordinary triumph for Pakistani women who, far too often, bear the brunt of violence, poverty and disease, he said.

The acting Consul General said, “Today we honour the achievements of Pakistani women, while remembering that there is still so much work to be done.” He said young women must be equipped with the knowledge, skills and opportunities to pursue their dreams. Indeed, investing in young women means economic progress, political stability, and greater prosperity for everyone tomorrow, he added.

He maintained that most importantly, women from all ethnicities, religions and socio-economic groups must live a life free from gender-based violence. He said, “We should never forget that human rights are fundamentally women’s rights.”

Kevin Murakami informed the audience that Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama will announce the Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Awards in Washington DC, honouring 10 remarkable women from around the world. This is an annual award, and last year, Pakistan’s Ghulam Sughra won this prestigious and deserved recognition. He said, “I am pleased to announce that Hillary Clinton will announce the name of another Pakistani woman who has won the award this year.”

The event will be an important step in the ongoing struggle to ensure equality and freedom for all women and girls, he concluded.