KARACHI - Thin attendance during the Sindh Assembly’s Thursday session, when the 101st International Women’s Day was to be commemorated, showed how very much “our male MPAs” care for the rights of women and their emancipation.

Nevertheless, the House unanimously adopted a resolution appreciating the government-introduced pro-women legislation and programmes introduced and designed to empower women in the country.

The assembly reiterated its commitment to full rights and privileges to women (of Pakistan) as ordained by the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and as enshrined in the Constitution of the country. “The assembly hails the inimitable women of Pakistan who have proven their mettle time and again, and have brought international glory to their country,” the resolution reads.

The Sindh Assembly, through its resolution - moved jointly by women lawmakers - strongly condemned the anti-women mindset that gave rise to a misogynistic attitude, words and actions.

The House, which met with Chairman Dr Sikandar Mahendaro in the chair, after disposing of the question-hour and legislation, took up the resolution as a mark of respect for International Women’s Day. A thin attendance was witnessed in the assembly. Before speaking in favour of the resolution, Sindh Information Minister Shazia Marri condemned the statement of former Sindh chief minister Dr Arbab Ghulam, who had said, “Opposition women MPAs means PPP lady legislators, who went to beauty parlours before attending a session and there was something wrong with them.”

Marri also condemned former president Pervez Musharraf who, according to her, had “told a foreign newspaper that Pakistani women get raped for money and a visa for Canada”. She said recently, such a mindset was also demonstrated by a PML-N legislator, who stated that “women MPAs put on make-up on government expenditure”. Heer Soho of the MQM said last year, 225 women were killed in different incidents, 266 women were murdered for honour, 165 were kidnapped, six suffered acid attacks, while one woman was burnt.

PML-F’s Nusrat Sehar Abbasi said there could be difference of opinion among women lawmakers over certain issues, but the same should not be exaggerated.

PPP’s Humera Alwani called for implementing ban on jirgas, in which women were used as a tool to settle old feuds. PPP’s Farheen Mughal complained that male MPAs were not serious in issues confronting women.

PML-F’s Marvi Rashdi said jirgas auctioned off women like commodities. She underlined the need for implementation of pro-women laws.

Saleem Khurshid Khokhar, Minority MPA from the PPP, in his speech, complained that not a single party in the House had given ticket to non-Muslim women.

Sindh Minister for Food Mir Nadir Magsi said that everyone should respect women.

Provincial Minister Muhammad Rafiq Engineer said they were happy to see that women legislators were bringing more business to the House.

Law Minister Ayaz Soomro said they had great respect for women, as their martyred leader also happened to be a woman (Benazir Bhutto). After speeches, the resolution was passed unanimously.

Meanwhile, the duel set in between Sindh Information Minister Shazia Marri and PML-F’s Syeda Marvi Rashdi on Tuesday continued outside the assembly on Thursday. The two MPAs spoke scathingly of each other while talking to the media. Shazia Marri said Marvi Rashdi by targeting her make-up demonstrated her “anti-women character”. Rashdi also criticised Marri.

Earlier, the Sindh Assembly passed a bill on the Indus University Karachi unanimously.

During their speeches in support of the bill, lawmakers said that although the assembly was allowing establishment of universities in the private sector, students from poor families had no access to education in public varsities because of higher tuition fees.

MQM’s Syed Sardar Ahmed suggested that the government should constitute a commission to monitor work of private entities in the fields of education and health.