Islamabad - President Mamnoon Hussain on Sunday reaffirmed the government’s firm commitment for women rights and facilitating them in every possible manner to lead a productive, healthy and prosperous life.

“This year’s International Women’s Day is an occasion for stock taking on the progress made so far and to reflect upon the challenges that still impede the availability of an enabling environment for women,” he said while addressing a function held here in connection with the International Women’s Day.

The president said that women all over the world have made great efforts and sacrifices for the attainment of their rights at all levels.

He stated that Pakistani women were blessed with enormous capabilities and had made outstanding contributions at national and international levels. “Today, we pay tribute to all those courageous women, who exhibited their extraordinary talent in various fields,” he added.

The president underlined that the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan guarantees fundamental rights to both men and women, adding that it provides ample guarantees to women against all kinds of discrimination, exploitation and marginalization and ensures their equal rights and opportunities to grow and lead a healthy and prosperous life. He reiterated that any kind of discrimination against women was a fundamental violation of human rights.

The president stressed that the theme of this year’s day, “Make it Happen”, calls upon the international community to reaffirm its commitments to protect and promote women’s rights. He stated that the government was determined to implement its vision of a greater and stronger Pakistan, through women empowerment in letter and spirit.

“The government is committed to mainstream women’s issues and has taken a number of initiatives for social, political and economic empowerment of women,” the president said, adding Pakistan was earnestly implementing convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women.

The president highlighted that the government was effectively addressing the subject of economic empowerment of women through prime minister’s youth programme, with 50 percent quota for women, and Benazir Income Support Programme. The 10 percent quota reserved for women in the federal government employment as well as in the provinces was another hallmark of women empowerment initiatives, he added.

The president proposed that primary education sector should be entrusted to women. He also called for focusing on the meaningful training of girls along with education. The president said that women were facing problems not only in Pakistan but also in the developed countries and “we should continue making concerted efforts to address them”.

He said that meaningful training and education of women would enable them to protect their rights. The president stressed that Pakistani women should maintain their Islamic and Pakistani identity while pursuing their careers.

He called for making intensive efforts to curb corruption and called upon the nation to discourage corrupt elements. The president called for focusing on girls’ education to enable them to face the challenges of life with the strength of their minds, and intellect.

The president called for working for the promotion of gender equality in Pakistan, adding that women are the most effective agents of change. “Let us work together and make greater efforts for a society based on equality of opportunities, justice, tolerance and prosperity for all particularly for women,” he concluded.

Secretary Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights, Justice (Retd) Raza Khan, Head of Development Aid, High Commission of Canada, David Fournier and Farah Naz, a representative of Plan International also addressed the function and highlighted the issues and challenges regarding the women rights and gender equality.