LAHORE - Like elsewhere in the world, the International Women’s Day was observed across the country.

International Women’s Day, 8th March, is a global day of celebration where women from all countries and of different political, economic, social, linguistic and ethnic backgrounds join together to reflect on the struggle for equality to celebrate the achievements and challenges for the future.

A number of functions including thought-provoking dialogue sessions and other activities were held in the city to pay tribute to women’s struggle for their rights.

The Punjab University’s Institute of Islamic Studies organised peace walk in connection with World Women’s Day on Wednesday. Dean Faculty of Islamic Studies Prof Dr Tahira Basharat led the walk while senior faculty members and a large number of female students participated in the rally.

The participants of the rally, which was taken out from Sheikh Zayed Islamic Centre and concluded outside Vice Chancellor’s office, were holding placards and banners inscribed with peace slogans and women rights issues. Addressing the rally, PU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Zafar Mueen Nasir said that women were playing important role in the development of the country.

The Punjab Institute of Language Art and Culture (PILAC) in collaboration with Punjab Information and Culture Department organised a seminar on the eve of Women’s Day. The event was attended by a large of showbiz, political and social personalities.

Different speakers, addressing the seminar, stressed respecting right of women to live peacefully. They said that Pakistani women were not only brave but also knew about their basic rights.

The University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) Lahore organised a walk led by Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Talat Naseer Pasha to create awareness about women’s rights while Dean Faculty of Life Sciences Business Management Prof Dr Nasim Ahmad, Prof Dr Aneela Zameer Durrani, Dr Farzana Chouhdary and a large number of administrative staff, faculty members were present.

The VC also chaired an oath-taking ceremony of the Center for Emergency and Medical Services (CEMS) and administered oath to the office-bearers.

Speaking on the occasion, Prof Pasha lauded the efforts and management of CEMS, which is working actively for the noble cause of humanity. He also thanked the Recue 1122 and Red Crescent support for organizing various emergency protection and prevention awareness seminar at UVAS.

Also, the 3rd NUR-FMS Annual Research Day by NUR Center for Research & Policy in collaboration with FMH College of Medicine and Dentistry was held which coincided with the International Women’s Day.

The event also included a session on historical women in research.

Moroever, in the connection with Women’s Day, renowned actress Humaima Malik spoke at Women Empowerment Society at FC College, where she shared her experience and motivate girls and boys alike. She is the brand ambassador of Seed Out, an organisation aimed at helping the underprivileged.

Humaima is also associated with the Punjab government in endorsing the Women Protection Bill that aims at giving protection to women.

Defending women human rights defenders

The participants at a Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) conference Wednesday urged the government to recognise the role of women human rights defenders and provide them with a secure and equal environment to carry out their work.

On the eve of International Women’s Day, the HRCP held a conference titled “Opening up spaces for women human rights defenders” in Islamabad.

Kishwar Naheed, Marvi Sirmed, Fauzia Saeed, Mangla Sharma, Tahira Abdullah, Farieha Aziz, SheemaKermani, IA Rehman, and Harris Khalique spoke at the event.

A resolution was also adopted by the participants which recognises that human rights defenders include anyone working for the promotion and protection of human rights such as professional as well as non-professional human rights workers, volunteers, journalists, lawyers, academics, cultural activists and anyone else carrying out, even on an occasional basis, human rights work.

The HRCP has urged government to acknowledge the legitimate role of human rights defenders (HRDs), including women activists in the promotion and protection of human rights, democracy, the rule of law and development, including by publicly condemning violence and discrimination against them.

The Commission also highlights the need for government to strengthen and implement legal, policy and other measures to promote gender equality and to promote women’s autonomy and equal participation in all spheres.

“The government needs to change Pakistan’s hostile attitude towards HRDs on international human rights forums,” the speakers at HRCP conference said.

They urged the government to take meaningful measures to change social and cultural patterns that are based on the stereotyped roles for men and women, thereby addressing harmful attitudes, customs, practices and gender stereotypes that underlie and perpetuate violence against HRDs.