LAHORE - The city marked International Women’s Day on Thursday with the resolve to continue struggle for women’s rights.

A rally titled ‘Aurat March’ was taken out from Hamdard Hall to pay tribute to rights champion lawyer Asma Jahangir, followed by a seminar.

Salima Hashmi, Huma Safdar, Sara Sohail, Nusrat Basheer, Abida Chahdry, Khola Wallayat, Maheen Taseer, Rema Taseer, Leena Ghani and other noted people attended the event.

Two women rickshaw drivers Sania Noor and Fehmeda shared their struggle with the audience.

The Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) in collaboration with the projects Peaceful Pakistan and Herself organised a moot in which.

Mrs Dr Umar Saif stressed the need for equipping the women with skills to earning livelihood. Gharpar CEO Shameelah Ismail said she trained 400 women beauticians who earn Rs45,000  per month. Azra Ali and Nabeela Ashraf also shared their experiences.

Post Graduate Medical College and Ameer Uddin Medical College held an awareness walk and symposium to mark the day.A large number of women paramedics attended the events.

Principal of PGMI Prof Dr Ghiasun Nabi Tayyab said that some years back women were working only in the health and education fields but today female participation being observed in all the segment of the life including army and judiciary. He laid stress on following Islamic teachings.

In the symposium held in the Lahore General Hospital speakers said that this year International Women Day was having theme ‘Press for Progress’  Samina Khalid Ghurki led the PPP rally to mark the day.

A social worker Saeeda Deep condemned violence against women.  Dean of Lahore Cathedral Church of the Resurrection Rev Shahid Miraj in his message said women must keep fighting for the rights.  “I salute all the courageous women who have step forward and contribute to national development,” he said.

Punjab govt introduces First Women Development Policy

Women of Punjab have the confidence and courage to compete with any woman in the world, provincial ministers Dr Ayesha Ghaus Pasha, Begum Zakia Shahnawaz and Begum Hameeda Waheed-ud-Din said at the inaugural ceremony of the first Women Development Policy at Aiwan-e-Iqbal under the aegis of the Women’s Development Department.

They said there was a need to sensitize women about their rights so that they could confidently counter any unjust move in the society. On the occasion, women ministers, members of national and provincial assemblies and representatives of health and education departments, police and non-government organisations were also present.

Dr Pasha said the Punjab government was the best performer in terms of women’s empowerment and it ensured equitable access to health, education and other sectors here. Till now, she said, as much as 1, 30,028 deserving women had been given educational stipends worth Rs6.5 billion. She said 450,000 girl students were being given monthly stipend for education in different less-developed areas under Zewar-e-Taleem Programme.

Similarly, 90 new colleges for girls have been established by the government since 2012 and free transport facility has been provided to students in most of girls colleges, she said. The Punjab government has provided 326 ambulances to cater to needs of expecting women across the province, she said. As many as 836,200 deserving women have been given interest-free loans under Chief Minister’s Self-Employment Scheme, she said.

“It is important to note that more than 65 amendments have been introduced to different laws and regulations to provide prompt legal protection to women in the society. The government is also working to establish separate information desks for women at police stations in all 36 districts. In addition, violence against women centres are being established to give a strong legal support to women in need,” she said.

“The government has worked really hard to provide a strong legal mechanism for safeguarding the rights of the womenfolk in the society, but the most important thing is that all girls must go to schools and other institutions of higher education,” she added.

Begum Zakia Shahnawaz paid tribute to all women who played their role in different sectors of life. She paid rich tributes to democratic character of Fatima Jinnah and said she raised her voice for protection of democracy in the country.