The Women on Wheels (WoW) campaign was launched here on Monday after Lahore to encourage female bikers as part of the government’s move to empower women.

It is aimed at minimising women’s dependency on other persons for transportation. The launching ceremony was held at the University of Agriculture Faisalabad. Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanuallah as the chief guest, Special Monitoring Unit (SMU) Law and Order Senior Member Salman Sufi, UAF Vice Chancellor Iqrar Ahmad, acting DCO Ijaz Khaliq Razaqi, MPs Madiha Rana, Dr Najma Afzal, Fatima Fariha, Haji Ilyas Ansari, Jafar Ali, Chief Traffic Officer Arif Shahbaz Khan Wazir and Atlas Honda Manger Tasneem Shuja spoke on the occasion.

Sanaullah urged women to play their active role in socioeconomic development of the country. He said that the government was taking revolutionary steps to empower the women. Various steps including Women on Wheels drive and the Women Protection Bill have been taken for the purpose. He said that the country’s population comprises more than 50 percent of women; it is the need of hour to engage them in economic activities and to fight gender discrimination. He said that some segments of the society are making nefarious plan to link the initiative as propaganda of western lifestyle. He said that initiatives were being made to provide facilities. He also urged women to become practicing Muslim and promote the eastern tradition. He added in the agricultural sector, women are standing shoulder to shoulder men. The same spirit is needed in the other fields, he stressed. He said that the government was making serious efforts to promote the Islamic values in the country.

He said that the Women Protection Bill was being criticized but we can’t even think against the Islam and Shariah.

Salman Sufi said that the participation of women in the development process was essential to achieve the goal of national progress and prosperity. He said that the circle of Women on Wheels will be expanded to 36 districts of the province.

The vice chancellor said that in 1970, women at the campus were used to ride bikes but thenceforth the process remained stalled for decades. He said that UAF was running a programme to promote cycling among women.

He said the government had distributed 100 cycles to the female students. He praised the initiatives of Punjab government for the women empowerment. He said that such initiates would pave the way to make development and prosperity and to compete with the rest of the world.

He said a hostel for 1,000 female students was being established by Punjab government and another such hostel will be constructed by the federal government. He said that idea of women cycling was initiated at the UAF.

The acting DCO said that the beginning of Women on Wheels programme in Faisalabad was a commendable step. He urged the women to benefit from the programme and become an active member of the society in term of socio-economic activities. He said the government will extend full cooperation to flourish the programme and make it a success story in the second largest city of the province. The women bikers also took out a rally at the campus.