LAHORE - Punjab government’s pronouncement for bringing necessary amendments in laws related to women and making these laws up-to-date in accordance with the present day requirements, is a manifestation of strong commitment of Chief Minister, Punjab, Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif for empowering women folk. As a matter of fact, throughout his stint as Chief Minister Punjab, he has always been busy in trying to remove injustice from the society and especially the discriminatory treatment being meted out to women.

Only two years ago the Chief Minister introduced a comprehensive package of measures - “Punjab Women Empowerment Package 2012” that corroborated the government’s firm commitment to addressing the social and economic rights of women who make up half of the population of Punjab. Much headway has been made in achieving the objectives set forth by him for empowering the women during this period and new vistas of opportunities were being opened for them.

Again a few days ago, while addressing the Punjab Assembly session on 8th March, which is celebrated as International Women’s day, the Chief Minister broke the good news that the Punjab government was introducing vital improvements in legislations pertaining to Child Marriage Act, Dower Act, Guardian and Ward Act, Marriage Registration Form and Inheritance Laws. A comprehensive policy was also being formulated for domestic servants. Birth registration fee was being done away with for encouraging registration of births of girl child. Women will be given mandatory representation in trade unions. Only female contractors will run canteens in girls’ schools and colleges. Provincial commission has already been set up in Punjab and its chairperson was also being nominated. The government has also decided to arrange veterinary training for women and technical training for the wives of industrial workers. Topics regarding equality between male and female are also to be included in the curriculum.

   Protecting the rights of women, redressing their social and legal grievances and expanding opportunities available to them has been at the heart of the Government of the Punjab’s commitment to the people, under the leadership of Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif.

   The announcements made by the Chief Minister have two aspects: first, it will provide ways and means to effectively safeguard women’s rights and second, it is expected to have far reaching effects on their socio-economic status by expanding opportunities available to them.

   A workable, publicly accountable system shall be put in place that ensures that these measures are implemented not just in letter but in their true spirit.

   Amendment in Inheritance Laws: It has been observed that rights of the female heirs are not properly safeguarded due to existing lacunas in the laws and rules governing land administration. Hence, after Inheritance Mutation, partition of the property is being made mandatory through amendment in the law for protecting rights of women.