Pakistan is hosting women lawmakers from 12 countries at a conference on the role of women in strengthening democracy. Women lawmakers from Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, Australia, Romania, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Jordan, Maldives, Indonesia and Nepal are attending the event. 

Addressing the three-day International Conference on 'The Role of Women Parliamentarians in Strengthening Democracy and Social Justice,'  Maryam Nawaz Sharif said that women have equal opportunities in Pakistan in the democratic set-up.

Speaking at the event, Maryam Nawaz lauded the Women's Parliamentary Caucus in Pakistan for taking the initiative to host the event, emphasising that it was high time women are empowered for the betterment and development of societies. The women’s caucus, set up in 2008, is a multi-party forum dedicated to discussing issues facing women in Pakistan.

Quoting examples of different valiant women, Maryam Nawaz said that Hazrat Khadija (RA) and Fatima Jinnah are role models for women. Maryam Nawaz claimed women in Pakistan's democratic set-up have equal opportunities, and that they had made stellar contributions to different fields, like education.

She further stated that Malala Yousafzai fought against discrimination and became youngest girl to receive Nobel Prize while life of first martyred woman pilot Marium Mukhtar can also be taken as guidance. Laws which aim to protect the rights of women in Pakistan have been passed in recent years which address violence against women, workplace harassment, the criminalisation of acid-related violence and electronic crimes.

Maryam Nawaz posted on Twitter regarding her experience of interacting with the women lawmakers:

Muttahida Qaumi Movement lawmaker Dr Fouzia Hameed stated that the women’s caucus has been working across party lines to pass various pieces of legislation which ensure the protection of women’s rights.

Talking on the occasion, Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, urged parliamentarians to become torch-bearer of change and harbinger of common world with equal opportunities. He appreciated the role being played by women legislators in the Pakistani parliament.

He further said that the Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms has given recommended regarding reservation of a mandatory five percent quota of awarding party tickets to women candidates on general seats. The speaker pointed out that five to ten percent mandatory women voters’ turn-out for the validity of any constituency election has also been proposed to ensure women participation.