LAHORE - To highlight the importance of strategic alliances amongst civil society organizations for systematic and holistic promotion of women rights agenda, Aurat Foundation organized a panel discussion at a local hotel on Sunday also featuring a singing performance by Sufi music singers. 

Held under its USAID funded Gender Equity Program (GEP), the event, was part of the activities organized by Aurat Foundation to commemorate National Women’s Day in Lahore.

Currently, there are 154 partner civil society organisations and government institutions connected through PGC.

Besides the panel discussion, the day-long activities by Aurat Foundation under the banner of 'Aurat YakjehtiMela' featured launch of Women Legislative Agenda by AF's Awaaz Project and sufi musical evening promoting love, compassion and kindness where Indian folk and sufi music singer Hans Raaj Hans galvanised the spiritual strings of audience with classical kalaam of renowned saints in the region.

National Women Day is commemorated across the country on February 12 to mark the struggle initiated by women's right activists against the anti-women policies and legislation by military dictator General Zia ul Haq.

On that historic day, women activists that gathered at Lahore Mall on February 12, 1983, to protest anti-women legislation were stopped from proceeding to the Lahore High Court and were baton-charged and tear gassed.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Azra from Bahauddin University (BZU) reflected over the increasing trend of domestic violence in South Punjab and the urgency for the sensitization and legislative measures to curtail it.

Dr Ra’ana Malik from Punjab University (PU) shared findings of their research on customary practices, prevalent in the society that seriously violates women’s human rights.

Mukhtar Mai (Mukhtar Mai Women Organization), Kishwer Sultana (Insaan Foundation Trust), Mohammad Waseem (Interactive Resource Centre) and Shaista Khalid (Community Support Concern) shared their experiences of psycho-social and economic rehabilitation of the survivors of gender based violence.

Psycho-social rehabilitation, theatre for sensitization and advocacy efforts under Gender Equity Program of Aurat Foundation for promotion of social justice and peace are also the main emphasis points of their activities.