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Nawaz Sharif, Imran Khan congratulate Pakistani Hindus on Diwali

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Karachi: Pakistan’s PM Nawaz Sharif became the first head of the government to attend a Diwali function, organised by Hindus in Karachi on Wednesday.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan speaking on Thursday at a public gathering organised by the party to celebrate Diwali in Umerkot, pledged to protect Pakistani Hindus in the country and said they will not be left alone like Muslims marginalised by Shiv Sena in India.

“Under a PTI government, a new Pakistan will emerge where police will not be used to harass anyone, justice will prevail and equal rights of provinces will be ensured,” Imran reportedly said.

Similar words were echoed by Nawaz Sharif, who called for all Muslims to accept Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis and other minorities living in the country as equals and pointed out that they had all participated in the building of Pakistan.

The prime minister also called on the Hindu community to invite him more to their festivals and urged all to take part and attend such occasions as it propagates unity. 

An editorial “Embracing diversity” in the News International suggested that the speech “goes far beyond a simple address on a holy occasion”.

“For one it acts to mainstream minority groups in the country and draw them into the social fabric of a divided nation.”

The editorial from News International went on to say that the next logical step from this point would be to ensure that those who commit crimes against minority groups are penalised under the law for their offences. “The fact that they have in the past too often escaped scot-free can only encourage such atrocities. In the name of religion, villages have been burnt, people beaten to death and women abducted.”

While welcoming his message, the daily observed that in Pakistan, “to succeed, PM Nawaz will need to go beyond attending functions or sharing in ceremonies”.

(IANS)

 

 

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Women of Pakistan Protest Against Workplace Harassment, Child Marriage

Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif lauded "the incredible work our women are doing to strengthen their families, communities and the country"

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Following this, a National Security Committee was also held to discuss Sharif's
Pakistan Flag, wikimedia commons

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, women took to the streets across Pakistan on Friday to protest against sexual harassment in the workplace, child marriage ‘honour killings, wage inequalities and limited political representation.

Organisers hope that the “aurat march” (women’s march) and “aurat azadi march” (women’s liberation march) will draw attention to the struggle for reproductive, economic, and social justice across in Pakistan, reports the Guardian.

The first “Aurat March” was held last year in Karachi; this time, the rally has been extended to more cities, including Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Larkana and Hyderabad.

The aim is to reach ordinary women in factories, homes and offices, says Nighat Dad, an “aurat march” organiser in Lahore.

“We want an organic movement by women demanding equal access to justice and ending discrimination of all kinds.”

Speakers at the Lahore march ranged from a woman fighting to reform marriage laws to the women who worked on the landmark Punjab Domestic Workers’ Act — a legislation that outlaws child labour in homes and provides maternity benefits to workers.

Another activist, Leena Ghani, noted that Pakistani women have a history of taking to the streets, famously during military dictator Zia ul-Haq’s martial law in the 1980s.

Krishna Kumari works in her office in Hyderabad, Pakistan, Feb. 12, 2018. VOA

While Pakistan has made major strides towards gender equality, poorer, marginalised women and transgender citizens continue to struggle, Ghani added.

Designer Shehzil Malik created a series of striking posters for the “aurat march” that counter typical representations of Pakistani women as docile and subservient.

Women are also protesting against discriminatory policies in universities, where male and female students are afforded different levels of freedom, the Guardian said.

A Pakistani university recently caused a furore on social media by banning women from wearing skinny jeans and sleeveless shirts.

Also Read- Originality is a Dichotomous Terminology, Says Megastar Amitabh Bachchan

In his message on Friday, Prime Minister Imran Khan reaffirmed his government’s commitment to providing women a safe environment so that they could contribute to the country’s development, Dawn news reported.

“We reaffirm our commitment to ensuring women a secure and enabling environment to play their rightful role in our nation’s development.”

Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif lauded “the incredible work our women are doing to strengthen their families, communities and the country”. (IANS)