Islamabad: Pakistan army chief General Raheel Sharif is expected to hold meetings with the political and military leadership of the US on wide-ranging security issues during his five-day official visit to the US.
The visit from November 15 to November 20 comes weeks after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited Washington. Director General Inter-Services Public Relations Asim Bajwa tweeted:
#COAS will visit USA from 15-20 Nov.Will hold mtngs with mil and political leadership on wide ranging security issues
Nawaz Sharif, during his visit, held dialogues on a number of issues of bilateral interests with US President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and other US cabinet members.
During his first visit to the US in November last year, Gen Sharif highlighted the military operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan, saying it was targeting all militant hideouts without any discrimination and was aimed at defeating militancy squarely.
The army chief met with US National Security Advisor Susan Rice at the White House and also held meetings with members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senate Armed Services Committee and the Select Committee on Intelligence.
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.
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.
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)