PM appoints first woman ombudsperson, declares Dec 22 as national day of working women

Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Wednesday announced the appointment of Ms. Mussarrat Hilali, a woman from Malakand, as the first woman ombudsperson to provide a legal forum for redressal of the grievances of working women.The Prime Minister also declared December 22 as the national day for Pakistani Working Women and reiterated the government’s commitment to firmly implement the law on protection of women against sexual harassment with zero tolerance.He was addressing the “Aasha” Working Women Assembly here at the PM Secretariat. Besides a large number of working women, the event was also attended by Speaker of the National Assembly Dr. Fehmida Mirza, Minister for Women Development Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan, Special Assistant to PM Begum Shehnaz Wazir Ali and others.
The Prime Minister said that the present government attached utmost importance and priority to the cause of women, especially the working women.
“It is in this spirit that the government has vigorously followed the PPP agenda of bringing the women to the mainstream by appointing them to the key decision-making positions in an unprecedented way”, he added.
The Prime Minister said that the enactment of important legislation like the women protection bill also proved the government’s commitment towards the cause of women issues.
“I would also like to reiterate my government’s commitment to firmly implement the law on protection against sexual harassment with zero tolerance”, he added.
The Prime Minister said, “I am therefore pleased to appoint Ms. Mussarrat Hilali as the first woman ombudsperson in order to provide a legal forum where the working women take their grievances for just resolution”.
Declaring December 22 as the national day of working women, he hoped that these actions “will pave the way for making Pakistan a gender-balanced, gender-friendly and gender-supportive democratic polity, where all women have equal rights and opportunities as enshrined in the Constitution for their development”.Prime Minister Gilani described women as an important and effective human resource and said without their participation the dream of country’s socio-economic development could not be fully realized.
He said the uninterrupted continuity of a strong and effective democracy was the only way to ensure the provision of human rights, as these two factors were essential for each other.
The Prime Minister said recognizing the spirit of boldness of country’s women, the present government for the first time decided to celebrate February 12 this year as the “National Day of Pakistani Women” at official level, so that the coming generations remember this day.
He said the measures and actions taken by the present government for the rights of women were reflective of the PPP’s commitment towards women rights, as the party has been and is still championing the cause of women.
The Prime Minister said the PPP was twice led by women leaders first by Begum Nusrat Bhutto and then by Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, adding, the women rights activists of PPP are well-known and recognized in the world.
He said the PPP made the women rights part of party’s manifesto and took actions every time it was elected to power.
The Prime Minister said, it was a historic fact that the decisions taken by PPP in every era proved very important for women. He in this respect mentioned the allocation of reserved seats for women in legislative assemblies during the government of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1973 and electing a woman Senator as well as a parliamentary secretary in 1974.
Gilani said the present government while keeping up with its tradition included for the first time over 8 women in the cabinet; appointed 6 women parliamentary secretaries and elected 7 and 5 women members of National Assembly and Senate, respectively, as Chairpersons of Standing Committees.
It was this party, which gave the first Muslim woman Prime Minister (Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto) in 1988 and made Dr. Fehmida Mirza, the first Muslim Speaker National Assembly in 2008, he said and added “Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was a successful working woman and Dr. Fehmida Mirza is also a successful working woman”.
The Prime Minister mentioned numerous examples where the women have been given important positions in the fields of education, civil bureaucracy, PIA and others, adding, however effective legislation in this respect was very important to keep the trend intact.
He appreciated the whole parliament particularly the women parliamentarians for their efforts, which made possible the enactment of women related bills including the Protection Against Sexual Harassment At Workplace.
The Prime Minister also lauded various public and private organizations and bodies like Women’s Parliamentary Caucus and “Aasha” for their efforts and input in the legislative measures.
He informed the participants that the code of conduct for implementation on the sexual harassment has been implemented in 38 out of 44 ministries and divisions, where the code has been prepared.
The Prime Minister said with the legislative measures in place, the women of Pakistan are now working in various public and private institutions with a great sense of protection and contributing in the country’s development. Associated Press of Pakistan