UoK SMBBC holds seminar on women’s empowerment

The Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Chair (SMBBC) established at the University of Karachi (UoK) arranged a seminar on International Women’s Day 2023 entitled “Women’s Empowerment: Vision of Shaheed Mohtarma Benzair Bhutto”, at the Karachi University Business School Auditorium on Wednesday.

The former chief minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah was the chief guest on this occasion while the former provincial minister Senator Sassui Palijo and the advisor to the CM Sindh Sharmila Faruqui were the guest speakers.

The ex-CM Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah observed that women are equal to men, and they should be aware of their rights. He urged that women must make full use of the legislation regarding women’s rights.

He said that nowadays women can be seen in almost every field including education and health sectors and the trend that shows that women are now more interested in getting a higher education is a very good sign.

He further said that despite the current economic situation of Pakistan, people are forced to get expensive electricity, and the past and present federal governments are not utilizing coal discover in Thar, which could be used to produce a cheap power supply.

“If a proper investment is made, enough electricity can be generated from coal and oil present in Sindh, and after fulfilling the needs, the government can export them to other countries.”

Syed Qaim Ali Shah mentioned that Benazir Bhutto faced countless problems and difficulties but did not leave behind her belief in democracy. He advised that young scholars should do research on the personality of the first prime minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto and expressed that he hopes that KU SMBBC will promote research on the personality and political life of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto.

Meanwhile, Sindh Minister of Labor and Manpower Saeed Ghani said that Benazir Bhutto was not only the pride of Pakistan but also the pride of the Muslim world. She was the first woman prime minister of the Muslim world.

He shared that Benazir Bhutto faced hardships while she was struggling for the restoration of democracy in the country and fatwas were also issued against her but she did not step back and kept fighting for the restoration of democracy for 25 long years.

Saeed Ghani said that Benazir Bhutto was the vocal voice in a male-dominated society, and added that she launched different programs for Pakistani females. “BB also started a lady health workers program to create health awareness among women. To empower women on women’s issues, First Women Bank was created which is a quality institution that is playing important role in financial support and empowerment of women.”

On this occasion, the KU Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Khalid Mahmood Iraqi said that women should not be confined to homes but should play their role in the development of society. He advised that to empower women, they should be given access to technology along with education. “A man’s education is only an individual’s education, but educating a woman is actually equal to educating the whole family.”

Dr Khalid Iraqi said that an educated and knowledgeable woman can raise her children well and can play an important role in the development of the country. He acknowledged that women are now playing a significant role in various fields along with fulfilling their traditional responsibilities.

He mentioned that the development of any country depends on its manpower and when it comes to manpower, it should be taken into account that almost half of the country’s population consists of women. Benazir Bhutto is a role model for Pakistani women. Her entire life is a role model not only for the people of Pakistan but also for the whole world. There are many leaders who become a part of history while there are some leaders who make history and Benazir Bhutto is counted among those personalities who made history.

The KU VC mentioned that the University of Karachi also has a Church and a Mandir as it respects all religions and provides space for minorities to freely worship and practice their religion.

Another speaker, Senator Sassui Palijo said that Benazir Bhutto was a great visionary leader and an inspiring torchbearer for women not only in Pakistan but also around the world. She mentioned that Benazir Bhutto continued to fight for women’s rights until her last breath. Senator Sassui Palijo shared that Benazir Bhutto took practical steps along with legislation for women’s rights, and set examples for others to follow.

Sharmila Faruqui said that Benazir Bhutto fought against every negative-thinking person who wanted to push women back. She lauded the work done by our mothers, sisters, and daughters for the construction and development of Pakistan since the Pakistan Movement.

She believes that if men and women do not walk together in society, then it cannot be developed and there will be anxiety and unrest in society. We have to stand firm and raise our voices for our rights. Benazir Bhutto thought that we should take women forward. We have to carry forward her thoughts.

Earlier, the Director UoK SMBBC Muhammad Ibrahim Shaikh while presenting the welcome speech share details about the activities of the Chair named after Benazir Bhutto.

Related: Panel discussion at UoK demands end to gender discrimination

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By Arshad Yousafzai

Arshad Yousafzai is a Karachi-based journalist covering Education and Human Rights. He can be reached on Twitter @Arshadyousafzay

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