ISLAMABAD: (March 8, 2019): Oxfam in Pakistan and Islamabad Capital Territory Police (ICT) united to celebrate International Women’s Day in order to highlight the contributions and achievements of women in all fields of life. The event was inaugurated with a parade by the Women Police and featured a documentary on the notable women of stature in Pakistan. The counter-terrorism force demonstrations received great appreciation by the participants which included diplomats, parliamentarians, senior bureaucrats, government officials and security forces.
In his welcome remarks, Oxfam Country Director Mohammed Qazilbash highlighted the role of the police in making public spaces safe for women and said
This women’s day we have collaborated with ICT police and are happy to celebrate this day with their team, who are also committed to making this city safer for women. Oxfam continues to support women who have struggled for economic empowerment, those who have stood up against gender-based violence and young girls striving for quality education.
The Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi applauded the efforts of Oxfam and ICT police in organizing the grand event and said,
This day means a lot to humanity as a whole. Women have a huge responsibility in a male-dominated society to prove their worth and importance. What we have witnessed today proves their abilities and achievements, hats off to their commitment.
The event was organized with support from The Ministry of Foreign Affairs The Netherlands, Global Affairs Canada and Australian High Commission to provide a platform to all stakeholders and support Oxfam in achieving its vision of a world that is free from fear. The population of Pakistan is one of the largest in the world and unemployment is very high. Skill-based education and entrepreneurship must be encouraged to promote women’s economic empowerment. Great progress has been made in the way of women protection laws in Pakistan and steps have been taken to end violence against women.
The Inspector General (IG) of ICT Police stressed the importance of dealing respectfully and with sensitivity towards women who report incidents of abuse and harassment. He aims to change police culture to ensure that women feel safe in reaching out to ICT police to assist them.
Oxfam studies show that marginalized women, including poor women and girls, are the most vulnerable to violence. 1 in 3 women are estimated to directly experience violence, however it is everyone’s problem. The event marked an end to the 16 Days of Activism campaign which raises awareness about gender-based violence on local, national, and international levels. By speaking up to challenge the idea that domestic violence is a private issue, we can encourage victims to report and ensure that action is taken.