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Women Condition in Pakistan – Reality with Facts & Figures

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In Dec 2019, World Economic Forum (WEF) published the Gender-Equality Index (GEI) in which Pakistan ranked 151 out of 153. This shows a downfall from the previous ranking of 112 in 2006. The report shows the discrimination against women in almost all the spheres of life, which includes education, health, politics, and law. Our society is patriarchal, and in majority cases, men decide the fate for women. Men dominate in all the phases of society and women have to live at the mercy of men.

There is no denying that our society is very conservative due to the influence of religion. Men misuse the concepts of religion to monopolize over the lives of women. Islam does not discriminate against women anywhere, in fact, Islam has, in many cases, given women superiority over men. It is the clergy class that propagated the idea of women’s inferiority in our society. Most women have no access to translated religious scripts and they have to rely only on the teaching of their male counterparts, which is mostly wrong and discriminated towards them. The religious class misuse the name of religion to suppress women in our society by denying them the opportunities that can uplift them from the swamp they are in.

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In this article, we will try to discuss three core issues in which women are facing a lot of discrimination. Those three areas are health, education, and politics. According to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), Pakistan ranked among those countries in which women are deprived of these three SDGs. Almost 4.9 million women aged 18 to 49 are deprived of in the above-mentioned departments.

Women Health Issues/problems:

  • The health system in Pakistan for women is among the worst in the world. Most of the women have no access to hospitals at all. Pakistan is among those countries where the life expectancy rate of women is lower than men.
  • The female infant mortality rate is higher (85 per 1000) than that of male children (82 per 1000). Female infant children are more in danger than male infants.
  • It is also reported that almost 40 percent of women are anemic, which is a situation in which the body lacks red blood cells due to the deficiency of iron.
  • The fertility rate in Pakistan in 5.4 which means that on average a woman gives birth to more than 5 children. This is an alarming situation for the country but also dangerous to the health of the woman.
  • 1 out of 38 women dies from pregnancy-related issues. Almost 80% of women don’t have access to the medical health care system. Mostly rural women are deprived of the latest medical service.
  • Almost half of the women in Pakistan aged between 18 to 50 have no say in the decisions related to their health.
  • Other issues like unavailability of medicines, illegal or unsafe abortions, lack-of female medical staff, unavailability of medical services in the areas nearby, unable to afford medical services due to poverty, ineffective health policies, early marriages, violence against women, illiteracy, lack of information on health, cultural barriers, budget issues, government structural adjustment policies, etc.

The health issues of women in Pakistan is increasing due to the economic dependency of women on men. Women have been suppressed both physically and economically by men.

Women Education Issues/Problems:

Article 37 of the constitution of Pakistan gives the fundamental right of education to all its citizens, without any discrimination, but the misogyny still exists in the educational sector. According to the Human Development Index, by the United Nations, Pakistan only spends 2.7% on education from its GDP. Women are also deprived of quality education in Pakistan.
  • The literacy rate of males in Pakistan is 69% while the females’ literacy rate is only 45%.
  • According to the UNICEF report, around 22.8 million children aged 6 to 15 are out of school in which the majority are female children.
  • Secondary school enrollment of male students is twice as high as female students.
  • The women’s education system is worse in rural areas due to the unavailability of proper management, and cultural barriers.
  • Our society is patriarchal and most of the parents don’t like the co-education system, which is why they don’t send their daughters to higher education institutes.
  • Other issues like lack of schools of girls, bad management by the civil society, lack of government interest in the educational sector, lack of transport facility for girls, poor or outdated educational curriculum, lack of female staff for girls, cultural barriers towards female education, early marriages.

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Women Political Issues/Problems:

  • The constitution of Pakistan does not restrict the involvement of women in the political arena. The constitution has made it compulsory for political parties not to discriminate among male and female candidates. But the structure and cultural barriers restrict women from engaging in the political sphere. Even the structure of major political parties in Pakistan is patriarchal.
  • Women candidates don’t get enough support in their constituencies because people don’t accept a female as their leader.
  • The Clergy class has played an important role in the denunciation of women candidates all over Pakistan. The religious parties also published ‘Fatwas’ against the rule of women.
  • In 2018 elections, only 8 out of 183 female candidates won their seats of the National Assembly of Pakistan, which is almost 4 percent.

  • In the 2018 elections, most of the political parties didn’t have a single female candidate.
  • Due to the quota system, 60 seats are reserved for women in the National Assembly of Pakistan. Political parties award these seats by nepotism and favoritism. Most of the time, the seats are given to those women who have family links with the top leadership of a political party.
  • Many times, political parties award election tickets to women in those constituencies where they have no chance of winning.
  • In many rural or tribal areas, female voters are not allowed to cast their votes due to cultural barriers or the patriarchal leadership prevents women from casting their votes.
  • Political parties don’t provide an adequate fund for female candidates to contest in elections.
  • Other issues like lack of political skills, unaware of political rights, patriarchal structure of the society, lack of financial resources, women don’t vote for women.

ALSO READ: Admiring Diversities – From Ethnocentrism to Assimilation

Solutions to Women Problems:

  • Make appropriate laws through the National Assembly for the safeguard of women.
  • All the government institutions must collaborate to highlight the problems of women and take serious actions towards those who have involved in the violence against women.
  • The laws must be implemented with the full support of all the branches of the system.
  • Judiciary must ensure the implementation of laws related to women.
  • There should be a separate department in all the law enforcement agencies that should deal with the issues of women.
  • The mindset of people towards women should be changed through social restructuring and education.

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Will Pakistan Recognize and Accept Israel?

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The Muslim world is at a new turning point in history. The distance between Arabia and Israel seems to be closing. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince have met. The US Secretary of State was also present at the meeting in Saudi Arabia. The world media is shouting at this meeting. If this news is true then it is a great development in world politics. The UAE, Bahrain, and Sudan have already joined Israel. What color will this friendship with Israel bring to the Arabs? Why are the Arab countries so anxious to embrace yesterday’s enemy? Will Pak-Israel anger last forever?

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While the new global political development is a source of joy for the minority, it is also a source of unhappiness for the majority. Questions about recent developments also need to be answered. Experts say the meeting took place and that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu arrived in a private jet with the Mossad chief. He met secretly with the Saudi Crown Prince. The problem is that the results of the recent US election have upset many countries, including Saudi Arabia. After Biden’s victory, Saudi Arabia fears what the new US president will do. Saudi Arabia wants the support of the Israeli lobby in the United States. Saudi Arabia has extended a hand of friendship to both Turkey and Israel. Saudi Arabia does not want its relations with the United States to rupture. Will Saudi Arabia’s efforts work?

The first is that US foreign policy has implications. Four Muslim countries were destroyed by US foreign policy. Libya was devastated by Obama and Hillary. Had it not been for Russia and Hezbollah behind Assad in Syria, it would have been like Libya. The situation in Iraq and Afghanistan is also in front of everyone. The situation in Afghanistan and Iraq hurt the United States. Trump has not started new wars. Biden is under the influence of former US President Barack Obama. They are “dense” like them. Such people are dangerous. This threat is making the world restless.

ALSO READ: What is Pakistan’s Stance Regarding Recognizing Israel state?

Iran has also linked Biden’s victory to goodwill. Iran hopes sanctions will be eased. Trade routes to Europe will open for Iran. Pakistan will also benefit from easing sanctions on Iran. Pakistan’s goods will go to Iran and Iran’s goods will come to Pakistan. Saudi Arabia wants to curb Iran’s influence in the region. If anyone can look Israel in the eye, it is Iran and Turkey. Saudi Arabia will not be made of Iran. It is said that the enemy of the enemy is the friend, Saudi Arabia is also going to sacrifice its long-standing policy under the same policy.

The question is, when Pakistan’s friends are raising the bar of love and friendship with Israel, will Pakistan lag behind in this race? Will Pak-Israel anger last forever? Prime Minister Imran Khan’s position on Palestine is the position of the nation, in which he said that our policy on relations with Israel is the same as that of the founder of Pakistan. The founders of Pakistan have always rejected relations with Israel. He used to say, “This is a dagger inserted in the heart of the Ummah. This is an illegitimate state which Pakistan will never recognize.”

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Our position cannot be linked to the position of the Arab League or the OIC. Our position is based on the position of the founder of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam. If Pakistan backs away from the Palestinian policy, it will deviate from the Kashmir policy. Pakistan is a non-Arab country that has taken part in two wars against Israel. Pakistan’s policy is clear and cannot be changed. But our Prime Minister is second to none in changing his stance on every issue. As soon as the news of the Saudi Crown Prince’s meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister came, a certain group in Pakistan was deployed to form a consensus to recognize Israel.

A lobby of specialized intellectuals and journalists has begun work on the “Acceptable” mission. The government has started throwing leaves through social media. The past shows that our Prime Minister jumps to great heights, in this case too. If that happened then his followers would accept it as a blessing.

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Pakistan

Can Kashmir be Removed from the UN agenda?

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After an illegal action of scrapping the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, India is now adamant to take the Kashmir issue off the agenda of the UNSC, terminating the hopes of the sovereignty of oppressed people in the disputed territory. Pakistan jogged India’s memory that Kashmir can not be removed from the agenda of the united nations security council (UNSC), which was determined to solving this dispute between Pakistan and India according to the desires of the Kashmiri people. Munir Akram, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the United Nations, while answering to the Indian move, said “Indian spokespersons either deceiving themselves or pulling the wool in their public eyes that they will get Kashmir out of the security council’s agenda”.

He said, “it will never happen”. He further brought to the light that the security council’s agenda was set in agreement with the established rules and procedures and could only be modified by a consensus of the members of the council and can not be altered unilaterally by a single member state.

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As the 75th session of the UN general assembly is to begin in New York later this month, it goes without saying that Pakistan will raise its voice and bring the miseries of the Kashmiri people to the mind of the world community to call for justice in the valley. India asked the UN to detach Kashmir from its agenda to refrain Pakistan from raising it at the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly. India backing its move, in response to the report of the security council for 2019, complaining that Pakistan “keeps shoving for debate on an obsolete agenda thing in the council”.

Pakistan has raised the issue inside the council three times with the support of china since the illegal annexation of the valley. India’s argument that why it should be removed from the agenda of the council is hollow from the facts. As the UNSC does not acknowledge the Indian claim and treats the territory as an unsolved dispute. Furthermore, it has deployed its military observers on both sides of the Loc. Diplomatic sources told that India has been seeking for a long time to bring out the “Pakistan-India Question” from the agenda of UNSC. In spite of India’s long efforts, it has fallen through in its aim incessantly.

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One UN diplomate called the Indian claim as “weird” as he told the reality of removing any agenda item. He said, “it could be only possible if a dispute was solved or the consensus decision of the council”. However, the Jammu and Kashmir issue is not settled yet, rather, illegally annexed by the Indian state inspired by the Hindutva ideology of RSS, a Hindu extremist organization.

The ultimate goal of the Security Council, an important part of the UN, is to ensure international peace and stability, which calls for the list of unresolved issues of its agenda and can’t be removed even if one member state wishes to remove.

From the time, Kashmir issue was inscribed in its agenda, till today 16 resolutions are passed by the UN on Jammu and Kashmir. The illegal annexation of Jammu and Kashmir by fascist India was considered in its agenda “The Pakistan-India Question” on 16 August. The deployment of UNMOGIP was approved under the same agenda.

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UNMGOIP remains deployed in disputed territory between Pakistan and India, another confirmation that the dispute is still on the agenda of the security council. It checks and reports ceasefire infringements along the LOC in Kashmir, allowing the UNSC to stick to their guns. The military observers are present in disputed territory and violations are reported to the UNSC and the UNHQ. This proof unveils that this dispute is under the active consideration of the council and is not obsolete in any way.

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What can be the Possible Solution to Karachi’s Conundrum?

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As we all are apprised of the rack and ruin brought about by the inclement monsoon season in the metropolitan city of Pakistan, Karachi. The people of Karachi have been compelled to face severe losses in the wake of rain floods engulfed approximately the whole city. Despite severe losses due to the rain that has inflicted upon the people, one positive development has been witnessed as the masses are incensed with the management and administration of Karachi and the sense of raising their voices this time for the amelioration of the shambolic city is developed. Who is held responsible for the administrative fiasco in Karachi?

The city has not seen major development at the hands of ruling parties instead of the Musharraf era in which, under the watch of Mayor Karachi Mustafa Kamal, the city was leading ahead in the whole South Asian region in terms of development and progressive work. It is not wrong to say that the development Lahore has witnessed in 2013-2014, Karachi was enjoying in 2005, as ill-luck would have it, no further up-gradation in the city has seen till to date. Unfortunately, due to incompetence and politics, the financial hub of Pakistan and one of the largest cities in the world are enjoying the serendipity of trash. Due to power politics between PPP and MQM, the city is lagging in development and the masses are enduring a very difficult situation.

ALSO READ: Worst Condition of Karachi, Who is Responsible? Petition in Sindh High Court

Much to the sufferings of people, Karachi deserves a comprehensive and practicable solution to all the problems faced by the people. So, they can finally take a sigh of relief.

The concept of ‘Karachi a separate province’, as it is surfacing on social media and the minds of people, is utterly non-viable because it clashes the vested interest of the political parties and the administrative problems solely lie with the people not with the parties, and they will never allow laying their hands off of the hen who lay golden eggs as the slogan ‘Marso Marso Sindh Na Deso’ will start airing.

Although, if Karachi is made a separate administrative unit, to much extent, the management problems can be eradicated. But again the problem is the same.

The most viable and workable solution for the administrative fiasco in Karachi as well as for all the metropolitan cities is to develop ‘Local Body Structure’ as it is already established in major big cities of the world. For instance, London has its local body structure spearheading by mayor Sadiq khan who is responsible for all the issues occurring in the city, including sewage problems, transport, sanitation, policymaking, public safety, and water supply management.

We are still bound to the inherited ancient structure from the British and they moved to the new one local body structure in which the mayor is directly elected by the people and bestowed by a full-fledged authority to run the city’s affairs properly.

On the other hand in Pakistan, commissioners and deputy commissioners control all affairs of the city. At the time of crisis, people are blowing hot and cold to whom they go for their complaints, either go to chief ministries, the federal government, or powerless mayors. The masses should be directed to one person responsible for the city’s administration. Unfortunately, in Pakistan MNA’s are doing the work of pavement of streets and the concrete meant of roads which is highly contrary to their work as they are responsible for making laws in the national assembly.

The local body system set up in 2013 was hamstrung and completely failed as the powers were not devolved to the lower level of the institutions. We often saw the mayor of Karachi Waseem Akhtar crying for funds and imploring to the provincial government for funds to take the tasks to completion in the city. After the 18th amendment, the power and authority were given to provinces but the devolution of power to grass root level is not assured.

Karachi is plunged in a quagmire of different power holders like the Army handling some institutions, MNA’s of the ruling party, and the mayor of Karachi. As I aforementioned, who is held responsible for the failure, and people should know whose neck they are going to hold in time of crisis.

It is the need of the hour to make different administrative units to run this country efficiently and effectively as the administration becomes plain sailing. Our neighbor country India has nearly 36 administrative units, America has approximately 50 states and our brother country turkey has 81 provinces. So, by seeing these example its desideratum becomes quite evident.

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