AGAINST GENDER VIOLENCE: PLIGHT OF WOMEN RESOUNDS AT EXHIBITION

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ISLAMABAD: As the 16 days of activism against gender violence continues, Nomad Art Gallery in collaboration with the Australian High Commission held a discussion and inaugurated an art exhibition on Tuesday evening.

With the campaign theme of ‘Education, Militarism, Corruption, Poverty, Protest, Graffiti, Revolution, Justice and Empowerment’, the gallery hosted a discussion with ten women from different professions who spoke about challenges faced by women in Pakistan.

A gathering of members of civil society, academia, diplomatic community and academia sat in the gallery’s garden listening to messages from women who are actively playing their roles in promoting peace and raising awareness related to gender-based and sectarian violence in Pakistan.

Tapping into an array of subjects and speaking of recent acts of brutality against the Christian couple in Kasur, Romana Bashir, chief executive of the Centre for Peace and Development said for harmonious legislation, minority wings had to be abolished.

“It is the responsibility of the state to treat every citizen as an equal,” she said.

Fatima Atif from Bytes For All spoke about genocide and violence against members of the Hazara community.

Saba Amjad, a representative from Jamrud, Khyber Agency said women IDPs of the tribal areas were facing countless miseries. She said women were denied access to basic rights such as food, shelter, health and education.

“Women in Fata are victims of sexual violence at food distribution points (at the IDP camps). There are so many hidden stories that will take up hours even days if I start narrating them,” she said.

Peter Heyward, the Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan, said violence against women was not a unique phenomenon. “It is a tough battle,” he said, adding that the high commission was working with the Pakistani government and other agencies on such issues.

Shaista Pervez Malik, Member National Assembly and secretary-general of the Women’s Caucus said women parliamentarians were working together to address common issues. She said while in the recent past several laws have been passed in favour of women, more work had to be done for stronger legislation and implementation.

She said parliamentarians were holding a roundtable discussion with female police officials soon to hear their complaints and address the issues.

The artwork on display was opened for guests in the main gallery where cartoons by  cartoonist M Zahoor concealed the walls. With the backdrop of orange and white, the black and white impactful cartoons from Ziaul Haq’s era till now were zestfully displayed. (Courtesy by Express Tribune)

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