FAISALABAD:09 March: Punjab government is making all-out efforts to empower women, end gender discrimination, domestic violence and to make them active members in socio-economic activities of the country. This was said by MPA Najma Afzal while addressing a seminar titled “Punjab Women Empowerment Initiatives” arranged by the Institute of Home Sciences, University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF), a press release issued on Thursday stated. She said, “Islam attaches great importance to women and guides men to treat women politely. But unluckily in men-dominant society, the women are deprived of their rights.” She added that Women Protection Act 2016 was the hallmark step that will help address the problems of women. Najma maintained the women protection committees were being constituted in 36 districts of the province. She said that the government was committed to provide them their due rights and empower them so that challenges of the modern era could be met. While speaking on the occasion, UAF Vice-Chancellor Dr Muhammad Iqbal Zafar said that education works as an engine of growth to address social and economic issues. He praised the government for taking the initiatives for the cause of women emancipation. He remarked, “We will not achieve sustainable development if we do not achieve gender equality.” The VC pointed out that the UAF had set up a hostel for 1,000 girls with the funding of the Punjab government. He said that the university was making all-out efforts to provide modern facilities to the women. Home Sciences Incharge Dr Ayesha Riaz said, “Women are playing an important role not only as a house keeper but also as working force in all aspects of life.” She said that rural women should be given awareness so that they could realise their economic and cultural rights. Dr Saira Akhtar said that women as mothers, sisters and daughters were playing effective role for the uplift of the country. She stressed upon the need for women empowerment to end poverty from the country. Member Punjab Commission on the Status of Women Shazia George said that a number of initiatives were being taken to create awareness among women about their rights. She added that the commission aimed to promote women’s empowerment and gender equality in Punjab through research, review and revision of laws, policies, programmes, rules and regulations; monitoring implementation of instruments and obligations affecting women and girls. Dr Tahira Iqbal said that the nation cannot make progress without active participation of women and providing them rights. Dr Binish Sarwar said that women constitute 51% of the population. She said that women were standing side by side with men in every sphere of life. She maintained, “Without ensuring the rights of women, we cannot compete with the rest of the world.” Meanwhile, a condolence reference for UAF professor Dr Tahir Hussain (late) was held at Iqbal Auditorium to commemorate his tremendous services for the area of teaching and agricultural research. The session was presided over by UAF VC Dr Iqbal Zafar, while Faculty of Agriculture Dean Dr Muhammad Amjad, former deans and other notables were present. The vice-chancellor said that Dr Tahir had rendered commendable service to agriculture sector and academia that will be written in golden words. He said that he had produced 195 research papers and talented students who were working day and night for the sector. Published in The Express Tribune, March 9th, 2018.