Play staged to discourage violence against women

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PESHAWAR: A play was staged on Monday to raise awareness about violence against women and highlight issues facing them.

Lawmaker Meraj Humayun Khan, who recently quit the Qaumi Watan Party and joined the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), International Research Council for Religious Affairs President Muhammad Israr, Executive Director of PAIMAN Alumni Trust, Mussarat Qadeem, Inspector, Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) Rafia Qaseem Baig, women and child rights activist Ms Valerie Khan, Deputy Representative, UN Women Pakistan, Sangeeta Thapa, and guitarist of Khumariyaan Band Aamer Shafiq read out the stories of seven women rights activists in the narrative play presented in Urdu titled ‘Seven women seven stories.’

They read out the real stories of seven women rights activists including Farida Azizi of Afghanistan, Mukhtaran Mai (Pakistan), Inez McCormack (Northern Ireland), Marina Pisklakova (Russia), Annabella De Leon (Guatemala), Mu Sochua (Cambodia) and Hafsat Abiola (Nigeria).

Farida Azizi works for women’s rights and peace building in Afghanistan. She took asylum in the United States due to threats to her life for working for women rights.Mukhtaran Mai was gang-raped on the orders of a local panchayat. She is now constructing schools for girls and advocating girls’ education.

The late Inez McCormack was an active women and human rights, labour and social justice activist.Marina Pislakova founded the first hotline for victims of domestic violence in 1993.Annabella De Leon from a poor family managed to become a congresswoman and fought against corruption and rights of oppressed, particularly women.

Mu Socha work against sex trafficking in Cambodia. Hasfsat Abiola has been an advocate of human rights and democracy. Her organisation imparts skill trainings and leadership opportunities for young women.The event was organised as a documentary play SEVEN under the ‘Seven on Tour’ project.

Embassy of Sweden, the European Union (EU) Delegation to Pakistan, UN entity for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (UN Women) and the Potohar Organisation for Development Advocacy (PODA), in collaboration with the Swedish Institute had organised the event.

Around 150 people, including high-ranking officials, activists, students and dignitaries were present on the occasion.The play was produced by Hedda Krausz Sjogren and written in 2007 by seven playwrights.

Press and Public Relations Officer EU Delegation, Ayesha Babar, said the event was aimed at promoting access to justice for female victims of violence by raising awareness.She said the ‘Seven on Tour’ was started in 2009 and had been staged in 38 counties in 29 languages, adding 700 men and women from various walks of life performed in the play.

Meraj Humayun, MPA, said the PTI-led provincial government was working for the rights of women and had made various laws. She said women were talented and could brave any challenge but they needed proper opportunities and forum to show their talent.

Shazia Manzoor Ali, a participant, said she enjoyed the reading and gained much from the narration. She said Pakistan had many laws, including those for women rights, but were not being implemented in letter and spirit.

Muhammad Israr said that Islam discouraged violence against anyone and had given due rights to women. “Our religion recognises the rights of women and gives great respect and honour to them,” he remarked.The participants urged all the stakeholders and every citizen to play their roles in discouraging violence against women.

Article First Appeared in The News.




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