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November 9, 2018

‘Benazir Bhutto’s socio-economic reforms a role model for world’


November 9, 2018

Sindh Minister for Women Development Syeda Shehla Raza has said the political and social reforms introduced by Benazir Bhutto are a magnificent role model not only for Pakistan but for the entire world.

She was addressing the inaugural ceremony of the ‘National Conference on Socio-Political Reforms of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’ held at the Arts Auditorium, University of Karachi, on Wednesday.

The minister emphasised the need to identify “true Aalims”, saying the government’s writ was to differentiate between Ulema and extremists, and the government must not put the nation in front of these extremists.

She added that it was high time the principles and ideology of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto were enforced. Raza said every government except that of the Pakistan Peoples Party considered the Steel Mills as a burden and ignored the fact that many families were dependent on it.

She said these were assets of the nation, and those who damaged them built their own steel mills. She said her party saved those assets and would save them in future as well. She further stated that her party’s leadership wanted the betterment of infrastructure.

“Corruption is in every country, including India, China and France. It must be eradicated completely. We must tell the world that we are fighting against terrorism for the whole world. that’s why, our economy is not progressing.”

Karachi University vice-chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Ajmal Khan said the purpose of the establishment of the Benazir Bhutto Chair was to propagate her vision through academic research.

“She was a visionary leader and a role model for all the women of the world. She possessed political thinking since she was trained by her father, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. She was advised to not to return to Pakistan, but despite all sorts of life threats, she came back and laid down her life for the love of the country. We need to research on her services for the country.”

Barrister Murtaza Wahab, an adviser to the chief minister, was the chair of the concluding session of the conference. He remarked that they could not forget the efforts of Benazir Bhutto for the resolution of social and political issues. It was BB’s government which liberated the media in 1988, and whatever media boom was being witnessed today it was because of her efforts.

She established the first women bank in the country and played a pioneering role in women’s empowerment, Wahab said, adding that Pakistan’s first women station was also established in 1993 during her tenure, and the first woman judge of the high court, Justice Majida Rizvi, was appointed in her tenure and now a female was the chief justice of the Balochistan High Court.

“It was her vision that a lady health workers program was initiated to promote health awareness among women. These centers were established countrywide in 1993 and were working till today. We talk about the rights of minorities but we forget that it was BB who introduced the ministry of minorities and she also introduced the ministry for women rights.”

Earlier, Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Chair director Prof Dr Muhammad Ahmed Qadri said the word politics was at times disliked in the country due to unhealthy practices and wrong use of power by politicians.

Politics basically was the meaning of serving the masses, but unfortunately, this had not always been the case in the country, he said, adding that that was why the majority of people had turned their faces away from politicians.

Benazir Bhutto was among those great leaders in the world who, throughout her lives, fought for the restoration of democracy, Prof Qadri said. It was her gallant efforts that revived this vital theme, he said and added that the political reforms that she suggested, if implemented sincerely, would certainly allow people to benefit from the real blessings of democracy.

“This event looks to intellectually contribute to the implementation of such political reforms that would promote democracy, social justice, human rights, and economic development. I am positive this conference will create awareness among the people of Pakistan to support democracy and academic freedom.”

Prof Dr Summer Sultana and Dr Muhammad Ali, while presenting their research papers, said Benazir Bhutto’s stance was accepted and acknowledged internationally for being an exemplary parliamentarian internationally.

They said she was acknowledged as a leader who helped Pakistan through its fight back to bring democracy, basic human rights and a democratic government to the country. Her parliamentary popularity and acceptance could be gauged by the fact that when she visited the United States in 1989 twenty-five thousands of people stood in the rain to listen “to this 1973 graduate of Harvard”, they said, adding that she was indeed a great woman, a great parliamentary leader and a courageous democrat, so she propagated democracy, human rights, feminist fervor, and secular liberal Muslim policy-based international relations as her diplomatic tools.

The director of the Institute of International Relations, Shah Abdul Latif University, Khairpur, said the personality of Benazir Bhutto was very attractive for the people of Pakistan as she was not only a daughter of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto but also polite, humble and dedicated to her work. Also, she was the first female prime minister of the Muslim world.

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