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Campaign on violence against women launched

Nov 25, 2015

By Myra Imran, Islamabad

"For me, the hurdles that came in my way were not challenges but challenging opportunities," said Sana Mehmood, former captain of Pakistan Football Team while speaking at the launch of nationwide 16 Days of Activism Campaign to commemorate White Ribbon Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on Tuesday. 

Girl leaders shared their inspiring stories at the campaign launching by White Ribbon Campaign and National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW). Their positive approach and determination to move ahead and progress impressed everyone present at the event.
“I can recall many incidents where people tried to discourage me but I would prefer to recall almost equal incidents when people supported me. It is because of them that I am standing here today,” said Sana. 
The story of National Squash Player from Dir Noreena Shams was equally moving when she shared the way she was encouraged and supported by her father. Noreena said that she was named by her grandmother which meant no more girls as she wanted to have a grandson after three granddaughters. “Instead my father told me that it actually means that there is not girl like me,” said Noreena who started her career of sports as a cyclist and made her name at national level in every sport she engaged with. 

President Bonded Labour Liberation Federation Syeda Ghulam Fatima shared that it was her father’s encouragement that led her into activism. She urged participants of the event to remember the life of bonded labourers while celebrating the success of Pakistani women. 

The campaign, which includes marking of White Ribbon Day, awareness activities across the country at district level, youth programmes and media campaign, is aimed at creating awareness on women rights, strengthen support mechanisms for victims of violence and advocate pro-women legislations. 
Speaking on this occasion, Khawar Mumtaz said that NCSW is taking active steps to promote awareness of women rights and strengthen pro-women laws. She said that the Commission has been working on developing indicators of violence against women and a baseline study of gender based violence so that right interventions can be developed according to intensity of violence in any particular area. She stressed for developing role models to encourage young girls. 
Omar Aftab said that this year’s campaign focuses on highlighting the achievements of women and men’s role in ending violence against women. 

National Commission on Human Right Chairman Justice Ali Nawaz Chohan, Australian High Commissioner Margarete Adamson and Ambassador of Sweden Tomas Rosander also spoke on the occasion. 

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence is an international campaign to challenge violence against women and girls. The campaign runs from November 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to December 10, Human Rights Day. Internationally, 16 days of activism are celebrated with theme of 'From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Make Education Safe for All.' 

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