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Azad Kashmir Govt signs MOU with UN for gender equality

Islamabad: The Government of Pakistan Administered Kashmir (PAK) and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) join hands together under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed today by the Secretary of Women Development Department PAK, Mahmood Ahmad Khan and the Country Director UN Women, Ms. Alice H. Shackelford.

The MoU follows the recent notification of the State Policy Framework for Empowerment of Women and the establishment of the independent Women Development Department in PAK. The purpose of this MoU is to maximize the technical assistance, cooperation and coordination between the Government of PAK and UN Women to ensure the commitment by both these parties to work effectively towards the empowerment of women in PAK.

The Chief Guest, Prime Minister of PAK, Mr. Chaudhry Abdul Majeed, appreciated UN Women for keeping to its commitment to the Government of PAK and the technical support that it has been providing in moving forward the agenda of gender equality and women’s empowerment in PAK, particularly its support to the Women’s Development Department and Social Welfare Department. The Prime Minister reiterated his government’s commitment to improving the lives of women and girls in PAK. While recognizing that women make up half the population and continue to lag behind men in almost all walks of life, he stated that the Government of PAK will continue to take equitable measures to ensure women’s participation in the economic, social and political spheres demonstrable commitments, passage of pro-women legislation and the development of policy measures to prevent all forms of discrimination against women.

Ms. Alice Shackelford, Country Director for UN Women, recognized the great strides that the Government of PAK has taken recently, particularly the formulation of the State Policy Framework for Empowerment of Women, the segregation of the Women’s Development Department and the Social Welfare Department, and notification of the State Commission on Women and the Women Parliamentary Caucus. She also highlighted the progress in PAK on the passage of pro women legislation and the need to continue the momentum, particularly with respect to acid crime and domestic violence. Ms. Shackelford also expressed a desire to enhance the partnership between UN Women and the Government of PAK on a long term basis, and thanked the Prime Minister, the Deputy Speaker, and the Minister of Women’s Development Department for their strong commitment to the empowerment of women.

Others present included the Deputy Speaker PAK, Ms. Shaheen Dar, Women Development Minister, Ms. Farzana Yaqoob, Law Minister, Mr. Azhar Gilani, Gender Advisor to Women Development Department, and Special Advisor to the Prime Minister PAK, Mr. Raja Shaukat. The event was also attended by Ms. Anne Stenhammer, Regional Programme Director, UN Women, SASRO, and representatives of UN Women Pakistan Office.

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