Aurat Publication & Information Service Foundation
Democracy Collective Wisdom of Nation, Islamabad


Democracy Collective Wisdom of Nation

12 September 2022: Aurat Foundation celebrated International Democracy Day with the theme of “Inclusive Democracy: Challenges and opportunities in 2022” in collaboration with Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (WPC) at the Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services (PIPS) Islamabad.

The event was attended by the Honorable Speaker National Assembly, Raja Parvaiz Ashraf, Secretary Women Parliamentary Caucus, Dr. Shahida Rehmani, Senator Sana Jamali, Senator Krishna Kumari, Member National Assembly, Farrukh Khan and large number of media, academia and civil society representative including representatives of PWDs and transgender communities. On the eve, Ms. Kishoo Bai, Senator of PPPP, Ms. Sana Jamali, Senator from Balochistan,

Naeem Mirza, Exective Director AF, Ms. Abia Akram, ED STEP and founder of National Forum of Women with Disabilities, Ms. Maya Zaman, a transgender activist,
Speaker National Assembly of Pakistan, Raja Parvaiz Ashraf said that before 1970, the population of Pakistan was 10 crores and out of those, only 40,000 people in East Pakistan and 40,000 people in West Pakistan were allowed to vote on behalf of their communities. Hence, only 80,000 people voted to bring in the representatives of 10 crore people. He said that democracy in Pakistan is young and needs time to mature like its western counterparts.

Mr. Naeem Mirza, executive director Aurat Foundation (AF), said that from 2008-2013 women legislators were very active in the parliament and this showed through their work since most of the legislation regarding women’s rights was done during this period. He said that democracy has become a value in the modern age and further stated that out of the all 190+ countries put together, only Bangladesh and Pakistan have a clause inserted into their constitution which says that breaking the constitution itself is a criminal offence and carries the death penalty.

Ms. Abia Akram, founder of the national forum of women with disabilities in Pakistan, spoke candidly at the seminar. She said almost all of us were brought to the venue on a wheelchair, which she explained in this manner that the cars we sit in and travel in, has a wheel and a chair, just like the wheelchair of a disabled person. She further said we need to finish systematic barriers in Pakistan which stop the disabled people from excelling in any field.

Ms. Maya Zaman, a transgender activist, said that presently there is a debate ongoing about who is a real transgender? She said that the protection act of the transgender has been challenged in court by a right-wing political party who says that all transgeders are fake.

Ms. Kishoo Bai, senator of PPPP, said that the majority should not be afraid of a tiny minority and allow them to live freely in Pakistan. She said that we need to stand up for minority rights as it benefits the society at large. She also thanked her party co-chairman Mr. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari due to who’s support she is in the senate of Pakistan.

Ms. Sana Jamali, Senator from Balochistan told a harrowing tale of the damage that the recent floods have wreaked in her native province. She said that rainfall was ongoing for a consecutive 18 days and that Balochistan usually received only 10 mm of rain. However, during the recent floods, it received a huge 240 mm of rain which has destroyed the infrastructure of Pakistan’s largest Balochistan. She said that around 60,000 women are pregnant and are due to give birth in the next few months and they are not getting any sort of medical care which their situation requires.