Civil society calls to promote human, constitutional rights in GB

A Twitter space around the theme Sara Jahan Hamara (the whole universe is ours) was initiated by the civil ‎society of Gilgit Baltistan (GB) as a part of interventions to connect citizens of GB from ‎different parts and engage them to promote their human rights approach and constitutional ‎rights.

According to details, the call intended to bridge between local voices with decision-makers and duty bearers around governance issues, right-based issues and further to strengthen voice and accountability. More than 100 people including students, political activists, social workers, academicians, legislatures, and people from the judiciary, took part in a conversation on Twitter on March 13, 2022.

The positive aspect of this forum was that, contrary to previous traditions, a large number of active women from various fields as mentioned joined as organizers, listeners, and speakers. Ms. Jublee Hunzai, Dr. Neelum Nigar, and Mr. Roshan moderated a dialogue as co-hosts.

The leading speakers including Dr. Nishat Riaz, Director Education British Council, Ms. Tasneem Abbas, CEO Darulhunar Foundation and PWDs rights activist, Mr. Irshad Kazmi, Citizen Journalist, Inclusivity Expert, Dr. Perveen Ashraf, EX member of legislative Assembly, women’s rights champion, Ms. Kaneez Fatima, Member of Legislative Assembly-GBA, Advocate Tahir Archan, Abdul Jabbar, Senior Journalist, Kosar Bano, Gender advisor, ICIMOD, Ms. Erum Wali Khan, Women entrepreneur,  Ms. Mehnaz Perveen, Ex CEO KADO, Mr. Raees Kamil Jan Baigal, Civil Society Activist shared their views with respect to their areas of expertise.

Dr. Nishat shared that educated youth should work as volunteers in remote areas to promote education and focus on the quality of education Ms. Tasneem Abbas stated that the lawmakers and decision-makers are not giving priority to the needs of persons with disabilities, due to systematic, infrastructure, and legal barriers, she added our vulnerabilities are increasing towards exercising fundamental rights and seeking support from civil society to raise the issues with duty bearers.

Mr. Irshad Kazmi said that there is a need for collective efforts from civil society to ensure civil and political rights of PWDs, as we have organized people from different walks of life and they have pushed the agenda of PWDs and assured some legislative actions including the PWDs Act, 2019 in Gilgit Baltistan.

Women’s participation in politics is barely increasing due to stigmatizing politics for women, we need to bring reforms in political party structures with respect to gender lens and need of mass awareness among the public to build women’s image as a political leader, shared by Dr. Parveen Ashraf. Further added to this.

Ms. Kaneez Fatima elaborated that there are fewer opportunities for women as compared to men for entering politics, needs to introduce regular political education programs by political parties and legislature houses for enhancing women’s participation in politics.  Mr. Abdul Jabbar views that there is potential scope for women in mainstream media.

Ms. Kosar Bano said that climate change vulnerabilities badly impacted the lives of communities especially women of Gilgit Baltistan. A number of emerging economic sectors like the digital sector/IT industry and CPEC are avenues to explore employment opportunities for women at the doorstep, shared by Mehnaz, and Mansoor, Ms. Areepa Esar further added that the energy crises and low internet connectivity are great hurdles in free lancing and digital employment.

Ms. Erum Wali Khan said that overall opportunities for women especially youth are fewer so need to explore new avenues to enhance their economic participation and such platforms will generate discourse around the subject. Mr. Kamail Jan said that youth can be engaged in governance and politics for sustainable development.

Ms. Jublee Hunzai appreciated the panelist for sharing their valuable input and assured that such initiatives will be continued for increasing connectivity with people of GB and will highlight the voice of marginalized and excluded segments.

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