Bilawal calls for women's empowerment, gender parity
Bilawal said that Islam forbids us from injustice against people, nations and women.
NEW YORK (Web Desk) - Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Wednesday said that Islam forbids us from injustice against people, nations and women.
The Foreign Minster expressed these views during a conference titled “Women in Islam" being held on the sidelines of the Commission on Status of Women at the UN headquarters in New York.
The Foreign Minister told the participants that the Islam shuns race, colour and gender as a basis of distinction among persons. He said “Islam treats women as human beings in their own right, not as chattel. He said under Islamic law and tradition, a woman had an independent social and legal identity and enjoys civil, political, economic, and cultural rights as well as the rights to inherit, divorce, receive alimony and child custody.
In his keynote address, the FM Bilawal said ”Islamic history attests to the outstanding role played by Muslim women in all walks of life – education, enterprise, economics, politics and governance. He pointed out that Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) declared that the pursuit of knowledge is incumbent on every Muslim, male and female. In that regard, he said, Fatima al-Fihri founded the world’s oldest continuously operating educational institution in 859 AD.
He said Muslim women have been agents of change in their societies. He said Islamic history is replete with examples of illustrious women: Hazrat Khadija (R.A.), a women business entrepreneur; Hazrat Ayesha (R.A.), a scholar and preacher; Hazrat Zainab Bint Ali (R.A.), a brave fighter, participant and survivor of the battle of Karbala; Hazrat Rabia Basri, a Sufi mystic; Shuhdah al-Baghdadiyyah, a scholar and calligrapher; Fatima al-Samarqandi, a scholar and jurist.
The Foreign Minister said even today, millions of Muslim women continued to dominate multiple fields – politics, education, health, science, commerce- in Muslim societies, citing Megawati Sukarnoputri, the first Muslim female President (of Indonesia), Najla Bouden, Prime Minister of Tunisia; Tansu Çiller, Prime Minister of Turkiye, Elsafty, a computer scientist at the University of Cambridge; Anousheh Ansari, first Muslim space explorer and astronaut, and Malala Yousufzai, the youngest Muslim girl to have won the Nobel Prize.
In Pakistan’s history, the foreign minister said, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s sister was at the forefront of the independence struggle and in the struggle for democracy.
He said “my mother, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Shaheed, was he first Muslim female Prime Minister, underscoring that she was elected to office by a huge majority, after a long and difficult struggle against dictatorship.” He spoke of the wide-ranging reforms she carried out during her premiership that empowered women of the country.
He said women in Pakistan, had held prominent positions in every facet of life: as cabinet ministers, the Governor of State Bank, Speaker of National Assembly, judges in the superior judiciary and as federal and provincial secretaries to the government, district commissioners and district police officers, army generals, fighter pilots, ambassadors, and UN peacekeepers.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari urged the Afghan Interim Government to reverse these restrictions and enable the women of Afghanistan to make their full and invaluable contribution to the development and progress of their nation.
During the opening session, the President of the UN General Assembly, Csaba Korosi, made his opening remarks followed by the Executive Director of the UN-Women, Sima Bahous, the Chairperson of the CSW, Ambassador Mathu Joyini and Ambassador Hameed Ajibaiye Opeloyeru, OIC Observer Mission to the UN, who delivered a message on behalf of Secretary-General of OIC, Ambassador Hissein Braham Taha. A recorded message of UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed was also played. She conveyed her greetings to the conference on behalf of herself and Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.