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Pakistan offers to share with India lessons on women’s quota


New Delhi : Amid continued uncertainty here over the fate of a bill to reserve seats for women in parliament and legislative bodies, Pakistan has offered to share its experience in successfully implementing a law in this regard.

“We have enacted a law where 20 percent of parliamentarians have to be women. The law was based on recommendations based on a study by NGO Aurat Foundation. India can replicate the model and if it wants we can share the study,” Pakistani High Commissioner Shahid Malik said here late Thursday.

“The study done by the NGO talks about all concerns and issues raised by political parties in India,” he said during a discussion on ‘Reservation for women in parliament and the legislatures’.

The law providing for women’s reservation in legislative bodies was implemented in Pakistan in 2002. Malik said women parliamentarians have played a key role in raising health, education and social issues in Pakistan.

“According to a latest report, 42 percent of private member bills, 27 percent of questions and 24 percent of resolutions in parliament came from women parliamentarians,” he said.

Pakistan has reserved 60 seats for women in the 360-member National Assembly and 17 in the 100-member Senate with a view to empower women.

E.M. Sudarsana Natchiappan, a Congress MP who headed the Parliamentary Committee on Women’s Reservation Bill, said: “We have taken into account reservations of various political parties, NGOs and women groups. The decision has to be taken on two points – whether to share the available seats or add to the available seats.

“The issue is pending as the Lok Sabha was dissolved and a new committee will look into the matter. This is the most suitable time to get the women’s reservation bill passed and the government is trying for it,” said Natchiappan.

Supporting the bill, Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur said: “The reservation for women should also be started at the party level. Although it may be difficult, I hope we will be able to pass the women’s reservation bill this time.”