LAHORE: Women worked shoulder to shoulder with men during the early days of Islam, said speakers at a seminar titled Status of Pakistani and Iranian Women in Family and Society held at the Iranian Consulate Cultural Centre on Monday.
The programme was organised in connection with the annual celebrations of the Iranian Revolution. Iranian Consulate Director General Abdul Raza Abbasi, Justice (r) Nasira Iqbal and Dr Ghazala Moosa also addressed the seminar.
Speakers said Islam had given women respectable status in family and society. Iqbal said the rights bestowed by Islam on women fourteen centuries ago had not been enjoyed by western women even in the 20th century. “Women should join men in all fields for a balanced and prosperous society. They should exercise their right to vote in the coming elections to play a decisive role in the country’s business. If women do not cast their vote, the government-backed politicians will use their votes to rig the elections,” she said.
Iqbal said Iran had given equal rights to women, but in Pakistan they were still largely dependent on men, especially in rural areas. “Women should be made economically independent so that they could pass on confidence to the coming generations. Women have to raise their voice for their rights at the domestic level,” she said. “They have been given seats in assemblies, representation in the administration and the judiciary but they still need to alleviate themselves to higher ranks.”
Moosa said the woman’s role was pivotal in providing a peaceful atmosphere at home. “They should avoid nitpicking and promote healthy discussion among family members. They should teach children new things with affection and love instead of scolding them.
“The role models for Muslim women are not in the West, but in the character of Hazrat Fatima (RA),” she added.
Yazdan Manish, an Iranian scholar doing PhD in Urdu from the University of the Punjab, said a woman was a symbol of love and affection. “Nations decline when they disgrace their women and any progress is meaningless without giving them their due status in society,” she said and added that women should also be active in welfare work.
Abbasi said the programme had been arranged to get together Pakistani and Iranian women. He said such gatherings would strengthen friendship between the two countries. He ended his speech with a slogan ‘Pak-Iran dosti zindabad’ (long live Pak-Iran friendship).
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