On Thursday, 6th of March 2014, Pakistan Australia Association (PAA) and Rotary Club Granville hosted a very successful event to mark the International Women’s Day 2014.
This is a first ever the Australia Pakistani community held such an event in Australia.
The purpose of this event was to acknowledge the role of women in our lives and denouncing violence against women. Further to generate awareness among the Law makers the issue our communities facing.
The program began with reciting of holy Quran followed by Australian and Pakistani Anthems. Mrs Shafaq Jaffrey and Ms Fariza was the MC. Shafaq in her opening remakes said that I feel very proud as a Muslim Asian female that we are celebrating International Women’s day at the parliament house.
Khurram Naqvi Director Creativity PAA prepared a marvellous documentary on women of Pakistan and their contribution in Politic and other wake of life.
The Vice President of PAA, Dr Nighat Nasim Psychiatrist highlighted family violence issues in Pakistani community as well as South East Asian communities. She added that among the families of South East Asian background it is common not to raise voice against violence and oppression, reporting abuse is considered to be taboo. The cultural tendency to remain silent for the sake of family dignity aggravates the issue even further, which is then strained even more by those individuals who leave their social groups and family support systems behind, causing alienation and frustration to occur, leading to more cases of Domestic Violence (DV).
Pakistan Australia association is now working to generate awareness and directing victims to the services, including crisis support systems and ongoing counselling. We also assist the victims of DV with accommodation assistance, solving immigration issues and providing courses that will help sufferers of DV improve their English and eventually life in Australia.
PAA is also working to improve parenting skills by making the South East Asian parents understand the differences between Western and Eastern cultures through workshops, seminars and counselling.
Honourable Sophie Cotsis MLC and Shadow Minister for Women and Local Government was the host. Other honourable guests were, Hon Minister Prudence Goward MP NSW Minister for Women, Hon Amanda Fazio MLC, Hon Barbra Perry MP, Hon Mahreen Farooqi MLC,Hon Shawkat Moselmani MLC, Mr Chris Brown Governor Western Suburbs Rotary, Harris Velji Chair Subcontinent Friends of Labor, Ranga Ragen President Rotary Granville.
Ejaz Khan President of PAA welcomed the honourable Ministers and Parliamentarians. He said that he would hold such event on bigger and better scale in coming years. With this, he also reinforced the fact that nowhere in Islamic law does it suggest that women are inferior or are considered a minority simply for the fact that she is a female.
The Hon Minister Goward said that “1 in 3 women in Australia are victims of Domestic Violence”, coupled with the fact that “a lot of women not speak about the violence with the worry of their marriage been broken if the domestic violence is publically acknowledged”.
Minister Goward acknowledged the need to create awareness and create safe environment for victims and appreciate the roll of PAA to doing so.
Hon Sofie Cotsis seconded the Minister and said that we belong to different political parties but on women and family violence issues we are together.
Hon Mehreen Farouqi MLC First Pakistani Muslim Women appointed NSW Legislative Council said “The United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 March during International Women’s Year 1975. Two years later, in December 1977, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year by Member States, in accordance with their historical and national traditions”.
Mr Chris Brown Governor Rotary for Western Suburbs highlighted the roll of Rotary International in empowering women and need for diversity.
Ejaz Khan President of PAA thanked the PAA team , specially Mr Zafar Khan, Salman Kazmi, Aftab Ahmed, Shamas Abbas, Salman Khalid, Syeda Bhatti, Arif Jaffery Saif Khalid and President Rotary Club Granville for their fantastic contribution to make this event memorable.