Meet Four Pakistani Women Peacebuilders
Over the past 10 years, an estimated 35,000 Pakistanis have been killed as a result of terrorism and extremist violence. The numbers are rapidly growing. To turn the tide, Pakistani women are mobilizing communities across the country and implementing innovative, citizen-led approaches to countering radicalism.
This week, Inclusive Security brought four of these leaders to Washington, DC to highlight the role of women in moderating violent extremism. The delegates are also advocating to US policymakers for reforms that would enhance inclusion of women in critical decision-making processes related to peace and security.
Meet the Women Leaders
The world’s first ever female graduate in the comparative study of Sharia and secular law, Huma Chughtai has spent decades reforming Pakistan’s parliament, police, and judiciary. Ms. Chughtai works with Pakistani police forces to increase the recruitment and retention of female officers, and with legislators and policymakers across Pakistan to sensitize them about conflict resolution and human rights. Using her expertise in Sharia law, Ms. Chughtai trains youth in the provinces most impacted by terrorism on the peaceful elements of Islam, linking international conventions with Islamic tenets to counter radical arguments that fuel extremism. Born in Rawalpindi, Huma Chughtai serves as a standing legal consultant to the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus and has been an advisor to the former Ministry of Women Development.
Shaista Pervaiz represents Punjab province as a member of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party in the country’s National Assembly. Earlier this year, she became General Secretary of the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus. She is also chief organizer for PML-N’s women’s wing-Lahore chapter. MNA Pervaiz is vocal in the press and on social media about the importance of women’s inclusion in strengthening democracy and bringing peace and security to Pakistan. She has traveled throughout the world to speak about violence in her home country, as well as women’s leadership in political, economic, and social spheres.
Working directly with mothers of radicalized youths and utilizing her detailed knowledge of the Quran, Mossarat Qadeem has rescued hundreds of young men from exploitation by extremists. Ms. Qadeem is Founder and Executive Director of PAIMAN Alumni Trust (Paiman = “Promise”), a nonprofit group promoting sociopolitical and economic empowerment of marginalized Pakistanis. With PAIMAN, she established the country’s first center for conflict transformation and peacebuilding, which has helped thousands of youth and women across the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Khyber Pukhtunkwa province prevent and resolve conflict. In 2013, Ms. Quadeem served as interim Minister for Information, Culture and Education in Khyber Pukhtunkwa. Ms. Qadeem is also the national coordinator of Amn-o-Nisa, a coalition of women leaders throughout Pakistan striving to moderate violent extremism and promote understanding among diverse ethnic, religious, and political groups.
Senator Nuzhat Sadiq was named one of the top performers in Pakistan’s parliament by the Free and Fair Election Network for her consistent sponsorship of key legislation. Sen. Sadiq represents Punjab province as a member of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, the current majority party. Previously, as a member of the National Assembly from 2008 to 2012, Sen. Sadiq helped found the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus. The Caucus has been instrumental in authoring and advocating for gender-sensitive legislation, such as the 2011 bill aimed at preventing acid attacks against women.
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