By Sonia Ahmed
TORONTO: Toronto-based Sonia Ahmed, who pioneered the Miss Pakistan World beauty pageant more than a decade ago, is a woman who feels strongly about issues facing her native Pakistan which on Wednesday installed Nawaz Sharif once again as the Prime Minister.
Here is her 7-point, to-do list for the Pakistani premier who is third time lucky to occupy the top executive position in his country.
1: Change the tough laws for rape of women:
According to the Sharia Law, there should be two witnesses to rape. And because of this, victims end up having no proof and landing in jail themselves. If Sharif is serious, he needs to change the laws pertaining to rape. He also needs to make punishment for rape, sexual abuse and sexual assault very severe.
2: Give incentives for women’s education at all ages:
Pakistani women represent half the nation’s population and wealth and very few leaders have explored that section. Sharif should make education for women of all ages his priority. Also another very important point to note here is that co-education should be encouraged, so that boys and girls learn to exist in harmony.
3: Load shedding:
It is one of the super problems Pakistan is facing today, and Sharif must make sure that this issue is resolved in the coming years.
4: Allow grants and incentives for Pakistani movies & entertainment industry:
The arts and entertainment segment of Pakistan has suffered since the 1980s and that is because of leaders with radical beliefs stopped all forms of entertainments, as they believed it to be “haram.” This theory has changed, but needs to be supported by proper grants, and incentives for the people to explore.
5: Work towards preserving Pakistan’s cultural heritage:
The Buddhist and Jain Temples in Pakistan need to be preserved, as well as used as a means of attracting tourism. The old Hindu temples, which are valuable assets for the country, need to be saved from destruction. Pakistan’s Mughal gardens, tombs and many other monuments need to be reconstructed.
6: Secular Pakistan:
This may be a tough one for Nawaz Sharif, and I am pretty sure that he would never advocate this philosophy that Mohammad Ali Jinnah sought! But it is very important for all religions of Pakistan whether Sikhs, Hindus, Christians and Parsis to live in peace. Shia and Sunnis and other Muslim sects need to exist in harmony.
7: Arms Control:
This may be new, and unheard of but Pakistan needs to be disarmed, which means no civilian with the exception of the army and police should have any arms. This needs to happen by way of buying arms from the civilians and enforcing law that ban carrying or owning weapons.
Get cracking, Mian Saab.