We understand that mainstream and social media is always full of depressing news. But that does not mean Pakistan is devoid of proud moments.
In 2017, we overcame a lot of hurdles and set precedents which will push the country towards progress
Let us review the year and see what we have achieved so far.
The Senate Standing Committee on Interior approved the Child Marriage Restraint Bill reconsidering the minimum age for marriage for young girls from 16 to 18. PPP Senator Sehar Kamran pushed the bill because she wanted the conditions for young girls in this country to change, especially those who are exploited as a result of these laws.
Khadija was stabbed 23 times by the son of an influential lawyer. Local police registered her case and he was arrested on charges of murder but granted bail after a period of two months because of the influence of his father. However, Lahore High Court Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah directed the court to stop further delay in the decision of the case and conclude the matter in 30 days. After multiple threats, and in court hurling of abuses; the accused was finally sentenced to seven years in prison.
This was a great precedent set by Pakistani courts in order to establish that justice is not a far fetched idea for the common man in Pakistan.
This year, we made a lot of progress in terms of being a more accepting society. Transgenders are often overlooked and considered sub-human, but this year we recognised their existence and tried to make it a bit comfortable. Three major achievements were unlocked in this case.
- The first ever CNIC was issued to a transgender person with gender identity “X”.
- The same was applied to issuance of passports to transgenders.
- Lastly, we also decided to count them in the national census. This is something which we had not considered doing before.
All of these steps show how we are pushing ourselves to be more open and kind.
4. Acid Burn And Crime Bill
The Acid Burn and Crime Bill was moved by MNA Marvi Memon. It aims to ensure punishment for those who indulge in acid attacks and it also ensures help and support for the victims.
“The bill offers free medical treatment and rehabilitation for acid burn victims. The bill legally binds medical practitioners to inform law enforcement agencies and take photographic evidence of injuries in acid attacks. It also provides interim monetary relief to victims for expenses and losses incurred, besides penalising abettors. The bill also outlines a process for conducting trials of accused in the shortest possible time. It also ensures protection for witnesses, provision of legal aid and financial support for victims and their dependents.”
5. Census 2017
After a gap of 19 long years, the government machinery finally got together to conduct a census in the country. This is an important exercise in any country as it highlights the population trends, the demographics and the internal and external migration. This is definitely one of those events which the government must be commended for. This will open up certain arenas which we need to pay attention to.
6. Polio eradication program
In the last year, due to global pressure, Pakistan was pushed to introduce a rigorous polio eradication program. Policy makers devised effective and implementable policies. And the issue was dealt with seriously. And in just a span of 24 months, the result is evident.
In 2016, only 20 cases of polio were reported. The biggest success by far is that only 2 cases have been reported in the current year.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on World Polio Day, this year, announced that it is very possible that 2017 might witness the end of the polio virus.
7. Hindu Marriage Bill
The Hindu Marriage Bill passed this year aims to help Hindu women get documentary proof of their marriage. Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani said, “It was difficult for married Hindu women to prove that they were married, which was one of the key tools for miscreants involved in forced conversion. Such laws will help discourage forced conversions and streamline the Hindu community after the marriage of individuals.”
8. Reduction in terror attacks
According to the Global Terrorism Index, terror attacks in Pakistan have significantly reduced. Pakistan, which was previously on 4th on the index, has moved to number 5.
“Pakistan recorded a decrease in the number of people killed by terrorism with a 12 per cent reduction to 956 deaths. This is the lowest number of deaths since 2006,” report added.
9. Improvement in corruption ranking
Pakistan, this year, scored a two point improvement on the Transparency International’s 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index and moved to 116th position. This means that relatively less corruption took place in public offices.
10. Rights of Access to Information Bill
The Rights of Access to Information Bill allows the government to be held accountable to the common man, in matters of corruption, transparency, inefficiency, besides ensuring good governance, sound economy and the respect for human rights.
“Any Pakistani citizen can make a request for seeking information regarding public offices by paying some amount, which will be fixed later. The principal officer in these departments will have to provide the applicant with the relevant information within three to 10 days.”
The government fulfilled its promise of doing away with the energy crisis. There is an addition of 8694 MW of energy to the grid, which has fulfilled the energy demands of the country. The national grid now has surplus energy, with more than 60 percent consumers being load shedding free completely.
Pakistan becomes free of load shedding at the strike of midnight tonight! As an eye witness to the struggle, adding over 8,500 MW to the national grid was a Herculean ask. Put your political differences aside and look forward to the bright future of this country! pic.twitter.com/DLA5J7TpjF
— Umar Saif (@umarsaif) December 3, 2017
The situation might not be perfect, but slowly and surely we are getting there. These few steps are a proof of how progress is taking place in certain pockets of the society, and these pockets are the rays of hope we all cling to.
Cover image via: dawn.com