"We shall persist in our efforts to comprehensively defeat the forces of repression through effective measures both at policy and practical levels," he said while participating in a general debate.
"We also look forward to the cooperation of our international partners in this regard. Together we must succeed," he added Malik, who is secretary of the Ministry of Human Rights.
He said Pakistan's Constitution guaranteed women’s full participation in all spheres of national life, adding that significant steps had been taken to eliminate discrimination. Today, Pakistani women participated in agriculture, business, the Armed Forces and policy-making. Pakistan also had the honour of having the first-ever female prime minister in the Muslim world as also the first-ever speaker of the National Assembly, Malik said.
Pakistan’s pursuit of women’s empowerment focused on reducing the feminization of poverty, ending violence against women and introducing legislation to empower women. In terms of legislation, he drew attention to a bill passed in 2012 on the National Commission on the Status of Women, which provided for that body’s complete financial and administrative autonomy.
In other areas, he said, Pakistan was promoting income-generating activities for marginalized women through the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) offering direct support to rural women, which sought to improve their employability. It also provided interest-free loans. Under another initiative, he said, Pakistan had distributed land to landless farmers.
Despite such efforts, the Pakistani delegate said female literacy remained low, especially in rural areas.
While the “despicable” attack against Malala Yousafzai had shaken the world’s conscience, he said it also had shown the resilience of Pakistani society to such forces of despotism. To honour Malala’s struggle for the right of girls to education, 10 November had been declared “Malala Day”, Malik told delegates from around the world. The year 2013 has also been declared the Year of the Girl Child.