ISLAMABAD (APP): President Asif Ali Zardari on Friday said public service institutions would be strengthened to meet education and health needs of a growing population.
Addressing a certificate distribution ceremony arranged by National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) here at President House, he said Zulfikar Ali Bhutto saw the dream of empowering working classes and women and her daughter Benazir Bhutto carried forward that vision.Now it fell on his shoulders to fulfill that dream and he would do that with the support of people, he added.
President Zardari along with his daughters Bakhtawar and Asifa distributed certificates among the newly literate women, 500 of whom came from various districts of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhawa province.
He said he brought his daughters to the event to make them realise that they should use education for some big cause to benefit common man who works hard and sheds his sweat in the service of society.
The President pledged to make institutions like NCHD strong as part of an effort to bring benefits of education and health to all.
He said role of mothers in educating their children was very important as in that way they know what their kids were reading.
Benazir Bhutto used to put aside all her important engagements to teach her children, he said adding his government was committed to securing the future of coming generations.
Zardari said individuals make nations and everybody had to work together to take care of the increasing needs of an expanding population which was 75 million in 1985 but now it has risen to 170 million.
The President said NCHD along with Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) has great potential to take poor out of the poverty trap.
“Two years ago NCHD was about to be disbanded. I had then opposed the idea of disbanding it,” he said adding NCHD was performing a useful function and it should continue to work for the uplift of marginalized sections of society.
Recalling the martyrdom of Benazir Bhutto, he said, “people at that time became overwhelmed with emotions but we told them that it was not the fault of Pakistan but of few evil minded people.”
Zardari said they decided to take revenge for the killing of Benazir Bhutto by working for the welfare of people. He said for Zulfikar Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto politics was like worship.
The President said Pakistan Peoples Party has to its credit many firsts on the road of empowerment of poor and women emancipation.
He said women in Pakistan have faced great obstacles in fight for their rights and their story has been a story of hurdles and successes. From Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah to Mohtarma Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, the President said, it has been a long but successful struggle for the rights of women in all fields of national life.
The President said genuine development anywhere is not possible without the participation of women.
He said women empowerment and emancipation can be done only through education and democracy. Education alone will help create conditions where women are empowered, he added.
The President announced Rs. 5000 each for the newly literate women.
Advisor to Prime Minister on Education Sardar Assef Ahmed Ali said Benazir Bhutto had a vision for the empowerment of poor people especially women and wanted fruits of democracy to reach everybody.
He said the government was committed to Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and wanted to raise allocations on education to 5-6 percent of GDP.
Chairperson National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) Nafisa Shah said that the organization was running 19,000 literacy centres and 16,000 feeder schools across the country.
NCHD intended to make literate 10 million men, women and children in its centres during a three period by engaging about 100,000 teachers.
The government has declared 2010 as year of literacy.
She said they also teach students about hygiene, safe motherhood and human rights. On the occasion, a documentary was shown and three women came came to the dais to tell about their efforts to become literate with the aid of NCHD.