Third Kashmir HUM Women Leaders Awards honor women, man

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The third edition of the country’s most coveted women’s award, Kashmir HUM Women Leaders Award was held at the Jinnah Convention Center in Islamabad, under the international women’s day theme “to make the cross and break the bias”.

The event honoured and celebrated 11 iconic women and a dynamic man from Pakistan and abroad for their contributions and achievements in the fields of social work, healthcare, judiciary, human rights, science, education, art and architecture.

The awards ceremony was graced by Dr Arif Alvi, President Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Canadian High Commissioner Wendy Gilmour, British High Commissioner Christian Turner, Minister of Science and Technology Shibli Faraz, Federal Minister for IPC Fehmida Mirza and other dignitaries.

The event started with the national anthem after which hosts of the evening Ahsan Khan and Mira Sethi invited President HUM Network Sultana Siddiqui to address the audience. After thanking President Arif Alvi and the honourable guests for gracing the evening, Ms Siddiqui said, “This is an evening to honour and acknowledge change-makers and leaders from Pakistan and abroad for being a beacon of hope for women across the globe.

I would also like to acknowledge the commitment of President Arif Alvi and First Lady Samina Alvi for their support and encouragement for this platform since its initiation. The women being acknowledged here today come from diversified backgrounds. They have not only achieved great personal milestones but have also contributed to their communities and countries.”

Ms Siddiqui also requested the President to bring forth domestic violence and child abuse bills in the national assembly and requested the current government to increase women representation in the parliament and national assembly.

Chief guest of the event, Dr Arif Alvi President Islamic Republic of Pakistan while addressing the attendees said, “Changing the centuries old traditions and norms of discouraging women from pursuing their goals and ambitions and violence against women are hard tasks but it can be changed with strong will, determination and re-education.

Though government is responsible for providing preventive measures in cases of violence against women, it is the people who need to step up when they witness such atrocities being committed.”

President Arif Alvi also stressed on the need to provide opportunities to enhance the skillset of women working in different sectors.

The awards ceremony commenced with the hosts acknowledging the advisory committee of HWLA Maleeha Lodhi, Ameena Saiyid, Rehana Hakeem, Amin Hashwani and Dr Huma Baqai. The first award of the evening was presented to Muniba Mazari, an artist, humanitarian, global motivational speaker and Pakistan’s first wheelchair-bound female TV host and model.

Ms Mazari is Pakistan’s First UN Women’s Ambassador. She has also been ranked in the Forbes 30 under 30 list and was also in the list of “The World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims” in the years 2019 and 2020. The award was presented by Bushra Ansari.

The second award of the evening was presented by Momina Duraid and Dr Christian Turner to Syeda Ghulam Fatima. Known as the ‘Iron Lady’ of Pakistan, she has worked tirelessly in helping many break the shackles of slavery. Ms. Fatima has freed and rehabilitated more than 85,000 bonded labourers in the country.

She has been acknowledged by the US Department of State and has also been awarded the Clinton Global Citizen Award and was one of the four finalists for the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity. The next award was presented to Dr Wardatul Amani Wan Salim from Malaysia.

A Ph.D in Biomedical Engineering at the Purdue University of Minnesota, she was the first person to come up with the novel idea of the first ever portable biosensor with which anyone can assess the quality of drinking water for harmful bacteria.

In 2012, Thora Halstead Young Investigator awarded Dr Amani on the Cell-Electrophysiology Lab-on-a-chip and in 2015, Dr Amani was awarded the L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science. This was followed by a tribute to the legendary singer Reshma Gee, a global music icon and a genius, by none other than the extraordinary Sanam Marvi and Asim Azhar.

The next award was presented by Ms Fehmida Mirza, Federal Minister for IPC and Mr Usman Elahi Malik, CEO Punjab Oil Mills to Dr Rozina Karmaliani for her exemplary work in the field of healthcare and for taking the field of nursing to a whole new level for the first time in the history of Pakistan.

Dr Karmaliani was the first Pakistani nurse to obtain a Ph.D in nursing from United States of America and is one of the key leaders and the most prominent figure in starting Bachelors, Masters and Ph.D degrees of nursing in Pakistan. The next award was presented by Barrister Khadija Siddiqui and Mr. Muhammad Shahnawaz, Director HR United Industries Limited to Maryam Bibi for the outstanding work of her organization Khwendo Kor which means “sisters’ home”.

Through her organization, Maryam Bibi helps oppressed women who live in the remote areas of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, in particular in the territories known as FATA. The next award was presented to Ms Jacquiln Novogratz, founder of Acumen. Acumen has invested $146 million of patient capital in 151 companies, bringing basic services like affordable education, healthcare, clean water, energy and sanitation to 331 million people across Africa, Latin America, South Asia, and the United States of America.

She joined the ceremony via a video message and the award was received by Ms Sara Nisar, Fellow Associate – Acumen on her behalf from Ms Fiza Farhan, Global Strategic Development Advisor on Women Empowerment and Mr Mian Shahzad. Next up was a political satire titled ‘Majboor Sahafi and Shauqiya Siysatdani’ by Bushra Ansari and Yasir Hussain.

The next award was presented to Dr Azra Raza for her outstanding contribution in the field of healthcare, particularly her cancer research initiatives and programmes. Dr Azra says she is on the threshold of discovering the method of identifying the first cancer cell to prevent cancer. She thanked the management of HWLA via a video message.

Yasmeen Lari, Pakistan’s first female architect and CEO of Heritage Foundation was awarded for her conservational work on several World Heritage Sites at Makli and Lahore Fort, as well as 19th  century buildings in Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar. As per the tradition of HWLA, the next award was awarded to a man, Dr Shershah Syed, a beacon of hope for thousands of women who have gone through gynaecological diseases, the cure for which they thought never existed in this side of the world.

The award was presented by Ms Wendy Gilmour, Canadian High Commissioner and Mr Duraid Qureshi, CEO Hum Network Ltd. Up next was a scintillating musical performance by Haider Mustehsan and the king of bhangra Abrar ul Haq.

The last segment of the ceremony began with the first award present by Sultana Siddiqui to Noorjehan Bilgrami, an artist, researcher, educationist and the principal curator of the Pakistan Pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020. The next award was presented to Fiza Shah for her work in empowering underprivileged children by providing them free education.

Her organization Development in Literacy has helped thousands of children across the country to fulfil their biggest dream of getting an education and many have started their careers as doctors, engineers, teachers, bankers, professors, business and IT professionals due to this. The award was presented by First Lady Samina Alvi, who appreciated Fiza’s work.

The last award of the evening was presented by President Arif Alvi to Justice Majida Rizvi, who has the distinction of being appointed Pakistan’s first woman judge to the high court and has worked relentlessly for the rights of women and children in the country.

Justice Majida Rizvi has also served as the first chairperson of the National Commission on the Status of Women, and has undertaken historic work on the review of discriminatory provisions pertaining to women’s right to assets, women’s employment in the public sector and the Qisas and Diyat laws.

The awards ceremony will be televised in March 2022 on HUM globally. HWLA aims to recognize and honour the contributions and achievements of iconic women from Pakistan and around the world who are change makers in their respective fields and a symbol and source of hope, courage, determination and inspiration for women across the globe. These iconic women are mentors and role models for girls who aspire to be achievers.

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