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Women, Peace and Security
On April 14-16, 2012, the EastWest Institute, in partnership with the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (WPC) of the National Assembly of Pakistan, arranged for the first official delegation of Pakistani women parliamentarians to visit Afghanistan. This ground-breaking visit is described in the publication Women, Peace and Security, released today in anticipation of the institute's annual awards dinner honoring two of the parliamentarians who took part in this dialogue. On September 27th, EWI will present its distinguished leadership award to Dr. Fehmida Mirza, the first woman speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan, and Ms. Shinkai Karokhail, a renowned women’s rights activist and member of the Afghan Parliament.
Over the course of their visit, the parliamentarians discussed issues related to reconciliation with the Taliban and regional economic cooperation with Hamid Karzai, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan; Masoom Stanikzai, Advisor to the President on Internal Security and Head of the Secretariat for Afghanistan's High Peace Council; Zalmai Rassoul, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan; Haji Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi, the Speaker of the Lower House; and members of the Wolesi Jirga Commission on Women’s Affairs, Civil Society and Human Rights.
In the meeting with President Karzai, the Afghan leader declared: “This initiative is of immense importance to both countries and a great sign of a better future.” He called for more contacts between women parliamentarians in both countries, saying that such visits are “instrumental in strengthening of trust-building between the two nations.”