Pakistan will host the 7th meeting of the women speakers from around the world in November this year.
This was announced by the secretary general of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) here in Panama City at the conclusion of the 124th General Assembly of the IPU, according to the message received from Panama. It will be for the first time that Pakistan will be given an opportunity to host a prestigious IPU event of such a grand stature ever-since the country became member of this international body comprising parliaments of the world. The IPU has currently 157 member countries. It may be recalled that Dr Fehmida Mirza had made the offer for hosting the women speakers from around the world at the 118th General Assembly of the IPU, held in South Africa in April 2008, soon after she had taken office in March the same year. The offer was repeated in Vienna in 2009 and then in Berne in 2010. However, in view of the security concerns, there remained some hesitation on the part of member states in accepting the offer. Nevertheless, it was the personal pursuance and lobbying of Fehmida that the women leaders finally agreed to meet in Islamabad in 2011.
The meeting, to be held in November, will draw 37 women speakers from different parliaments of Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, South America and Asia. There are no women speakers in the Australian continent. Asia has the least number of women speakers with the speakers coming from Pakistan, India, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Europe has 15, Africa has nine while the Caribbean and the Latin American states have eight women speakers.