LAHORE: Parliamentarians from all four provinces joined hands to launch a campaign for the promotion and protection of civil and political rights of women and minorities. The announcement of the campaign was made at a multi-party summit organised by Democracy Reporting International (DRI) in collaboration with the Punjab Youth Parliamentary Caucus on Thursday. The multi-party summits, which will be held in all four provinces, are part of DRI’s initiative to facilitate inter-provincial and multi-party dialogue on civil and political rights of women and minorities. Members of provincial assemblies from Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PMLQ), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Muttahida Qoumi Movement (MQM), National Party (NP) and Pakhtunkhwa Mili Awami Party (PkMAP) from the four provinces attended the summit. Lawmakers from leading political parties formulated draft campaigns for increasing the representation of women and minorities on decision-making positions in core committees of political parties, government institutions and in elected bodies. Moreover, they developed draft advocacy plans for reviewing the system for reserved seats in local governments, so that seat holders have direct links with and are accountable to constituents. All participating members of the provincial assemblies agreed that it was imperative for all political parties to work together beyond party lines for civil and political rights of women and minorities. PML-N’s Amna from KP Assembly said that all parties agree on key issues related to rights of women and minorities, so nothing should prevent them from working on these issues. National Party’s MPA from Balochistan, Dr Shama Ishaq said that there is need to improve political participation of women and minorities in all elected houses, such as local governments, provincial assemblies and the Federal Parliament. Therefore, political parties and elected members need to work together to build consensus for reforms on these issues, she stressed. Dr Nosheen Hamid of PTI from Punjab Assembly said the multi-party forums initiated by the DRI will help develop such consensus among political parties on the key reforms to improve political participation of women and minorities in all provinces. Speaking on the occasion, DRI Team Leader Hassan Nasir said that the summit aimed at developing the capacity of parliamentarians and members of political parties to effectively advance and advocate for reforms to enhance the political participation of women and minorities in parliament and within their political parties. Dr Nausheen Hamid, Raheela Anwar, Lalchand Ukrani, Naila Muneer, Sardar Sooran Singh, Dina Naz, Amna Sardar, Dr Shama Ishaq, William Jan Barkat and Mary Gill were also present among others.