LAHORE - Intensive and comprehensive efforts for women empowerment are the need of the hour. They must be financially independent and socially strong, as it would build self-confidence enabling them to play a positive role for a developed Pakistan. It was stated by PML-N MNA Shireen Arshad Khan while talking to The Nation on Friday after her return from Paris where she participated in the annual international fair for entrepreneurs. She was nominated by the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) to attend the event. A registered designer in 22 kt gold and dresses, Shireen is a member of local chamber of commerce, TDAP Women Entrepreneur Committee and Export Association of Pakistan. Shireen said her work had been widely appreciated during the fair and her stall was awarded grade one by the organisers. She dispelled the impression that the PML-N did not attach importance to the women issues and said Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had made efforts for women empowerment being a priority. She also pointed to the help chief minister Punjab was lending to the widows without shelter. She cited herself as an example, saying she had remained an entrepreneur for the last 16 years and that was why Shahbaz Sharif made her a member of Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (TEVTA). Shireen said revolutionary changes were being brought to ensure women empowerment. For this purpose, new syllabus was being introduced from September onwards, as professional skills alone could not ensure developing students and acquainting them with modern techniques was a prerequisite, she added. Spoken English was also compulsory now along with self-grooming of the girls. In the final year each girl student would have to make her dowry, she said. She urged the civil society and business community to help them in the task. She said the placement centres at all the institutes were active and would ensure proper employment for all the students. Shireen informed that she had presented Rs 10 million from her grant as MNA to establish an Expo Centre in Bahawalpur, which would be administered by the TEVTA. She hoped that the initiative would help in reducing poverty level among womenfolk by providing them space to export their product. The outspoken MNAs two bills have also been passed during the last session of the National Assembly. One is about the working of Baitul Maal and the other is about the family courts. The first bill is about check and balance in distribution of funds through Baitul Maal. Every party would be given representation to ensure check and balance. The other bill is aimed at timely justice for women. The family courts would now have to decide the cases in a fixed period of time, she said. According to Shireen, the businesses across the country are experiencing the slump down. The business has been widely affected and the designers are moving abroad to open outlets there, as the local consumption is hit badly. For example I used to design only in gold but now I have also started designing silver jewellery, she revealed. She expressed her dismay and despair at the happenings in the troubled Swat. She was of the view that the militants real motives had been exposed as they had started activities outside the valley. She was also confident that the army was competent enough to deal with the situation and appreciated the steps taken by the government in this regard. She pointed to the Musharraf regimes follies for creating the present mess and said to continue his rule he allowed the USA to interfere in the domestic affairs. She demanded to bring to Musharraf before the court of law and trial him for the crimes he committed.