Karachi    -          The inaugural edition of Women Leaders Award held at the Governor House, honoured and celebrated 11 iconic women from Pakistan and abroad and a dynamic man for their contributions and achievement in the fields of diplomacy, finance, social work, healthcare, adventure sports, human rights, journalism and women’s rights.

The awards ceremony was graced by Dr ArifAlvi, President Islamic Republic of Pakistan, HE Paul W Jones, the US Ambassador to Pakistan, honourable consul generals, Governor Sindh Imran Ismail, dignitaries and crème de la crème of the entertainment industry of Pakistan.

While addressing the attendees, Ms Siddiqui said, “The reason for this event is that we recognize the contributions made by women in society the world over, celebrate their stories, share the lessons they learned after crossing each milestone, and most importantly inspire the younger generation to go beyond these milestones.” Chief Guest of the event, Dr ArifAlvi President Islamic Republic of Pakistan while addressing the attendees said, “The Quaid e Azam once said that nations cannot progress without women working side by side with the men. We have witnessed that when given the opportunity women work twice as hard as men.” Hosted by Mira Sethi, the awards ceremony began with the first award being presented to mountaineer SaminaBaig, Pakistan’s first female mountaineer in recognition of her tremendous achievements in adventure sports.

The second award of the evening was given to JalilaHaider, the first female attorney of Hazara community by Sania Saeed in recognition of her selfless devotion to women and children’s rights and her outstanding work with local communities to provide opportunities to vulnerable women and children.

Barrister Khadija Siddiqi received her award from Mahira Khan in recognition of her bravery and determination to stand tall against a powerful and corrupt opposition and unsupportive society.

The next recipient was NargesAbyar, the acclaimed Iranian film director who received her award from Madiha Saeed and ZebaBakhtiar in recognition of her contributions for sensitively highlighting the plight of women and children caused by society, war and radicalism in her films and also for defying the war genre’s conventions by featuring female characters that rejected the gender norms expected of them.

The first segment of the awards was followed by a special performance of singing sensation Sajjad Ali and Zaw Ali who enthralled the audiences with their soulful voices.

Ace actor Bushra Ansari was next to receive her award from AsimaHaq and BuntoKazmi in recognition of her years of contributions to television and cinema.

The next award was given to Mary Robinson, the first woman President of Ireland and a forceful advocate for gender equality, women’s participation in peace-building and human dignity.

The last award of the night was presented to MaleehaLodhi for her brilliant diplomatic career and contributions in giving Pakistan a positive profile at the UN as Pakistan’s former Ambassador and Permanent Representative. The award was presented by Sultana Siddiqui. The programme concluded with a special performance by HadiqaKiyani