Making history: Vernal parliamentarian set to shine on political stage

Published: May 30, 2013

When asked about her nomination for an MNA seat, Gulalai thanked party chief Imran Khan and the PTI. PHOTO:Insaf.pk

SHABQADAR: Aisha Gulalai from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) has become the youngest member of national assembly (MNA) to be nominated on a reserved seat for women.

Before her, the late Mehrunnisa Afridi of the Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) and Hajra Tariq Aziz of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) were also nominated from the tribal regions on reserved seats. However, neither Afridi nor Aziz were as vocal as Gulalai. Nor did they have the strong social background and experience of national and international forums that Gulalai can boast of.

Gulalai started her career as a human rights activist from South Waziristan. PPPP was inclined to give her a party ticket in the 2008 elections, but she could not compete due to the age stipulation.

Later, she joined the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and was nominated as a member for the party’s central committee. Gulalai then contested for a seat reserved for women on a PTI ticket in the 2013 elections.

Like Dr Shireen Mazari, she is also a critic of drone strikes as she herself hails from South Waziristan – a region regularly bombed by unmanned predators. She is also among those human rights activists who condemned the attack on Malala Yousafzai, terming it an assault on the freedom of women.

When asked about her nomination for an MNA seat, Gulalai thanked party chief Imran Khan and the PTI. Gulalai also lauded Badam Zari, a woman who made history by contesting the election from NA-44, Bajaur.

Regarding drone attacks, Gulalai said they were the main reason for militancy as each kill resulted in the production of several militants bent on ending the loss of life in the tribal belt.

The MNA also gave her opinion on peace talks with the Taliban by asserting a jirga representing all political parties, tribal elders and the army could negotiate with the militants. “Since the Taliban have offered a peace deal, the federal government should step forward,” said Gulalai, adding she would be happy to lend her services in this regard as she had knowledge of tribal traditions.

Gulalai maintained she would raise the issue of reserved seats for women from Fata in the National Assembly. “Fata has no such quota, and I will raise the issue on the floor of the house as this is discriminatory against women,” she promised.

“Fata should be demarcated as a separate province with its own governor and chief minister,” urged Gulalai while sharing her views on the tribal belt’s designation. She added Fata’s natural resources should be explored and that the PTI had proposed a local body election system which should be implemented in the region.

Gulalai claimed tribal people had a great deal of potential. She cited the example of Maria Toorpakai, a female Pakistani squash star who also hails from South Waziristan. “But we need education on an emergency basis,” stressed Gulalai. “Especially, since people in the tribal areas want to send their women to school. We also need to focus on higher education with more universities.”

Correction: The earlier version of the story incorrectly stated ‘elected’ instead of ‘nominated’. The error is regretted.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 30th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (24)

  • Falcon
    May 30, 2013 - 3:10AM

    Best of luck Aisha. You are inspiration for girls across Pakistan.

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  • PakPower
    May 30, 2013 - 3:15AM

    This is PTI….while other parties give away reserved womens’ seat to relatives and spouses, PTI looks for merit.

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  • Xulfjan
    May 30, 2013 - 3:30AM

    she is the sign of the unlimited energy in our tribal people waiting to be unleashed!! Such courageous people are not just the hope for tribal but rest of Pakistan!!

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  • John
    May 30, 2013 - 4:27AM

    This news made my day.More power to women of my country and particulary to those from the tribal areas.Please work hard during your tenure and try to make a difference in the lives of people you represent.Pakistan Zindabad

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  • SANAA
    May 30, 2013 - 4:29AM

    WellDone PTI & Imran Khan By Giving Us Representation . Thank You!!!!!!!!

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  • Adil Uddin
    May 30, 2013 - 6:46AM

    Wasn’t Imran Khan a clean shaved Taliban and look Aisha Gulalai isn’t wearing Burqa either….so how come a lunatic like Imran Khan allows such women among his party’s ranks. Where are all haters of IK who said that he’s going to threaten women empowerment in KPK? Perhaps it’s still going to get worse for PTI since now those who call IK a Jewish/Zionist agent will take their turn rather than fake liberals.

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  • BILAL
    May 30, 2013 - 7:04AM

    Love you girl, Love PTI.

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  • Naeem Khan Manhattan,Ks
    May 30, 2013 - 7:48AM

    Congratulations Aisha Gulalai, you deserve it, I recall several years ago when a National Geographic reporter did a story on Tribal Areas, he asked this young kid about his future plans, the kid replied by saying he wanted to become the Prime Minister of Pakistan. That was a spirit by a tribal kids and who knows it could come true for Aisha Gulalai, I surely hope so. Kudos to PTI for giving her the ticket, it shows that eventually PTI will bring in young generation and change Pakistan for the best.

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  • k. Salim Jahangir
    May 30, 2013 - 7:56AM

    Three cheers for our daughter,the daughter of Pakistan AISHA GULALAI…….Good luck & God be with you!!!!!!

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  • Naeem Khan Manhattan,Ks
    May 30, 2013 - 7:59AM

    To, Aisha Gulalai, My grand daughter Kortney graduated last month ( May,2013) to become a Registered Nurse and I wrote this to her and I would like to say the same to you who is almost my grand daughter’s age. “Be brave and don’t limit yourself , in your life opportunities will open doors for you even if you are not sure of yourself , take it, It could be for the better”. May God bless you.

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  • Mujahid Torwali
    May 30, 2013 - 9:40AM

    That’s the reality what Gulalai expressed. Rest of the world knows Fata and the other tribel areas because of terrorism, they dont know that there are people like Gulalai who want to live a free life from all the orthodox boundaries, i myself encourage the young lady from Fata and appreciate her work as a social activist previously…..

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  • MAD
    May 30, 2013 - 9:54AM

    Just for information of everyone Maria Toorpakai is the real sister of Ayesha Gulalai. One of the other MNA’s nominated on reserved seats by PTI is Sajida who started the womens chamber of commerce in KP.

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  • May 30, 2013 - 10:12AM

    Brave young lady. May Allah keep her safe.

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  • Anon
    May 30, 2013 - 12:50PM

    “Regarding drone attacks, Gulalai said they were the main reason for militancy as each kill resulted in the production of several militants bent on ending the loss of life in the tribal belt.”

    “The MNA also gave her opinion on peace talks with the Taliban by asserting a jirga representing all political parties, tribal elders and the army could negotiate with the militants. “Since the Taliban have offered a peace deal, the federal government should step forward,” said Gulalai, adding she would be happy to lend her services in this regard as she had knowledge of tribal traditions.”

    But what would she know… she only lives there. It’s not like she’s a columnist for an English newspaper.Recommend

  • Pakistani
    May 30, 2013 - 2:10PM

    It is a very big achievement and I would like to congratulate her.
    But i will never support PTI because it is a party of hypocrites. On one hand they give ticket to youth, on the other they snatch rights of women by signing the agreement barring women from voting in parts of Lower Dir. Can any PTI supporter answer me regarding this?
    For detail report and proof here’s the link: http://dawn.com/2013/05/16/more-agreements-surface-barring-women-from-voting/

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  • PTI Mardan
    May 30, 2013 - 4:15PM

    *“Fata should be demarcated as a separate province with its own governor and chief minister,” *

    This is a stupid idea.For example,how how is it practical for some one from Bajaur or Mohmand to go to North Waziristan or Kurram for their govt related business rather than Peshawar which is much closer to them.If given an option I m sure the tribal agencies d like to join KP rather than form their own province.

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  • MAD
    May 30, 2013 - 5:25PM

    @Pakistani: Im sure youre aware that if an agreement is signed by someone who is not a party office bearer and it is not stamped than such an agreement is invalid. That is the law. I could pretty much scribble that on my own and you all would go around yelling agreement agreement. BTW every party including PMLN, ANP, and PPP has signed it.

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  • Come on PTI!
    May 30, 2013 - 5:34PM

    Aeisha Gulalai is not from South Waziristan (per se). Her family was based in Bannu before moving to Peshawar. Her father is/was a teacher in Badaber and not Darra Adamkhel as they often claim. He also was not a tribal elder or notable! Her sister is Maria Turpakai who is a ranked woman’s squash player, who applied for asylum and moved to Canada after receiving “threats” from the “Taliban”. Aeisha Gulalai presented the US consulate with flowers after the WTC attacks, so they’ve been playing this racket for a while. They’ve conned and deceived many people before and their stories are filled with loopholes and inconsistencies! She used to be a fierce proponent of Gen Musharraf’s policies and was a member of his APML, before joining the PPP and then subsequently the PTI. They’re exploiting the poor people of Waziristan and their perils for their own personal gains! Gulalai has no clue about anything, her statements alone make that clear.

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  • amanat ali
    May 30, 2013 - 9:10PM

    I do’nt think she will play any positive role in the Assembly. She is still immatured and does not know even the main problems facing the country and how these problems would be solved. Nomination of women for reserved seats in the assembly is against the democracy. Political parties nominate women of their own choice. Recoed shows that in the past nominated women did not play any positive role in the assembly. Reserved seats should be immediately abolished and only those women who are elected by the people through direct vote has the right of representation in the assemblies.

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  • Sidster
    May 30, 2013 - 11:32PM

    Brave Women, Congratulation to PTI for bring change into the Political culture of Pakistan by selecting a Reserve Candidate to represent the tribal agency.

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  • Shams Momand
    May 31, 2013 - 11:39AM

    Sure,I know Aisha since 1996…… she is outspoken and aware about the Tribal issues.But unfortunately she is a little ambitious that’s why she change her mind so frequently….. therefore in the last few years she remain in PPPP,APML,and now in PTI… three years ago she was very active to establish her own political party for tribal area……. But later on she feel that it is not joke to establish and run a part around the country.Although all the best she has courage,knowledge, and now the plate farm…….come forward and bring the change…….Good luck Aisha.

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  • tahir
    Jun 1, 2013 - 2:01PM

    i failed to understand that the lady who was groomed under the shadow of Pervaz musharraf,ch shujat ,asif zardari and lately joined pti and got the mna seat and ironically the media projected her as the lioness of fata.i would request the media that how a political opportunist like her can serve the cause of Fata.Recommend

  • k. Salim Jahangir
    Jun 1, 2013 - 9:56PM

    Is there any one amongst us without a stigma? Come on, give this young lady a break.

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  • Sadist
    Jun 1, 2013 - 11:08PM

    @Come on PTI!:
    Can you sadist Pakistanis spare anybody? just anybody?
    Conspiracy theories about anyone & everyone who happens to achieve something.
    I bet you would have done so with Jinnah had he been alive today. Shame

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