ISLAMABAD: August 13 was a milestone moment for Pakistan when the third democratic transition took place in the country’s chequered history. But unsurprisingly the formation of the 15th National Assembly shows that one needs political connections or a powerful family background to make it to parliament in the country.
It shows politics is a prerogative or a privilege of a select few in Pakistan and that a commoner cannot aspire to rub shoulders with a handful of powerful political families. Our politicians are introducing their political heirs in the corridors of power before the twilight of their own careers.
NA votes to elect speaker, deputy speaker
The composition of the new assembly shows that family members of several well-known politicians have been elected to the house either on general seats or on seats reserved for women.
Interestingly, Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, which criticised rival parties for dynastic politics, appears to be promoting it. Two brothers — Mehboob Sultan and Amir Sultan — have been elected on PTI tickets from Jhang district of south Punjab.
The former chief minister of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pervez Khattak, wasn’t given the coveted slot this time, but he got much more than that. His son-in-law, Imran Khattak, was awarded a PTI ticket for a Nowshehra seat. Moreover, Nafisa Khattak and Sajida Begum, respectively, the niece and sister-in-law of Khattak have been brought into the assembly on reserved seats.
Similarly, PTI Vice Chairman Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who won the NA-156 constituency, also got a party ticket for his son, Makhdoom Zain Qureshi, for NA-157. The father-son duo are now members of the new National Assembly.
Imran’s party also awarded a ticket to Omar Ayub Khan, the son of former foreign minister Gohar Ayub Khan and the grandson of Gen (retd) Ayub Khan, Pakistan’s first chief martial law administrator, for NA-17 (Haripur). He is now member of the National Assembly.
Another known face from Faisalabad district, Riaz Fatyana, formerly associated with the PPP, made it to the house on a PTI ticket. He ensured that his daughter, Asifa Riaz, was picked by his party on a reserved seat from Punjab.
Former foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar, who won the election for NA-182 (Muzaffargarh), was seen introducing her brother Raza Rabbani Khar during the inaugural session of the 15th National Assembly on Monday. He won the election from the NA-183 constituency. The two are children of former MNA Malik Rabbani Khar.
Musarrat Mahesar, the wife of the late PPP leader Rafiq Ahmed Mahesar, from Dadu district of Sindh, who had challenged the powerful Jatoi brothers in the past, has also been elected to the lower house of parliament in the
Faryal Talpur and Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, the two sisters of PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, have also made it to parliament. They were at number one and two on the priority list provided by the PPP to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for reserved seats from Sindh.
PML-N stalwart and former foreign minister Khawaja Asif has been elected on a general seat from Sialkot, while his wife Musarrat Asif and niece Shaza Fatima Khawaja have been brought into the National Assembly by his party on reserved seats.
Similarly, Zahra Wadood Fatemi, the wife of former adviser to the then premier Tariq Fatemi, also made it to parliament on a reserved seat. Tariq Fatemi was elected to the upper house of parliament by the PML-N in March.
The issue of allocation of reserved seats for women has frequently been criticised for many reasons. Critics say these seats are used by political parties only to oblige their near and dear ones.
It was former military ruler Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf who had reintroduced the reserved seats for women before the 2002 general elections and now in the 342-member National Assembly, 60 seats are reserved for women, including 10 for non-Muslims.
Reserved seats are allocated to political parties from the priority lists they provide to the ECP before the general elections in proportion to the number of general seats they win in the direct contest.
Zaib Jaffar, the daughter of Nawaz Sharif’s close aide Jaffar Iqbal, and her cousin Maiza Hameed have also been introduced in parliament on reserved seats. Similarly, PML-N leader from Lahore Pervaiz Malik and his son have won their seats on general seats, while Malik’s wife, Shaista Pervez Malik, has also made it to parliament on a reserved seat. She was head of the women caucus in the previous parliament.
Another PML-N worker Tahira Aurangzeb has again made it to the house while her daughter Marriyum Aurangzeb has also joined her mother in parliament. Kiran Dar, the sister of Nasir Dar, a member of Azad Kashmir Assembly belonging to the PML-N is also in the same category.
Likewise, Ayesha Rajab Baloch is the widow of twiceelected former lawmaker from Faisalabad Rajab Ali Khan. She reached the National Assembly on a reserve seat. PML-N leader Daniyal Aziz, who was disqualified by the apex court just before the elections, was awarded by the party by giving a ticket to his wife, Mehnaz Aziz, for his seat in Narowal district which she won, bagging 106,366 votes.
The PTI awarded a seat to Shandana Gulzar, the daughter of the late Gulzar Khan of the PTI. Interestingly, Khan had parted ways with the party during the 2014 dharna in protest against the party’s
MPAs-elect sworn in as provincial assemblies hold session
Noreen Ibrahim, the daughter-in-law of AJK founding president Sardar Ibrahim Khan, who is an immediate relative of PTI leaders Azam Swati and Shah Farman, also secured a spot on the party’s list for the National Assembly.
On the other hand, Punjab’s former finance minister Aisha Ghaus Pasha, who is also the wife of former federal finance minister Hafeez Pasha, also made it to the list of reserved seats for women.
Alia Kamran from Balochistan has also been elected on a special seat of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal. She is the wife of Kamran Murtaza, former Supreme Court Bar Association president. Murtaza is also a member of the upper house of parliament.
Rubina Irfan, who has been brought into parliament by Balochistan Awami Party, is the wife of Dr Irfan Karim, who belongs to the family of Khan of Kalat Mir Ahmed Yar Khan.
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