Barely 72 hours away from the official oath-taking of the National Assembly’s members, the Election Commission of Pakistan unveiled on Tuesday the names of successful candidates against reserved seats for women and minorities in the lower house of parliament and the provincial assemblies.
Weeks after securing a simple majority in the National Assembly in the May 11 polls, Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) strengthened its position in the lower house by clinching as many as 26 reserved women seats and five non-Muslim seats.
Following the PML-N by a large difference was Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) with seven women seats and one seat for minorities. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) secured six seats for women candidate and a single minority seat.
These seats were allocated on the ratio of the general seats received by the political parties in the general elections. The PML-N will get seven more seats for women and one for minorities in the National Assembly and seven seats for women in the Punjab Assembly as it had earlier submitted fewer names in its original list.
Prominent among the PML-N candidates who secured a berth in parliament on a reserved seat are Anusha Rehman, Marvi Memon, Rida Khan and Tahira Aurangzeb.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Anusha Rehman said that she was grateful to her party for reposing trust in her for a second term. She said that Pakistani women had proved that despite violence and terrorism threats, they would vote for change in the country.
Marvi Memon, who had lost on a general seat, had been a vocal contributor to the assembly during its previous tenure and said that she was committed to continuing her struggle for women’s development and social justice.
Rida Khan, the daughter of PML-N information secretary Mushahidullah Khan, said “I am going to parliament for the first time, I will work for women’s empowerment and child rights, but my focus will be the development of our youth, as they are the country’s future.”
From the PPP, the list of women returned candidates was replete with party stalwarts with Faryal Talpur, Shagufta Jumani, Shazia Marri, Nafisa Shah, Mehreen Razzaq Bhutto and Alizay Iqbal Haider making a comeback.
Dr Shirin Mehrun Nisa Mazari and Munazza Hasan of PTI are the two prominent names of PTI candidates who secured a place in the lower house. PTI is yet to make a decision on who to nominate on two more reserved seats.
Besides the three leading parties, the JUI-F and MQM each managed to secure four women seats and a single minority seat, while the NPP, JI, PkMAP and PML-F secured one women seat each in the National Assembly.
Like the National Assembly, returned candidates for provincial seats were also announced by the ECP on Monday. In Punjab, the PML-N led with 50 seats for women and seven seats for minorities. In Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, PTI emerged the largest party with 10 reserved seats for women, followed by JUI-F and PML-N with three seats each.
In Sindh, PPP secured 16 seats for women and five for minorities, while the MQM came in second with nine seats for women and three for minorities. In Balochistan, PML-N and PkMAP tallied equal with three women seats and one minority seat apiece.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 29th, 2013.