The kith and kin of top political leaders have once again grabbed a lion’s share of the reserved seats for women in both the National Assembly and provincial assemblies.
Some of them managed the feat without actually winning in the recent general elections.
Wives, daughters and close relatives of seasoned politicians punched their ticket to the NA and provincial assemblies under the 33% quota reserved for women. Some of the lucky women, who lost on May 11, are now members of the assemblies via the reserved seats route.
Currently, there are 70 reserved seats in the NA, 60 for women and 10 for minorities. There are 137 seats reserved for women in the four provincial assemblies. In the Punjab Assembly, 61 seats are reserved for women, 37 seats in the Sindh Assembly, 25 in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly and 14 seats in the Balochistan Assembly.
Rida Khan, daughter of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Senator Mushahidullah Khan, will be an MNA, according to the final list of MNAs and MPAs prepared by the Election Commission of Pakistan. The list revealed that Nafisa Shah, daughter of former Sindh chief minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah and Shaista Pervez, wife of PML-N MNA Pervez Malik, are also set to become MNAs.
Anusha Rehman of PML-N also managed to secure a reserved NA seat
Top Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leaders Dr Shireen Mazari and Munaza Hassan made their way to the lower house of Parliament for the first time on the reserved seats.
Despite losing in her constituency, Marvi Memon managed to secure a reserved seat on a PML-N ticket, while Shazia Marri was elected as an MNA on a Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians ticket on the reserved seat after losing in the polls.
Syeda Shehla Raza, who is set to take charge as deputy speaker of Sindh Assembly, was elected on a PPPP ticket.
However, not all political leaders are in favour of the way some politicians have made their way into the NA on the reserved seats without contesting for them. They recalled that a bill seeking reserved seats for women in the Indian Parliament was pending for the last three years.
The bill proposed to amend the Indian Constitution to reserve 33% of all seats in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament, and in all state legislative assemblies for women.
PTI Chairman Imran Khan said his party was against reserved seats for women in the assemblies. “Legislators in assemblies are representatives of the people. How can some women be representatives of other women when they haven’t even contested the elections?” Khan asked last December.
Senior politician and jurist S M Zafar said elected people should be MPs.
“Elections belong to the people and it’s their decision to elect the leaders.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 30th, 2013.