Women’s reserved seats: Top politicians’ spouses, kin strike it lucky

Published: May 30, 2013
Currently, there are 60 reserved seats in the NA for womenand 137 seats reserved for women in the four provincial assemblies. PHOTO: APP/FILE

Currently, there are 60 reserved seats in the NA for womenand 137 seats reserved for women in the four provincial assemblies. PHOTO: APP/FILE


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.

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Reader Comments (33)

  • gp65
    May 30, 2013 - 2:47AM

    To have 33% seats reserved for women can be empowering if they are the right women who can bring forward legislation . But if these are simply distributed among the existing politician’s spouses and kids i tloses the purpose.

    Can someone please explain to me why reserved seats do not have an election? In India too, we have reserved seats and the only thing different about those seats is that all candidates contesting that seat whether indiependents or representing a party have to belong to the reserved category. Other than that there are no difference. By implementing the discipline and accountability of the election process, party chiefs cannot just distribute these as perks to their chamchs. They could allow the chamcha to contest but chamcha could lose in election, so that enforces disciplne.

    There probably is a rationale for how it is done in Pakistan that I do not understand, so I would certainly like to hear from someone who can explain.


  • skhan
    May 30, 2013 - 2:53AM

    I am happy PTI picked Dr. Shireen Mazari, she is qualified and well deserves this seat!
    They should also consider Dr. Yasmeen Rashid who managed to get 40,000 + votes against Mian Saab in one of PMLN’s dominated constituency!


  • Mirza
    May 30, 2013 - 2:58AM

    It may not be perfect system but it is constitutional and nothing is perfect in any country of the world. There are constitutional ways to amend the mode of elections on all seats should NA and Senate decide. It is essential to give women representation in assemblied. Some people never like any Pakistani woman and they would try to find faults and put them back behind the veils.Recommend

  • Hasan Hasni
    May 30, 2013 - 3:10AM

    The above clearly outlined the show of democracy in Pakistan. No party held election within the party for women seats. What is the difference between dictatorship and democracy only names?.


  • Siddique Malik
    May 30, 2013 - 3:12AM

    The idea behind the law that makes these allocations possible was to give all women equal shot, not just relatives of the elitists. People should hold parties that projected only the relatives of their chieftains toward these seats accountable. Why did these parties not consider ordinary Pakistani women for these slots? In other words, the May 11 election has not changed anything. The status quo prevails.
    Siddique Malik, Louisville, Kentucky, USA


    May 30, 2013 - 4:14AM

    Xcellent Khan Sb! 110% Support your Stance “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.


    May 30, 2013 - 4:17AM

    Women Must be Elected by Women s OR via Election without Male Contestants…


  • Majid
    May 30, 2013 - 4:17AM

    Looks like writer did not know KPK has also got reserved seats for women and as per news PTI’s Pervez Khattak has also brought in three of his relatives into KPK via reserved seats route.


  • MOA
    May 30, 2013 - 4:20AM

    Democracy is a joke in this country. Elections are rigged, people who lose elections get into parliament via reserved seats. The future of this country is very bleak !!


  • Usman
    May 30, 2013 - 4:31AM

    This is exactly what Imran Khan opposed and spoke against, when all the liberals united in his condemnation. Imran appoints a woman from FATA and PMLN appoint their kin on reserved seats.
    Imagine what Imran could’ve achieved if in power in the centre.
    We can at least say goodbye to women’s rights for the next 5 years.


  • SHB
    May 30, 2013 - 4:37AM

    This back door entry to the parliment must be made illegal.


  • B+
    May 30, 2013 - 4:40AM

    No family member from MQM that’s a real change.


  • Hyper Baig
    May 30, 2013 - 5:08AM

    Its a stupid law. Family members of influential people are just having a joy ride at the tax payers expense. I mean what does Shaista Pervaiz or Shazia Marri know about the problem of the people anyway. Stupid stupid law.


  • ;-)chief
    May 30, 2013 - 6:01AM

    @Hasan Hasni:
    and these selfish people serve the Nation…..???


  • Javed sahibzada
    May 30, 2013 - 6:57AM

    I wish if people could unite and exercise their strength against this slavery and lynch the dirt.


  • May 30, 2013 - 7:22AM

    No change only faces. Voters under their foot.


  • k. Salim Jahangir
    May 30, 2013 - 7:22AM

    This jugglery of reserved seats in the assemblies should be eliminated by legislation.How could selected women be public representatives?Will somebody please explain for public consumption.Assemblies have become private limited companies of politicians & this situation is not acceptable to tax payers who pay the salaries to them for doing nothing except sitting on their haunches.


  • leader
    May 30, 2013 - 8:03AM


    that is not true, one lady mentioned is Princess of Swat.

    other are there is PTI long before Pervaiz joined and were grass root level workers for PTI, one is GS Islamabad I think, and other was head of Woman chamber of commerce, they won intra party election, while pervaiz khattak lost, khattak had no say in their selection.


  • MAD
    May 30, 2013 - 8:06AM

    @skhan: yasmin Rashid was number 5 on the party list submitted to ECP in March. PTI only got 2 reserved seats from Punjab.


  • Naeem Khan Manhattan,Ks
    May 30, 2013 - 8:08AM

    And then Pakistanis wonder why the NA is so incompetent and the show is run by the Bureaucrats, it is a shameful affair , one should take a lesson from PTI, they are bringing in young people who stood up by their own feet and not by relation to the ruling class


  • ABC
    May 30, 2013 - 8:55AM

    Pakistani Politicians will never change.


  • Syed A. Mateen
    May 30, 2013 - 9:05AM

    Reserved seats quotas should be abolished and instead any one who will win the election should become the legislator, not by entering from the back door through reserved seats quota.


  • waseem sarwar
    May 30, 2013 - 9:15AM

    over 57 i think.


  • Pakistani
    May 30, 2013 - 2:28PM

    > 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.
    Please do not talk about women rights at-least. We all know that your party was among those who signed an agreement barring women from the right of voting in parts of Lower Dir.
    Stop being hypocrite.


  • Xnain
    May 30, 2013 - 3:48PM

    But still she is the kin to PK. Does it make it any different? NO!


  • skhan
    May 30, 2013 - 3:53PM

    @ waseem sarwar
    Yes 57+ thanks..


  • kashif
    May 30, 2013 - 5:37PM

    Imran Khan never said he is against reserved seats for women. He just said there should be some mechanism for the selection for reserved seats or else all seats will go to political families.


  • A. Khan
    May 30, 2013 - 5:48PM

    @MOA: Well, the present is not very rosy either.


  • Khan
    May 30, 2013 - 7:04PM

    @ Xain.. It makes a world of difference. PTI is the only party that practices internal party democracy. Elected means representative, selected means just sending your daughter into parliament out of fatherly loveRecommend

  • akbar
    May 30, 2013 - 8:12PM

    i wonder if men and women are equal thn why women have reserve seats,,,, im sure thy are as capable as men….


  • Pakistani
    May 31, 2013 - 1:18AM

    @Khan: And PTI is also one of those parties which are the enemies of women rights. Having internal party elections is just a topi drama, in reality PTI snatched women’s right of voting by signing the agreement barring women of voting in parts of Lower Dir.


  • nachelabs
    Jun 1, 2013 - 8:08AM

    Do the reserved candidates have constituency to look after? What are their responsibilities/duties?


  • Jun 1, 2013 - 2:25PM

    In societies and circumstances where there is gap based on gender and/or other diversity criteria, positive discrimination to favour a group is a good thing. Law for reserved seats simply attempts to balance the gender gap in Pakistani parliament. There are weaknesses in the law that should be addressed but absence of it will result in a totally male dominated parliament.


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