1st NA session: Direct electoral victory for few women MPs

Former federal ministers Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan and Samina Khalid Ghurki both lost in their constituencies.

Azam Khan June 02, 2013
Firdous Ashiq Awan. PHOTO: PID/ FILE


Outnumbered by first-timers in the National Assembly’s inaugural session on Saturday, veteran male parliamentarians appeared weighed down by introspection over their diminishing presence in the lower house.

Women MPs, it seemed, had to contend with similar fears -- for wholly different reasons though. Compared with the outgoing assembly, the number of directly elected women MNAs has gone down drastically. Sixteen women were elected on general seats in the 2008 elections, which after tallying with the reserved seats for women, took the number of female MNAs to 76. This time around, only six women managed to book a place in the lower house with a direct electoral victory.

Outgoing speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza and President Asif Ali Zardari’s sisters Dr Azra Pechuho and Faryal Talpur managed to get elected on a PPP ticket. Sumera Malik, Ghulam Bibi Bharwan and Saira Afzal Tarar won the polls on a PML-N ticket.

Former federal ministers Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan and Samina Khalid Ghurki both lost in their constituencies.

Marvi Memon and Shazia Marri were both unsuccessful in the polls, but were brought back on reserved seats.

In addition to them, the kith and kin of top politicians have once again grabbed the lion’s share of reserved seats, spreading much ire among party workers. Newly sworn-in Rida Khan is the daughter of PML-N information secretary Mushahidullah Khan, Dr Nafisa Shah is the daughter of Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, Zeb Jafar the daughter of PML-N’s Chaudhry Zaffar Iqbal and Shaista Parvez is the wife of PML-N’s Parvez Malik. The list goes on.

Despite this, female lawmakers expressed much optimism. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Aisha Gulalai – the first female MNA from South Waziristan – said her presence in parliament would encourage the women of her region.

Alizeh Haider, a young addition by the PPP, was upbeat about introducing new trends in politics.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 2nd, 2013.


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