Inspired by Benazir, PTI's Aisha Gulalai seeks empowerment of tribal women

Published: June 6, 2013
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Ayesha Gulalai. PHOTO: INSAF.PK

Ayesha Gulalai. PHOTO: INSAF.PK

ISLAMABAD: With late Benazir Bhutto as her ideal, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MNA Aisha Gulalai wants to empower women of the tribal areas.

The newly elected MNA made her way to the Parliament last week on a reserved seat. “I’m worried about the condition of women in the troubled valley of South Waziristan—worst affected by the militancy,” she told The Express Tribune in an exclusive interview on Sunday

Gulalai had been a worker of Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarian (PPPP) and All Pakistan Muslim League (APML). “Benazir Bhutto treated me like her daughter,” she recalled.

Vocal critic of drones, Gulalai – who is a sister of Pakistani Squash player Maria Toor – entered politics during her student life. “Drones violate state’s sovereignty,” she said, adding that PTI chief Imran Khan wants to end foreign involvement in Pakistan’s affairs.

A Master’s degree holder from the University of Peshawar, Gulalai is fond of former military dictator General (retired) Pervez Musharraf.

“His period was much better than the PPP’s in terms of development,” she explains.

Praising her mother – who is a school principal in Khyber Agency – for supporting her children, the young MNA said her mother has always been a source of encouragement.

Proud of the close affiliation she has with the young women in her region, Gulalai said the role of tribal women is very important in getting rid of militancy from the tribal belt.

“We will press the government to bring peace in the war-torn areas of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa,” she said, adding that she feels people in this area are still living in the Stone Age.

The young politician said her party will try its best to call for demarcation of the tribal belt as a separate province.

Inspired by Malala Yousafzai and her courage, Gulalai stressed on the importance of gender equality in order to achieve the country’s millennium development goals.

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Reader Comments (23)

  • Monet
    Jun 6, 2013 - 2:15PM

    What a lady! Aiasha Gulalai, Pakistan needs women like you! You smash every stereotype that has ever existed about the region you come from. May you succeed in making all your dreams for your people come true and may we all see many universities for men and women in FATA soon. Keep at it and thank you!

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  • SurelySure!!
    Jun 6, 2013 - 2:48PM

    Nice!! she doent look like any ordinary PTI person.

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  • SurelySure!!
    Jun 6, 2013 - 3:08PM

    good!! women empowerment! thats great and not like an ordinary PTI person (ignoring women bill on floor)

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  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Jun 6, 2013 - 3:34PM

    She should learn the tricks of trade from Maryam Nawaz.

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  • KHK
    Jun 6, 2013 - 4:22PM

    At such a tender age she has changed three diametrically opposite parties; What a pity

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  • Shahid Kinnare
    Jun 6, 2013 - 5:02PM

    she selected wrong Party for women empowerment. I do not think mullahs (JI) of PTI would work for women empowerment.

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  • Falcon
    Jun 6, 2013 - 5:04PM

    A very capable girl. One of the few politicians who are knowledgeable to talk logically about challenges being faced by people in FATA. Furthermore, she is very humble as well, a rare trait in Pakistan’s politics.

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  • Z
    Jun 6, 2013 - 5:15PM

    @SurelySure!!: What does an ‘ordinary PTI person’ look like? Generalize much?

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  • Z
    Jun 6, 2013 - 5:17PM

    @Ch. Allah Daad: The only qualification Maryam Nawaz is the family she was born in. Aisha Gulalai should chart her own course as she’s smart and courageous enough to do so.

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  • Z
    Jun 6, 2013 - 5:18PM

    @Shahid Kinnare: As opposed to the ‘Mullah’s’ (JUIF) of PPP and PMLN? Grow up.

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  • NMA
    Jun 6, 2013 - 5:52PM

    inspired by benzir!? why her of all ppl! what ever did she do for woman apart from herself!

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  • Pakistani
    Jun 6, 2013 - 7:00PM

    Excellent stance. People like you are our country’s future and asset. We are proud of you sister.
    P.S you are raising your voice for rights of women through a party who chose to snatch women rights by barring women from voting in parts of Lower Dir. You should immediately leave PTI and should join some other party dear.

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  • Kung
    Jun 6, 2013 - 7:01PM

    She is the first woman from tribal areas to get into National Assembly. PTI cannot be praised enough for such revolutionary changes in Pakistan’s landscape.

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  • hamza khan
    Jun 6, 2013 - 7:04PM

    @KHK:

    not really…PTI and APML both represent a politics that is ‘non status quo’. well, atleast the PTI did at some point. the APML, though still small, rises above provincialism and considers its motto as ‘sub sey pehlay pakistan.’ both target urban and rural electorates, are business friendly. the politics is different in that the APML is center-left while PTI is center-right/right.

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  • Pacer
    Jun 6, 2013 - 7:36PM

    And people say Imran Khan did not allot reserved seats on merit. Why don’t other parties bring forward women like her instead of daughters and wives of powerful men in the NA on reserved quota?

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  • Raza
    Jun 6, 2013 - 7:43PM

    More women like her in Pakistan please.

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  • Midhat
    Jun 6, 2013 - 8:02PM

    @Ch. Allah Daad:
    Maryam Nawaz is a name because of her family. This young girl had to work her way up on her own. May be Maryum Nawaz and other children of politicians should learn from her!

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  • Momina
    Jun 6, 2013 - 8:40PM

    Huge kudos to Aisha Gulalai from me! I don’t care what party she belongs to or how many parties she has switched, if she raises women’s voices from the tribal areas and other issues that affect those beautiful lands, all strength to her.

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  • Siddique Malik
    Jun 6, 2013 - 9:17PM

    @Midhat:
    A great rejoinder: I was just going to post a reply just like yours, when I saw your comment.
    Absolutely, “Maryum Nawaz and other children of politicians should learn from her!”
    Siddique Malik, Louisville, Kentucky, USA.

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  • Siddique Malik
    Jun 6, 2013 - 9:22PM

    She is naive. She needs to learn some basics. Being fond of a military dictator is not the way to leave a mark on history.
    Siddique Malik, Louisville, Kentucky, USA.

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  • Ja
    Jun 7, 2013 - 4:36AM

    Ironically, women were barred from voting in most of Khyber, where the PTI won.

    I’m not optimistic.

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  • RHS
    Jun 7, 2013 - 5:01AM

    Allah bless you young lady. We were all inspired by Shaheed Benazir.
    We wish you success no matter which party you belong to.

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  • Ricky
    Jun 7, 2013 - 8:05AM

    Why is BB her role model? Does PTI not have any women or men as role models? Fouzia K was a role model of PTI but she was refused a ticket even on the seats recently vacated by IK, Hashmi, etc. The young lady should learn from the number of women candidates in all parties and them make a decision. PTI is endorsed supported and protected by Taliban how progressive can they be? Open your eyes and join a progressive party.

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