Legal Framework of Pakistan’s Election.

By: Shiraz Hasnat

Lahore: The hand that rocks the cradle, rocks the world…will likely be put to literal translation in the upcoming general elections of Pakistan. A number of women candidates are expected to contest on the general seats this year. As in all other walks of life, Pakistani females are ready to give everyone a run for their money in politics too. The number of women who reached the parliament has been strikingly low. Only three females namely, Begum Kalsoom Nawaz,Samina Khalid Ghurki and Shazia Mubashir  since 2002 ruled the roost. According to the election rulebook, it is mandatory for every political party to allot 5%of their issued tickets to females; if the party fails to comply its registration can get cancelled.

In the 2018 election twelve women candidates will be contesting for the 14 constituencies of Lahore for the National Assembly, out of which 8 have allegiance with different political parties while 4 are independent.

The Pakistan Tehreek e insaaf has issued just one national assembly general seat ticket from NA 124 to Yasmeen Rashid while Mutahida Majlis Amal also issued one ticket frm NA 134 to Anila Mehmood. Tehreek e Labaik has issued two national assembly general seat tickets from Lahore to Sumaira Noreen NA 124 and Maimona Khalid NA 125. Pak Sar Zameen party has issued one ticket to Samia Naz from NA 125. National party issued NA 129 ticket to Kishwar Bano, Pakistan Muslim League (Q) issued a ticket to Zaiba Ihsan from NA 131 while the Pakistan Peoples’ Party has issued one ticket on general seats from Lahore to Samina Khalid Ghurki from NA 132. Four independent women candidates are also contesting including Rehana Ahmed from NA 125, Musarat Jamshed Cheema from NA 127, Farzana Butt from NA 129 while former MNA Shazia Mubasher Iqbal from NA 134.

However, The Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz had issued two tickets to Mariam Nawaz Sharif from NA 127 and PP 174 but due to her disqualification after 8 years imprisonment by accountability court, these tickets were later issued to male candidates and now they don’t have a single woman candidate on any of the general seats of national and provincial assemblies in Lahore.

Similarly on the 30 provincial assembly seats around 15 women candidates are contesting including four independent. The independent candidates are Robina Sulehri noor from pp 153, Robina Kosar from pp 156, Hina Pervaiz Butt from pp 158 and Khadija Hasan from pp 166.

Pakistan Peoples party have issued three tickets to women candidates on provincial assembly general seats including Zaib un Nisa from pp 144, Noreen Saleem from pp 146 while Robina Sohail Butt from pp 173.Pak Sar Zameen Party issued pp 150 ticket to Nawra Khar while Allah o Akber party issued pp 149 ticket to Saira Bano and pp 151 ticket to Syeda Tahira Sherazi. Tehreek Labiak issued pp 164 ticket to Mariam Azhar, All Pakistan Muslim League issued pp167 ticket to Sumaira Bibi, National Party issued pp 169 ticket to Noba Asif while Awami Party Pakistan issued pp 171 ticket to Nasreen Bibi. However, PTI did not issue a single ticket to any women candidate on provincial assembly seats in Lahore.

PTI candidate from NA 125 Doctor Yasmeen Rashid declared financial restrictions as basic reason behind less numbers of women candidates on general election seats. She claimed that this time a new precedent is being set with the notable increase of female candidates despite their financial dependence on their families, but it cannot be completely ruled out and becomes a deterrent despite the women’s willingness to participate in the elections.    

MMA candidate from NA 134 Anila Mehmood was very optimistic of her success and claimed that she has the full support of her husband and family members in her election campaign. She was satisfied with the public’s positive response and interest in her manifesto during her campaign.

Citizens have different point of view in this regard some of them are claiming that gender is not a hindrance for any candidate to contest since the society is now  mature and people vote for strong candidates. Others claimed that people are mature and they give importance to women and believe in their abilities. A citizen Khuram said that now more women are participating in election and their winning ratios have also increased compared to previous elections. A woman voter ume kalsoom said that due to social media now the people are wise enough to believe in women supremacy and empowerment.