Thursday, 4 July 2013

Women Parliamentarians of KPK

Women Parliamentarians of KPK vow to bring a “Socio-Economic” Change!

  • QWP launches the idea of “Women Parliamentary Caucus- WPC” in KPK
  • PPP will cooperate in national interest
  • PTI MPAs – Family party of CM and Speaker of Assembly - KPK
  • Jamat –i-Islami to work on hospital projects
  • Use of banking sector to mobilize funds for grass root level change

By: Kanwal Abidi

Being driven by winds of change, I thought to head towards to KPK to meet the female leaders of yonder years. After days of lobbying with my family to allow me to travel to KPK – I got excited on getting the permission. I packed my bag – bought a long chaddar and as I was already present in Islamabad for the 1st June 2013 National Assembly session – so, I took Daewoo in the wee hours of 30th May 2013 and I chose to land in KPK on Friday, 31st May 2013. I was aiming to meet all the female leaders of KPK. The juma namaz break at the provincial assembly gave me an opportunity to talk to them – 22 female MPA’s jointly agree to bring a “socio – economic change”.
                (10 PTI, 3 PML (N), 3 JUI, 2 QWP, 1 JI, 1 ANP, 1 AJI and 1 PPP).

Just before the namaz break started, few female MPA’s started escaping the desk of assembly and chose to relax in the common room! I also followed their pattern and went into their designated female room. Being cordoned off in a big room – gave me a pre-assessment of the mind set of the gender isolation. I was shocked to see the ambience of the female designated official common room. A government girl’s college canteen could wear a better look than KPK’s provincial assembly female room. The way the sofas were arranged against the wall of the room, with an empty space in between – so much so, it looked like a mocking imitation of an elderly mosque.

I made myself seated on a sofa looking like an alien. As before the assembly session was adjourned for the namaz break – 2 female MPA’s were seen making calls from a PTCL phone, by their burqa clad appearance they looked from JU party. As I waited for all to come in, a well dressed lady in red came and sat beside me. The moment she came in – 2 men came inside the room (No man was allowed inside except the tea boy). He said salam to her – and then in pushto they both exchanged greetings. She looked like a seasoned politician by her body language and also the way the tea and biscuits were served – it was evident that she was group head of the clan. She spoke to me in a courteous manner. She was NIghat Orakzai – MPA , PPP (Vice President of Women Wing), KPK. Candidly she talked about the problems as being in the opposition party and said she has plans to work in the national interest. She strongly condemned drone attacks and said that “PTI claims that the drone attacks issue and responsibility rests with the Federal Government – she also strongly commented that NATO supply should be stopped!” However, she said that a period of 3 months will determine the PTI’s promise to deliver to the nation – their promise to stop the drone attacks – otherwise the mandate they got on its basis would prove to be a failure. However, she made one statement clear to me that PPP will work for the betterment of the province and overall cooperate with the opposition in the national interest.

She smoothly sailed off the room – and said she is going on early break home and didn’t stay to hear the CM speech which was scheduled at 3.30pm. Her stance really impressed me. Only to be followed by another 2 powerful MPA ladies of KPK who belonged to QWP - Anisa Zeb Tahirkhali and Ms Meraj Hamayun Khan. They both vowed to bring a socio economic change through launching “Women Parliamentary Caucus” in KPK. It would be a forum working on the issues related to health and education and financial empowerment of women. They were so enthusiastic they even asked me to bring NGOs and other related agency to KPK for this issue. Also these 2 QWP ladies suggested that in their agenda is to bring computer education and female vocational training. They were so eager , in fact they also have plans to install computers in KPK provincial assembly and they was theys aid we want WI-FI here in the assembly so we can browse the internet ( I was impressed and in heart wished them – no male MPA of KPK – I talked to 11 male members - no one mentioned computers ). The way ANisa Zeb said WI-FI and laughed not PTI’s Hi-FI (I saw a spark in her eyes) – she said educating women and keeping pace with the digital age is the path towards success of socio –economic change

After having an interesting conversation with QWP ladies, I started to engage in some conversation with JUI and JI women – but their veil on face (and veil on their mind and thoughts) made me impossible to talk to them. After lot of insistence that I have come from a long way – she spoke about their party’s work in Nowshera and urged that in previous government lot of hospital projects Jamat-i-Islami started but due to non availability of funds they are left in lurch. So please note this PTI – If you want tsunami to be really seen in KPK – then you would have to float the budget too which will be allocated. Do not focus too much on “overseas investment”  and one window operation – and Jahangir Tareen - please use the banking sector to bring a “socio – economic change” rather than concentrating on how to bank upon the AML (anti money laundering) and KYC (Know Your Customer). Time is to Know Your Citizens!

Then I went and sat with the PTI women who were having tea. Amongst the 10 PTI females, 3 women hailed from the Khattak family, so I avoided talking to them as it would waste my time – only to be followed by the family members of Asad Qaiser (Apeaker of the Assembly KPK). However, an interesting and a enthusiastic, female PTI MPA - was Dina Naz – President PTI, Women Wing – South KPK region. She vowed to implement basic education policies and work on the livelihood for widows of those men who died in the bomb blasts. She also wanted to work in order to change the mind set about the females that they need to be educated and given equal standing. When I asked about their dual strategy of bringing women on streets at NA 250 in dharna at Three swords in Karachi, whereas in KPK in a particular area where the women were not allowed to come out of their house and vote – what will they do to change the mind set – she hurriedly answered this is the responsibility of male MPAs to bring issues of tribal areas in light. I smiled silently in my mind – and then she took my diary in hand ( a thing which I never experienced ) and said “bajee, I am writing these points on paper – heading wise, please print in your newspaper and then call me when it is printed , I will take its cutting and place it on my face book ( hint for readers – a point which MQM has been trying to say since long about the aggressive social media war and in general the obsession on facebook of PTI ) it is a mania which needs to be stopped as much as drone attacks should be!

However, then an “implied” slogan, synonymous to hearing of court was enchanted in the lobby of the provincial assembly that “Juma khatam – sab andhar jao”. All females made their way inside the assembly session for CM – Pervaiz Khattak speech. I sat for a moment inside the common room and reflected on my thoughts – which I want to address to Imran Khan – PTI Chairman, as I was seriously concerned about the future of females in KPK:

v     “Please note that the 22 female MPAs by and large are eager to work for a socio economic change – give them a chance to work! For starter, serve them hot soup in the shape of computers in the assembly session and in the full course menu give them a forum like WPC and in dessert ask your male MPAs to provide resources for social and economic mobilization. And for a mind set “change” about females, ask your male members to give them coffee! In fact coffee should be grinded with mocha beans – which can stir out a statement to all the men of KPK - a reminder that “I was trapped inside woman’s womb – before, I became a man!”

v     Therefore, “kindly do not think in tsunami perspective but aim for a peaceful and a serene ocean - where the land of the ocean does not get displaced and spill the water all over the KPK – and  your clean sweep becomes a knock out, where PTI wickets fall down”.
                                               (Fauzia Kausuri is your 1st wicket down).

v     On the 1st priority fulfill your mandate of Drone Attacks and do not hide behind Federal Government umbrellas and Social Media wars. Come forward and stop NATO supply and give empowerment to your females and educate them – only then people, not just in KPK but in Pakistan and in International Community too can say something positive about your real “change”. And in your internal set up, take close watch on your overseas counter and inner organization cash flow, before PTI becomes liquidated.