Islamabad, July 24 (IANS) Karishna Kumari Kohli, a female senator from Pakistan’s Sindh province, became a focus of local media and people a few months back for her being the first woman lawmaker from a low-cast non-Muslim tribe in the Upper House of the country.
Kohli told Xinhua news agency that her entry into the Senate will open new doors for women as they will see her as a role model and a beacon of hope to achieve their dreams.
“I am daughter of a poor tenant and spent a part of my childhood as a bonded labourer, but my hard work and honesty to my cause of changing my life and life of people around me has landed me in the Senate. If I can do it, other women who are more educated and privileged than me can do it even better than me,” she said.
A few months on, a woman from the same Thar district where Kohli belongs, is all set to contest elections on Wednesday for the provincial assembly of Sindh.
A tailor by profession, the provincial assembly candidate Sunita Parmar said in a viral video on social media that she was keen to protect the interests of women and work to release them from the shackles of poverty and ignorance.
“I want to change the condition of women in my area. I want to work for girls’ education and play my role in providing basic health facilities to them. Political parties should accept women’s existence and capabilities, as it is the need of the hour,” she said in the video.
The Election Commission said that this year, political parties have fielded women candidates in conservative areas.
Hameeda Shahid is one such candidate from Dir district of the country’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Xinhua reported.
Women were previously not allowed to leave the house to vote, but Shahid is determined that she will change it by motivating women to stand up for their rights. She said that women should join politics so that their fellows could detail their problems to them, which they cannot tell male lawmakers.
The mother of six added that she doesn’t have any experience in politics. However, if she wins the election, she will work for women’s rights in her area.
According to the country’s law, it is mandatory for all political parties to allocate at least 5 per cent of its seats to women candidates. The recently released figures of the poll body showed that 11,885 candidates will contest elections. Out of which, there are 305 women candidates which makes about 5.2 per cent of the total ticket holders contesting from political parties.
Apart from this, there are 60 reserved seats for women in the National Assembly for which women from different political parties are selected according to the number of seats they win.
Tanzeela Mazhar, a journalist from Islamabad, said that despite the fact that women are contesting, the chances of victory for most of the candidates are slim.
“Political parties were sure about their defeat in certain constituencies and to fulfil the 5 per cent mandatory quota for women representatives, they fielded women from those constituencies while keeping the strong constituencies for the male candidates.”
Despite that, the Election Commission said that the elections will see the highest number of women candidates contesting for the National Assembly seats in Pakistan’s electoral history.
As many as 171 women candidates will be in the run against 272 seats of the National Assembly. In 2013, 135 women contested the poll.