Several women have tried their luck for general seats in different parts of KP in the past but failed

Women candidates submit their nomination papers ahead of the upcoming 2024 general elections, at the deputy commissioner office in Quetta on December 22, 2023. — AFP

PESHAWAR: Several female politicians are vying for the national and provincial assembly seats in the provincial capital in the upcoming general elections on February 8, The News reported on Monday.

In the provincial capital, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto had contested the 1990 polls for NA-1 Peshawar (which mostly comprised present-day NA-32) but she had lost to Ghulam Ahmad Bilour of the Awami National Party (ANP). From Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Begum Nasim Wali Khan, Begum Nusrat Bhutto, Ghazala Habib Tanoli and Samar Haroon Bilour were the only women who won a general seat in the past elections.

The late leader of ANP, Begum Nasim Wali Khan, was the first-ever woman from KP who won a general seat in the National Assembly, the then NA-4 Peshawar, in the 1977 polls. Later she remained the opposition leader in the provincial assembly.

Begum Nasim was the only woman to have won both NA and PA general seats from KP.

In the 1988 general elections, the wife of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Begum Nusrat Bhutto of Pakistan Peoples Party was elected an MNA from Chitral after she secured 32,819 votes to defeat her rival Shahzada Muhiuddin of Islami Jamhoori Ittehad, who had secured 23,405 votes. She later vacated the seat and Ghafoor Shah of PPP was elected MNA from the area.

Another woman, Ghazala Habib Tanoli contested on a general seat and was elected an MPA from Mansehra in 2002 by receiving over 11,900 votes.

Sixteen years later, Samar Haroon Bilour was elected MPA from Peshawar in the 2018 general elections.

Several other women have tried their luck for a general seat in NA or PA from different parts of KP in the past but failed.

Begum Kulsum Saifullah Khan from KP was the first woman federal minister of Pakistan but she entered the NA on a special seat for women.

During the coming polls, Shandana Gulzar, a former Member of the National Assembly on a seat reserved for women, is among the frontrunners for a National Assembly seat, NA-30.

Her father was elected MNA from the area in 2013 on the ticket of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). In 2018, Nasir Musazai won the seat on the ticket of PTI. This time Nasir is a candidate of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) after he quit the PTI last year.

In the general elections, Shandana is a nominee of the PTI against Nasir Musazai of JUI-F, Arbab Zain Umar of ANP, Misbahuddin of PPP, Kashif Azam of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and Raees Khan of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN).

She is contesting election as an independent candidate after the PTI lost the symbol, bat, just before the polls.

Another woman candidate, Sobia Shahid of PML-N is flexing muscles for NA-31. She is facing Arbab Sher Ali of PTI, Arbab Alamgir Khalil of PPP, Saeed Jan of JUI-F and Pir Haroon Shah of ANP. She has remained an MPA on a seat reserved for women.

PTI candidate Hamidul Haq was elected an MNA from the area in 2013 while Arbab Sher Ali of PTI won the seat in 2018. Arbab Alamgir of PPP was the winner from the area in 2008.

ANP has fielded former MPA Samar Haroon Bilour for the provincial assembly seat from inner Peshawar, PK-83. She is facing former provincial minister of the PPP Syed Zahir Ali Shah, Muhammad Umar of JUIF, nominee of PTI Meena Khan Afridi and Khalid Gul of JI.

Samar was elected an MPA from the area in 2018 when she was allotted ticket by the ANP after the martyrdom of her spouse Haroon Bilour in a suicide bombing during the campaign for the 2018 general elections.

Samar’s father-in-law Bashir Ahmad Bilour used to be an MPA from this area (then PK-3 Peshawar) before he was martyred in a suicide attack in Qissa Khwani in 2012.

No woman had filed papers for NA-28 Peshawar-1 while one female candidate submitted papers for NA-29 Peshawar-II. There were two women candidates who filed papers for NA-30, NA-31 and NA-32 Peshawar.

Many women have filed papers for a general seat in the national and provincial assembly on tickets of different political parties from other districts of the province.

A woman from Hindu community, Dr Savera Parkash, made headlines in international media after she decided to contest for a provincial assembly seat, PK-25, from Buner district. She has been allotted a ticket by the PPP.

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