12 women clinch NA seats by defying odds
Five of them were backed by PTI; PML-N, PPP, MQM-P have four, two and one respectively
By Hassaan Ahmed
LAHORE - The general election 2024 witnessed many ups and downs. The election brought surprises for several heavyweights while the PTI-backed candidates stunned many political observers.
Although there are seats reserved for women in the National Assembly, some strong-willed candidates (women) defeated their rivals (men) despite odds and are likely to make it to the portals of parliament. Political observers see the development as a befitting answer to patriarchy.
As many as 12 women have won election on general seats in the Feb 8 polls.
The PTI-backed independent candidates top the list with five seats followed by the PML-N whose women candidates clinched four general seats.
The PPP, who has the credit of giving Pakistan its first woman prime minister, could elect only two women candidates on general seats.
The MQM-P elected one woman candidate on general seat from Karachi.
Shandana Gulzar Khan NA-30
The PTI-backed independent candidate, Shandana Gulzar Khan, has won from NA-30 Peshawar by securing 78,971 votes. She defeated JUI-F candidate Nasir Khan who could get only 20,950 votes.
Shandana first became MNA in 2018 on PTI’s reserved seat but this time she contested on the general seat. Her father Gulzar Khan also became an MNA in 2013 on PTI ticket before retiring as a bureaucrat.
Aneeqa Mehdi Bhatti NA-67
This National Assembly constituency of Hafizabad was clinched by PTI-backed independent candidate Aneeqa Mehdi Bhatti. She obtained 208,943 votes and defeated PML-N candidate and former federal minister Saira Afzal Tarar who secured 183,020 votes.
It was the constituency where two women were contesting against each other. Aneeqa is new entrant in the National Assembly, although her family is in politics for decades.
The male members of Mehdi Bhatti family are in the hiding and therefore, Aneeqa Mehdi jumped into the political field.
Ayesha Nazir Jutt NA-156
This seat was clinched by PTI-backed independent candidate Ayesha Nazir Jutt who got 119,820 votes against PML-N candidate Chaudhry Nazir Ahmad who could get only 90,353 votes.
Ayesha Nazir Jutt is the daughter of former MNA from Vehari Chaudhry Nazir Jutt. She has also served as PTI’s senior vice president in South Punjab.
Amber Majeed Niazi NA-181
The PTI-backed independent candidate, Amber Majeed Niazi, won from NA-181 Layyah by grabbing 120,499 votes. Her rival Sahibzada Faizul Hassan of PML-N could get 95,081 votes.
Amber Majeed Niazi jumped into elections after the crackdown on PTI workers in the aftermath of May 9 violence.
Her husband, Majeed Niazi, who won from the constituency in the previous elections, has been in hiding since May 9 riots.
Zartaj Gul NA-185
Former federal minister and PTI-backed independent candidate Zartaj Gul won the election by getting 94,881 votes against another independent candidate, Mehmood Qadir Khan, who could get only 32,929 votes from this constituency of DG Khan.
Nousheen Iftikhar NA-73
This National Assembly constituency of Sialkot has been clinched by PML-N candidate Nousheen Iftikhar.
She obtained 112,143 votes against PTI-backed independent candidate Ali Asjad Malhi who secured 104,067 votes.
Nousheen is the daughter of PML-N stalwart, the late Zahray Shah, who became MNA from Daska, Sialkot several times.
Maryam Nawaz NA-119
This National Assembly constituency of Lahore has been won by PML-N chief organiser Maryam Nawaz Sharif who got 83,855 votes against PTI-backed independent candidate Shahzad Farooq who could garner only 68,376 votes.
The victory marked the official entry of Sharif’s political scion in the parliamentary politics.
Tehmina Daultana NA-158
PML-N’s stalwart Begum Tehmina Daultana grabbed this seat from a constituency of Vehari by getting 111,196 votes against PTI-backed independent candidate Tahir Iqbal Chaudhry who got 103,052 votes.
Tehmina had closely worked with Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, the late wife of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, during the military dictatorship of Pervez Musharraf.
Shazra Mansab NA-112
PML-N candidate Shazra Mansab Ali Khan Kharal won this seat of Nankana Sahib by getting 105,646 votes against PTI-backed independent candidate Ijaz Shah who could secure 93,316 votes.
Ijaz Shah became MNA from the constituency in 2018 on PTI ticket. He is the former DG of Intelligence Bureau.
Shazia Marri NA-209
Shazia Marri of PPP clinched this seat from Sanghar by getting 156,002 votes against GDA candidate Muhammad Khan Junejo who got 139,604 votes.
Shazia has also served as an MNA from this constituency in the past and she is considered the central leader of PPP.
Nafisa Shah NA-202
PPP’s Nafisa Shah won this seat of Khairpur by getting 146,083 votes against GDA candidate Syed Ghaus Ali Shah who could get only 28,613 votes.
Ghaus Ali Shah has served as the chief minister of Sindh in the past.
Nafisa Shah has also represented her people from this constituency in the past. She is the daughter of veteran PPP leader and former Sindh chief minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah.
Asia Ishaq NA-232
Asia Ishaq Siddiqui of MQM-P won the seat from Karachi by getting 88,258 votes against PTI-backed independent candidate Adeel Ahmad who got 66,574 votes.
Women aren't the focus
Only 3,235 (4.91pc) women candidates were in the race out of 65,916 total candidates in Feb 8 polls.
The PML-N allotted six general seats tickets to women candidates - PML-N chief organiser Maryam Nawaz Sharif, Saira Afzal Tarar, Nousheen Iftikhar, Shazra Mansab Ali, Tehmina Daultana and Syeda Shehrbanu Bukhari.
The PPP fielded Nafisa Shah and Shazia Marri as ticket holders in National Assembly general seats.
There were 21 PTI-backed independent women candidates in the field including Rehana Imtiaz Dar, Alia Hamza Malik, Dr Yasmin Rashid, Zartaj Gul and Mehr Bano Qureshi.