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March 26, 2018

PPP women making history


March 26, 2018

Historically speaking, Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah, Begum Nusrat Bhutto and Shaheed Benazir Bhutto are known as women leader, eloquently signifying role model of resistance against the military dictatorships in Pakistan.

Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah, though not from the PPP, optimised resistance movement against dictatorship of General Ayub Khan and, therefore, was considered absolutely necessary to mention here as a tribute to her towering personality. She also contested election against the dictator which she, though, lost because of the well- known notoriety of the then election which was sham by any criterion.

But, her struggle made Pakistani brave enough never to forego their privilege to elect their representatives thus conferring upon them the entitlement to exercise the constitutional authority on their behalf.

Another iconic personality was PPP leader Begum Nusrat Bhutto, who spearheaded the Movement for Restoration of Democracy against dictator Ziaul Haq.

She succeeded in shattering his image of invincibility. Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, like her charismatic father Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, brought down the dictator and his dictatorship and succeeded in restoring democracy after almost more than a decade long consistent struggle against the worst tyrannical ruler. Mohtarma also got rid of dictator General Pervez Musharraf, who used to claim that her political role in the country’s politics, was finished for all times to come. On the contrary, his fate was sealed indefinitely with condemnation and contempt. Historical justice had been squarely dispensed to him that could not be delayed indefinitely.

The Pakistan People’s Party and its ideology have the closest proximity to the vision of the Qauid. The party relentlessly sought out its implementation during the watch of its successive governments.

The party had passed landmark legislations and took unprecedented steps to empower the women of Pakistan as compared to other civilian and despotic governments put together. Shaheed Benazir Bhutto illuminated the path of resistance against status-quo and dictatorship to be traversed by the future generations.

Her sustained and arduous struggle against the forces of tyranny, suppression and persecution would continue to serve as a source of inspiration to the dispossessed and poorest of the poor.    

Shaheed Benazir Bhutto had earned the highest singular distinction of becoming first directly elected women Prime Minister not only of Pakistan but also among all the countries of the Muslim world. Her struggle against the ferocious dictatorships of General Ziaul  Haq and General Musharraf for democracy and empowerment of the people had no parallel in the political history of the Muslim world. The dividends of democracy, the people had been experiencing since her assassination were largely due to her courageous and sagacious leadership that stood for the constitutional rule under the most hostile environment unleashed by the ruthless dictators. She defeated them and made the history while her tormentors became history carrying blots of disgrace and disdain. She was though eliminated by the forces of extremism and authoritarianism, but her blood nurtured democracy and brought back constitutional rule in the country reflective of the aspirations of the people. The contemporary PPP leadership had been paying tribute to the “Great Bhuttos” by preserving and promoting it as their cherished legacy.

Begum Fahmida Mirza, former speaker of the National Assembly, was another illustrious women politician of the PPP who was made the first women speaker of the National Assembly of the country. She successfully and aptly conducted the business of the House during her tenure. Madam Ashraf Abbasi of the PPP had served as deputy speaker of the National Assembly, the first women holding such pivotal position in the parliamentary history of the country. It may not be out of place to mention here the PML-N leadership might have not been going through the traumatic politics of today if it had accepted the ruling of the then Speaker, Fehmida Mirza, bailing out then Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gialni. The PML- N undermined Parliament then and now they were facing the consequences of what they sowed in the past. The chicken, as always, has come home to roost.  The PML-N again asphyxiated Parliament when it turned down the PPP suggestion to tackle the Panama Papers issue at the Parliamentary forum. Indeed, they asked for what they are going through on almost daily basis.  

 Now, Senator Sherry Rehman, has been elected as Leader of the Opposition in the Senate after the PPP leadership nominated her for the prestigious parliamentary position. She has earned the distinction of becoming the leader of the opposition of the Senate, again first time in the history of the august House. The credit goes to the PPP leadership and its ideology that do not makes distinction on the basis of gender, creed, faith or ethnicity and consider all of them as equal citizens of Pakistan with equal rights. It may not contains a grain of an exaggeration to mention that the PPP accords special and favorable treatment to the less privileged sections of the society, like women, minorities and the people hailing from the less developed regions of the federation. Top leadership of the Party once projected, loudly and clearly-- the important mission of the Party--‘looking forward to see the day when the prime minister of Pakistan will be among the minorities’. It was the expression of the party commitment at the highest level, in a bold and statesmanlike manner.

 The physical manifestation of the same commitment was the election of Krishna Kumari as Senator; a Hindu Dalit woman from Thar, again such distinction was bestowed upon the minority women by the PPPP, first time in the history of this country. The entire media hailed this decision of the party with highly appreciative comments suggesting that other parties may emulate to encourage in creating an enabling environment for the minorities. The social media went viral as infinite numbers of congratulatory messages kept on pouring in. Her election as senator must have given a much needed sigh of relief to the minorities in the country who have been embroiled in a sense of acute insecurity further aggravated due to the sporadic incidents of violence against them right across the country. Such loathsome incidents tarnish the image of the country around the globe that literary puts cold water on country’s endeavors to project its soft image at the international level. The world, though, forgets the fact that the Muslims of the country are equally victims of the extremists and terrorists elements who have devoured about 60,000 people indiscriminately since the scourge engulfed the society due to the wrong policies of the military dictators.

The PPP’s track record exponentially stands out that it had taken substantive and futuristic steps to empower the women of Pakistan with big margin as compared to the other parties of the country. The PPP during its previous tenure passed important laws to protect the dignity and honour of the women folk when it passed numerous laws to save them from domestic violence and their festering intimidation at the work places. PPP’s flagship social security programme titled ( Benazir Income Support Programme) was also another milestone to empower the women because the elderly women were made the focal person in the income support initiative thus elevating their status  at the household level. Normally, elderly people are marginalised at that stage of age which is especially true in case of women hailing from the destitute segments of the society.

 The PPP fully understands the importance of women empowerment in the context of socio-economic uplift of the people as a whole. Their empowerment means empowerment of a household, community and the society with incredible positive prognosis. According to the World Bank Report, Pakistan’s GDP growth can jump up to the one third of the present scale if the country addresses the problem of women active participation in the work force. It may also solve the literacy problem in the country, including the alarming population growth because earning women will assert in favour of manageable size of the family. Also, women spend their earnings first and last on the welfare of their children and their priority is generally food and education. This trend is likely to give boost to the uplift of not only of the family but also to the relevant social setup. Its snowball impact will create win, win situation for all. Therefore, the role of the women is absolutely critical if a nation wants to be worthy of its existence.

The Quaid-i- Azam’s vision  of women role in the society has been beautifully and comprehensively elaborated in his saying which reads inter alia: ‘No nation can be ever worthy of its existence that cannot take its women along with men. No struggle can ever succeed without women participating side by side with men. There are two powers in the world, one is the sword and the other is pen. There is great competition and rivalry between the two’. There is third power stronger than the two, that of women’. How comprehensive and concise statement is on the vital role of women in nation’s overall development. The PPP leadership and its ideology fully understand the contour of Quaid’s vision with political will to implement it.  

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