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National

June 13, 2018

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PML-N women protest reserved seats list

LAHORE: The PML-N faced massive backlash in the form of protest demonstrations and severe criticism on social media after a list for reserved seats for women was submitted by the party to the ECP.

The ones who were alleged to have been listed on nepotistic grounds instead of merit were: Marriyum Aurangzeb’s mother Tahira Aurangzeb, fallen adviser on foreign affairs Tariq Fatemi’s wife Zahra Wadood Fatemi, PML-N South Punjab leader Ch Jaffar Iqbal’s wife Ishrat Ashraf, daughter Zeb Jaffar and niece Maiza Hameed Gujjar, Zaeem Qadri’s wife Uzma Qadri, Shaista Pervez Malik’s secretary Kanwal Liaqat, former MPA Adnan Hayat Noon’s wife Tahira Noon, Ayesha Rajab Baloch widow of ex-MNA Rajab Ali Baloch, Kh Asif’s wife Musarrat Asif Khawaja and niece Shaza Fatima Khawaja, former finance minister Rana Afzal’s wife Najma Afzal Rana and senator Mushahidullah’s daughter Rida Khan among others.

The three-member committee that finalised the list comprised senator Nuzhat Sadiq, former MPA Zakia Shahnawaz and former MNA Shaista Pervez Malik. Sameera Amjad, Zarka Naseem, Saira Bano, Kishwar Bajwa, Raahat Shaukat, Parveen Nishtar, Zubaida Bhatti, Munawwar Qadri and Tanvir Chaudhry held a protest demonstration in front of the PML-N Central Office at Naseerabad. PML-N Cultural Wing head Mrs Malik held a protest demonstration for the same reason in front of the Lahore Press Club and shouted slogans against the irregularities in the selection process by the party in their choice for women reserved seats. The backlash on social media was equally strong and Maryam Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif were flooded with tweets and complaints by party workers and supporters for ignoring diehard party workers who had worked for the party in the last elections and were promised that the party would recognise their services in the 2018 elections. The PML-N issued their list late Monday night after which a barrage of criticism was seen all over social media and within the party circles. Many female ex-parliamentarians were shocked after they got to know about the final list.

Sources told The News that the PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz had finalised the list but the same was altered later by certain senior party leaders to grant favours to their own blue-eyed persons. The name of former senator Nehal Hashmi’s wife Dr Syed Nishat Fatima was in the list approved by Maryam Nawaz till the last moment but when the final list came out her name did not appear. Instead, her name was included in the list for Sindh, whereas she is a registered voter from Jhelum and had submitted her papers from Punjab seat.

Similar was the case with ex-MPA Saira Iftikhar, who had launched the Punjab Milk Project as the director of Punjab Livestock & Dairy Development Board (PLDDB). Her name was in the list till the final moment at No 17 but in the final list Ruksana Kausar’s name replaced her name. Interestingly, Ruksana Kausar’s name appears twice in the list submitted to the ECP, once at No 17 and again on No 38 which the protesting PML-N workers cite at last minute tempering of the list.

The PML-N spokesman while commenting in the issue said there was a clerical error in the list but other than that all the names were thoroughly discussed and finalised with all leadership on board. He ruled out the possibility of last minute tempering of the list.

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