Several women from various union councils in Faisalabad district have announced candidacy for the seats of chairperson, vice chairperson and general councillor in the local government elections scheduled for October 31. They have started campaigning and are holding public gatherings and corner meetings.
Of the 15 women contesting the election for general seats, four are running for the chairperson seat, five for vice chairperson and six for the general councillor seat.
A spokesperson for the Election Commission of Pakistan told The Express Tribune that Shahida Shaukat Wahla, fielded for election by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), is contesting the election for chairperson from UC-30, Negehbanpura. Sidra Amjad, the daughter of former MNA Mian Amjad Yaseen, will contest the election for the chairperson seat from UC-54, Abdullahpur. The spokesperson said Nasira Parveen is vying for the chairperson seat from UC-72 and Aalia Kausar from UC-142.
Among the women candidates for the vice chairperson seat, Manzoora Begum will contest elections from UC-77, Saima Liaquat from UC-87, Naheed Zafar Shah from UC-88, Mrs Ambar Butt for vice chairperson from UC-110, and Nasreen Begum from UC-115.
Among the women contesting elections for the general councillor seat, Shaheen Akhtar will contest from UC-5, Uzma Kamran from UC-15, Aalia Saleem from UC-46, Iffat Saleem from UC-56, Baji Allah Rakhi from UC-111 and Yasmeen Faiz from UC-116.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Shahida Shaukat Wahla, PTI’s candidate for chairperson from UC-30, said that her party had honoured her by giving her a ticket for the election.
“The PTI has encouraged women to apply for party tickets…it has brought women to the fore of politics. I am hopeful that I will win the election…I have my party’s complete backing,” she said.
Wahla said the PTI has played a significant role in changing people’s perceptions about women’s role in politics. “Our chief Imran Khan has played a key role in bringing about social change in many areas…we are far ahead of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz in this regard.”
She said the masses would not repose faith in the PML-N or the Pakistan Peoples Party as neither party had a track record of working for their welfare.
The people know better than to bring them to power at another tier, she said.
“I am optimistic about winning from my union council. When I announced my candidacy for the seat of chairman, most of the people in the UC not only congratulated me but also promised me their full support,” she said.
Saima Liaquat, aspiring to be the vice chairperson from UC-87, said that the participation of women in local government elections was absolutely necessary. “Women are an integral part of the society and have the ability to do a lot for the betterment and welfare of the nation.”
Candidate for the general councillor seat from UC-64 Aalia Saleem said, “No society is complete without the participation of women in the political sphere. Everyone, especially women must vote for and support women candidates if they want their problems, especially those faced by women, solved.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 14th, 2015.