Attired in a white shalwar kamees, Rabia Faruqi is received mostly by women during her door-to-door electoral campaign in Union Council-217.
Many are taken by surprise when told that she is vying for the chairmanship of the UC from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N’s) platform, a party thought by many of having right-wing leanings. The perception, however, has not deterred her from campaigning vigorously. Faruqi is the sole woman in the city who has been awarded a ticket by the party to vie for a UC’s chairmanship.
“Someone in the party did remark, though only once, whether there were no men left in the PML-N that a woman had been awarded a ticket for a UC’s chairmanship in Lahore,” Faruqi disclosed to The Express Tribune while canvassing for support. “The response of the people has been extremely encouraging. I am treated well wherever I go. People promise to vote for me on October 31. Women have been particularly receptive,” she said. Faruqi has been facing tough competition from a joint panel of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Jamaat-i-Islami (JI).
“The kind of warmth I receive from women and senior citizens makes me believe that I will get a chance to represent the residents of the UC. Many elders address me as their daughter and show me inside when I canvass for support,” she said.
Shedding light on her plans for the UC, Faruqi said she would strive to construct a medical centre to ensure the provision of quality healthcare to the area’s women. “Revamping education and health standards are my foremost priorities. I also plan on opening a dastkari (handicrafts) school for girls here,” she said.
Faruqi said paucity of clean drinking water and absence of adequate sewerage were two pressing problems in the UC. She pledged to remedy the problems if she was elected. Faruqi said she would also strive to have some land earmarked for a graveyard as it was a staple demand of the residents.
Talking about her personal life, Faruqi said she had three daughters of whom the youngest was only nine months old. “I have a very supportive family. This allows me to serve the people.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 28th, 2015.