Local Bodies elections: Lahore women eager to contest
By Khawaja Naseer
LAHORE: A large number of women from the city’s posh areas are interested in contesting local bodies (LB) elections for the slots of nazims and naib-nazims.
Banners and wall chalkings bearing women candidates’ information can be seen for the first time in these areas, alongside election campaigns launched by candidates of various political parties.
These areas include Model Town Society and parts adjoining the Cantonment, particularly Charrar village, Punjab Cooperative Housing Society and Badian Road, where a number of women are contesting the naib-nazim seat.
A survey conducted by Daily Times about the active participation of women in the upcoming local council polls revealed that most of the women candidates were well educated and their families encouraged them to enter the political arena.
Noreen Qasir, a naib-nazim candidate from Badian Road, said that though Pakistan’s society was male-dominated, recent electoral reforms introduced by President General Pervez Musharraf have empowered women to take active part in the state’s administrative affairs. She said that being a law graduate it would be easy for her to work for her union council constituency. Nuzhat Fatima, a naib-nazim candidate from UC-27, said that her family was politically affiliated with the Pakistan People’s Party and she knew that the awareness against the military dictatorship and its outcome could rightly be introduced from the union council level.
In Model Town, banners in support of Shah mim Nazir, former councillor from Union Council (UC)-127, can be seen in all blocks of the Society. These banners also include names of Nazir’s women supporters, which is a new trend.
A former town nazim, commenting on the increased participation of women in the upcoming elections, said, “During the last tenure of local councils, most councillors elected on seats allotted for women, labourers and minorities were unaware about their positions and the rights they were entitled to. They spent most of their time demanding honorarium from the district nazim.”
However, after passing four years they became aware about how to utilise development funds of their relevant union councils, which is why they wanted to contest elections on the slots of nazims and naib-nazims, the town nazim said.