Home Global News 2018 General Election Records Highest No. of Women Candidates in Pakistan

2018 General Election Records Highest No. of Women Candidates in Pakistan

The four major parties contesting Pakistan’s general election this year are—

  • PTI— Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf
  • PPP— Pakistan People’s Party
  • MMA— Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal
  • PML-N— Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz

As many as 171 women candidates will be in the run for Pakistan’s forthcoming general elections on July 25, with 105 running from party platforms while another 66 will contest as independent candidates.

This is the highest number of women ever to contest in a general election in Pakistan. The PPP has awarded the maximum number of tickets (19) to women. The next largest party to award tickets is the right-wing MMA, which has fielded 14 women candidates.

PTI and PML-N have fielded 11 women each. The Allah-o-Akbar party, on whose platform the Jamaat-ud-Dawah is contesting the elections, has fielded three women.

The number of women candidates in the 2013 elections was 135, with the number of independent candidates higher than those of party ticket-holders—74 and 61, respectively.

Prominent among those contesting for general seats this year are Sumaira Malik and Tehmina Daultana of the PML-N, Asma Alamgir, Mehreen Anwar Raja and Samina Khalid Ghurki of PPP, and former minister Firdous Ashiq Awan, and Yasmeen Rashid of PTI. Ayesha Gulalai, who herself holds a faction of the PTI, will be contesting from four constituencies in Khyber—Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Islamabad, and Sindh.

Independent candidate Ali Begum Khan is the only woman contesting from the tribal districts.

But women’s rights groups in Pakistan insist that more women present in the Parliament do not necessarily translate into more power and attention for women’s issues. “We have been sorely disappointed in the past,” said Tahira Abdullah of the Women Action Forum. Abdullah also added that many women, especially those who belong to religious parties, “usually do not even speak once on the floor during their entire time in Parliament”.

Political analyst Ghazi Salahuddin believes that the women elected on reserved seats or through the Senate are actually the ones who usually end up highlighting women’s issues in National Assembly and Senate. “These are the real crusaders.”