=> PESHAWAR: Shazia Asif Khan Baghi is a candidate, w -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

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=> PESHAWAR: Shazia Asif Khan Baghi is a candidate, w

PESHAWAR: Shazia Asif Khan Baghi is a candidate, who started her political career in a male-dominated Pashtun culture after the tragic death of her husband by filing nomination papers for a provincial assembly’s general seat.

She is one of the few women candidates who are contesting for the provincial assembly’s general seats in the upcoming general elections slated for February 18.

Independent lawmakers: Shazia, who filled her nomination papers from PF-4 Peshawar-4 as an independent contestant, said that lawmakers with independent status can serve people better than those associated with political parties.

The widow of Muhammad Asif Khan Baghi, a union council nazim who was killed in a suicide bomb blast on January 27, 2007, told Daily Times that the reason for contesting elections was that she wanted to fulfill the mission of her late husband who worked all his life for the welfare of the people.

“Asif lives in the hearts of the masses, though he is not among us. If I don’t complete his mission, it will be a great injustice to the deceased. I am confident the residents of my constituency will vote for me to enable me to take forward my husband’s incomplete mission,” she said Shazia, 33, got her bachelor’s degree from FG College Peshawar and married Asif in 1997. She has three sons, aged 8, 10 and 3 years. “When I was at college, I loved sports and played volleyball and netball. I am also fond of cooking,” said Shazia with her youngest son in her lap.

Women’s problems:
Shazia, who is confident of winning the election, wants to work for women’s welfare and to solve their problems. “Only a woman can understand the problems of women,” she said, adding that she would establish embroidery centres, schools and colleges in her constituency. The provincial assembly candidate wants to complete the 21 canal children park project in Nauthia that her late husband launched, besides “a Disney Land” and an underpass to ease traffic in her constituency.

“I was shy and hesitant in the beginning when local and for­eign media interviewed me. But now I have gained confidence and will try to represent my constituency in an impressive manner,” she continued. Shazia said her husband had his own vote bank and that his supporters would vote her to power.

“My opponents cannot defeat me. I will win with a majority,” said Shazia who has 17 electoral rivals including two women, Dr Simin Mahmud Jan of the Pakistan Muslim League­Q and Khalida Nasreen of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement.

Source: Daily Times
Date:2/4/2008