Of women MPs -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Of women MPs

By Iftekhar A Khan

Wzomen’s sensitivity is a delicate subject. When women in question are the rotund begums of domestic variety transformed into parliamentarians without contesting a direct election, the matter is even more sensitive. In the last few days, episodes of begums grappling with each other and pulling each other’s hair have surfaced in the media. The lawmakers hurled choice obscenities on each other causing disgust to many who now question the wisdom behind the provision of reserved seats for women in parliament.

What have the indirectly elected women so far contributed to justify their presence in the five houses of parliament? Other than making the assembly halls look like a canvas painted in assorted colours, their contribution is precious little. How does it then rationalise the blatant misuse of public money on the upkeep of unelected MPs?

Surely, the women aspiring for public representation are entitled to contest elections to become MPs but not by sneaking through the back door of reserved seats. An MP elected by voters might have an independent opinion on a certain issue and the courage to differ with party honchos but the one elected on a reserved seat would only serve them as a doormat.

It was Gen Musharraf’s brainchild to add women’s seats, for which he had his own abstract logic. The foremost: he wanted to show the world a soft face of the country besides proving himself an enlightened moderate, a misnomer he coined for himself.

Another reason for enhancing the women seats was to accommodate wives, daughters and daughters-in-law of those who were already enjoying the perks and privileges and were beholden to the general. However, the present government didn’t touch the reserved seats for women in the 18th Amendment even if it did away with much else the general had enacted. Having reserved seats even suits this government because it too has a hefty cargo of family and friends to accommodate as freeloaders. If you now survey to know ‘who’s who’ in parliament, you’d realise the national politics is a joint family business. What’s more, even Musharraf wants to return to serve the people, some of whom he sold for bounty. He has tasked his wife to lead the party until he later takes over. Perhaps he is tired of leading life of a run-away dictator. By putting his wife in the lead, one only hopes he isn’t aiming at the shortest route to presidency.

Living in peaceful solitude after a life of fame and fortune is neither politicians’ nor bureaucrats’ idea of an enriching life. And retired generals in the race take the trophy. Musharraf’s three devotees — Barrister Saif, Dr Sher Afgan and Rashid Qureshi – have assured him that the silent majority anxiously waits to give him a hero’s welcome. And that all other leaders had failed and only he could lead the nation out of the quagmire it’s in. Megalomaniac Musharraf doesn’t understand that a general without his troops is not even a hero of a minor town he hailed from.

Why haven’t our politicians noted how Margaret Thatcher and John Major ended their political careers? Both are relics of the past. Similarly, why doesn’t Mush learn from Bush? As one sits pondering over why the politicians, bureaucrats and generals want to occupy positions of power and pelf after having played long innings, the only plausible answer that comes to mind is insatiable greed. And why the greed is more pronounced in Muslim rulers than others is an enigma.
Source: The News