Remembering Fauzia Wahab

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The death of Fauzia Wahab is a great loss for Pakistan’s politics. Fauzia Wahab, Member National Assembly (MNA) and a former student leader, successfully underwent a gallbladder surgery but she didn’t recover from post surgery complications and died on Sunday June 17, 2012.
Fauzia was born in 1956 and was the eldest of four children. She married Wahab Siddiqui, a journalist and TV anchorman in political talk shows, in 1978. For the next fourteen years, she was a housewife and had four children. Her husband Wahab Siddiqui died of a massive heart attack and her life took a new turn. She then re-married prominent cardiologist Dr Athar Hussein.
Fauzia Wahab was a self made lady who belonged to a middle class family. She struggled and proved herself to be a great lady in all ways.
Fauzia Wahab has worked for the Pakistan Industrial and Commercial Leasing as a Marketing Manager between 1993 and 1996. In 1998, Benazir Bhutto nominated Fauzia Wahab to become the Central Coordinator of the Human Rights Cell and was tasked to correspond with human rights defending organisations abroad. Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto nominated her to become the Information Secretary of women’s wing of the PPP in Sindh, a position Fauzia held till early 2002. She was also an active proponent for the repealing of the Hudood Ordinance as well as the blasphemy laws.
When the Pakistani general election, 2002 were called in October, she was nominated as a candidate for the reserved seats for women in the National Assembly. She took oath as a legislator and was also made part of Standing Committee on Privatisation and Standing Committee on Economic Affairs. She was also a senior member of the Finance Committee of the National Assembly that looked after the budget of the assembly. During the National Assembly of 2002 and 2007, she was a very active member of the opposition involved in a number of questions, calling attention notices, adjournment motions, resolutions and motions. She was also a mover of a number of bills including a bill on the environment and a ban on polythene bags.
She was nominated again for a second term by the PPP and returned to the National Assembly. She took oath as a Treasury bench member on March 6, 2008. After Information Minister Sherry Rehman resigned from her government position, the party position she held was taken away and Fauzia Wahab was appointed the Information Secretary of the PPP. By virtue of being the Information Secretary, Fauzia Wahab became an ex-officio member of the Central Executive Committee of the Party. Fauzia Wahab apparently resigned after the Raymond Davis controversy in February 2011, as she made some comments about the Davis case and the outgoing Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in a ‘disciplinary’ tone that the Peoples Party immediately disowned. She still continued to be an MNA.
Fauzia was an asset for Pakistan. She has been a great politician and a brave lady as well. We all are dejected on this loss of Pakistan. May Allah Rest her soul in peace.
BUSHRA HANIF
Lahore