A Pakistani women’s journey in the electoral process


The number of female contestants participating in general election has witnessed manifold increase with the passage of time and has reached to 448.

Like thousands of male candidates, 448 women are contesting, most of whom are new entries to the electoral process.

Of the total female candidates running for elections, 147 are vying for 105 National Assembly seats and 301 contesting for 203 provincial seats.

Two women are contesting elections for a seat in the federal capital while another woman is engaged in campaigning for a seat from tribal areas, which has made her the only woman from that area to contest from the region.

A comparison of forthcoming elections with 2008 elections shows there is big rise in the number of female candidates as there were 73 women in the race for 64 seats in 2008.

During elections in 2002, a total of 57 women contested elections on 50 National Assembly seats. Since three women contested two seats each, three were overall 60 female candidates.

Of these 34 contested 31 seats from Punjab, 21 contested 14 seats from Sindh, three contested three seats Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and one contested a seat from Balochistan. No woman contested on general seats from Islamabad and FATA.

For National Assembly, party tickets were awarded to 38 women while 22 women contested as independent candidates. Among political parties, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) gave tickets to 10 women, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) gave eight tickets; Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) gave four tickets, Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) also gave four.

Thirteen women were elected as members National Assembly in 2002.

During elections in 1997, a total of 35 women candidates filed nomination papers; three from KP, 11 from Punjab and 19 from


Benazir Bhutto filed nomination from both NA-160 and NA-171 making the total number of female candidatures from Sindh to 20.

One candidate filed nomination papers from the capital which she later withdrew while there were no women candidates from Balochistan and FATA.

During elections of 1993, fourteen women candidates contested elections. PPP nominated three women as its candidates- Benazir Bhutto, Nusrat Bhutto and Shahnaz Javed and all three of them won.

PML-N fielded four women candidates with one, Tehmina Daultana returning successfully.

Two of the other three women candidates, Kishwar Abid Hussain and Majeeda Wyne, of PML-N also performed well and stood second to the winners. Hameeda Khuhro however could not dent the formidable vote bank of Nusrat Bhutto in NA-164.

Election proceedings in NA-123 were terminated due to the assassination of Ghulam Haider Wyne the PML-N leader and constant from the constituency. PML-N awarded the party ticket to his wife Majeeda Wyne when fresh proceedings were held.

During elections of 1990, twelve women candidates contested elections.

Benazir Bhutto of people’s Democratic Alliance (PDA) contested from both NA-1 and NA-166.

Besides Benazir Bhutto and Nusrat Bhutto, the PDA also nominated Shahnaz Javaid as its candidate from NA-126.

She lost to an IJI nominee in a close contest.