Female MPs aim for vacant slots in standing committees, govt depts


–Sarah Ahmed’s appointment as CPWB chairman raises concerns among other female lawmakers of ruling party

–Sources say party leadership giving top priority to newcomers, MPs from Lahore

–PTI MPA Firdous Rahna says CM has assured to make all appointments on merit

LAHORE: After the appointment of ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Member Provincial Assembly (MPA) Sarah Ahmed as the Child Protection Welfare Bureau (CPWB) chairman, other female parliamentarians have become eager to get their desired designations in the standing committees of the provincial house as well as government departments

According to sources, while Sarah’s appointment has raised concerns among female MPAs, some from different districts of Punjab have already written to Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Usman Buzdar seeking accommodation on other vacant slots.

“The CM has also directed Provincial Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Raja Basharat to evaluate the capability of all these female lawmakers while keeping in view their qualifications and subsequently accommodate them,” they said.

Sources in PTI told Pakistan Today that no other female MPAs of the ruling party except Sarah had received any government designation as of yet which was resulting in a rift between the lawmakers.

A PTI MPA, on the condition of anonymity, said the party was giving prime importance to newcomers or the parliamentarians who lived in Lahore.

“The leadership should stay in touch with women who belong to remote areas and work hard for the party. There are a lot of barriers between the leadership and female MPAs which is creating problems. The participation of women in the constitution of standing committees should be on merit and no one should be ignored on the basis of belonging to remote areas,” the lawmaker added.

Another female lawmaker of PTI told this scribe that instead of giving importance to members who came on reserved seats, the party should first think of those who won the 2018 polls on general seats.

“We make all-out efforts for the party and won on general seats but no one ever takes us on board in decision making,” she said and added that the party leadership should work to eliminate the culture of favouritism that is prevailing.

Speaking to Pakistan Today, PTI MPA Firdous Rahna said some 10 to 12 female lawmakers recently held a meeting with CM Buzdar and handed him letters seeking designations in standing committees and other departments. “He assured us that all nominations will be made on merit.”

She further said that there were 17 members on reserved seats who belong to Lahore which gives a message that the government is only focusing on the provincial capital.

“At the time when the party was recruiting parliamentary secretaries, there was a perception that the women from remote areas would be selected but it could not happen,” Rahna said, adding that no country could progress without the participation of women.

“I hope all the appointments are made on merit,” she said.

It is pertinent to note that earlier in the day, the PTI decided to award chairpersonship of as many as 11 standing committees to female members of the Punjab Assembly. Earlier, the female lawmakers were ignored when parliamentary secretaries were appointed as none of the 37 secretaries included women.