I’ll start by mentioning, ‘still a lot to be done’. Nobody can deny the importance of the women’s participation in politics in present scenario. Existence of women political leadership in a society is the dire need of the day. It is strong belief that empowering women in a society is the main key of development, both in social and economic sectors. Gender equality as a basic human right was the basic principle of the United Nations’ development plan for the third millennium. It has been followed by most of the developed states of the lovely planet. When it comes to Pakistan, the role of women in Pakistani politics is mainly reflected by the rich and influential past of the Indian sub-continent where they enjoyed major consultative role in decision making at the government levels. Women of the Indian sub-continent used to assist the rulers in the state affairs through their intellect and wisdom. Even in the historic independence movement, many women delivered their utmost and fruitful efforts in the struggle for freedom and Pakistan Movement. It was the result of their dedication under the guidance of the charismatic Jinnah, Pakistan very soon emerged on the world’s map as the largest Muslim state of the world.
The journey of Pakistani politics started that suffered from many back to back injuries caused by continuous dictator regimes with different intervals. It also mainly affected the woman’s participation in the politics at the grass root level. Pakistani state as a whole faced many hurdles and impediments in the formation of a true welfare society, so the same hindrance was also faced by the women in playing their role with steadfastness for the state’s development. Apart from this, Pakistani political history sparkles with the services of many notable woman politicians who worked for the constitutional improvement in the country.
Ms.Fatima Jinnah who was the sister of Mohammad Ali Jinnah and was a dental surgeon by profession used to assist Jinnah with her acumen and judgmental intuition during the freedom movement. Even after this, during the dictatorship of Field Marshal Ayyub Khan, when she decided to contest the Presidential elections in 1965, she was followed by majority including a significant number of women. Although she was defeated by the results which were the outcomes of the Military rigging, but it laid the foundation for a Pakistani woman to contest the highest political office of the country. As she obtained the popular vote, it also showed that the people of Pakistan were not biased for electing a woman as the head of their government.
After this, many women in Pakistan specially belonging to the political families appeared as strong organs of the Pakistani political culture where they not only took part in the practical politics but also endowed many organizations for the women empowerment and general betterment of Pakistani society. Women wings in all of the political parties were established. Many women got access to the legislative assemblies. In the late 1980’s, many Pakistani women political workers gathered to condemn the dictatorship of Gen. Zia-ul-Haq under the leadership of Bhutto iron ladies. Door was opened and Benazir Bhutto appeared as the strongest and the most popular leader of her times. She was massively welcomed by the general public of Pakistan. She became the first and the youngest prime minister of any Muslim country in the world and she held the office of the head of the state twice during 1990’s. Her energetic leadership and stunning brilliance impressed many women who later came forward and proved their worth in the political scenario.
Since then, the Pakistani female politicians are playing vital role in the affairs of their parties and parliament. Another bright example is Fahmida Mirza, who remained as the 18th Speaker of the National Assembly. She was a Pakistan’s first woman to hold such prestigious office in the constitutional history of Pakistan. Hina Rabbani Khar is another prime example, who was appointed the first female Foreign Minister in July 2011. Although these all women set precedents for a positive change in the Pakistan’s political culture but still the status of woman in Pakistan needs to be uplifted. Currently the women in Pakistan have been provided (70) reserved seats in Pakistan’s National Assembly (60) and for minority members (10) of Parliament. These seats are allocated to political parties based on proportional representation.
But there is a strong criticism on this system as many women (not all of them) are just entering in the assemblies to represent their political families. The need of the day is to create the situation and circumstances for women, where they should contest in the general elections and become the parliament members. This might be the only way, the genuine representation of Pakistani people and woman will appear in the Parliament. Similarly, the political parties in Pakistan should hold their party’s elections in times and promote women into higher leadership positions. This is why; I started this article by stating ‘still a lot to be done’. A strong awareness among the Pakistani women must be created to know about their political rights and to make them understand that by virtue of obtaining the political offices, they can themselves become truly active in the legislation process and other state’s affairs.
After narrating the Role of women in Pak politics, we have a list of 50 most popular Pakistani female politicians of present times in alphabetical order along with their gorgeous images and other details who have competed their male counterparts in popularity in Pakistani political scenario.
1. Aasiya Nasir – She was born on 15 July 1971 and is a well-known Pakistani politician and parliamentarian, affiliated with Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (F). She became a member of national assembly on a reserved seat for minorities in Pakistani general elections, 2013. In the 2002 general elections, Aasiya was elected as a member of national assembly on a reserved seat for minorities by Islamic political alliance Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal.
2. Alizeh Iqbal Haider is an Ex-MNA who was elected on the reserved seats for women and she is affiliated with Pakistan Peoples Party. She is the daughter of former lawmaker Iqbal Haider and she entered into politics to carry forward her father’s human rights work.
3. Andleeb Abbas is professionally a trainer and a consultant who is famed as an occasional writer too. She specializes in the areas of Strategic Management and marketing strategy. She is training and marketing consultant to the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and DFID. She is the spokesperson for Punjab in Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and is also known as a high ranking political activist of PTI.
4. Anusha Rahman is a Pakistani politician and a lawyer who is serving presently as the Minister of State of Information Technology and Telecommunication. Her specialization was in Law and Economics of regulated industries, networks and markets. She also sits on the board of directors of Punjab Educational Endowment Fund. She is a senior member of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League and holds the membership of its Central Working Committee.
5. Asma Arbab Alamgir was the MNA and the Adviser to the Prime Minister on SAFRON (States and Frontier Regions) in the last regime in Pakistan. Asma Arbab Alamgir is considered as an eminent female Politician of Pakistan and she belongs to Peshawar (Khyber Pakhtunkhwah). She obtains a graduation in degree in Law and Economics.
6. Asma Mamdot is a Pakistani politician and a prominent parliamentarian. She was elected a member of national assembly on a reserved seat for women from Punjab in Pakistani general election, 2013. She is affiliated with Pakistan Muslim League (N).
7. Ayesha Gulalai Wazir is a famous Pakistani activist-politician and the Member of National Assembly representing Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf on a reserved seat for women. Prior to joining PTI, Ayesha has served as the Chief Coordinator of the Pakistan Peoples Party for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and was also briefly part of All Pakistan Muslim League.
8. Ayla Malik was born on October 6, 1970 and is a Pakistani politician and journalist who served as the Member of National Assembly from 2002 to 2007 on a reserved seat for women. She is a central member of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and served as Imran Khan‘s campaign manager in Mianwali. Ayla is one of the granddaughters of Malik Amir Mohammad Khan of Kalabagh, who had been the governor of West Pakistan.
9. Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari was born on January 25, 1990. She is the leader and Chairperson of the women wing of Pakistan people’s Party (PPP) and she is the favored daughter of former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto and former president of Pakistan Asif Ali Zaradri.
10. Bushra Gohar was born on 5 May 1961 and is an accomplished Pakistani stateswoman, public intellectual and one of leading woman politician. She is currently serving as the Senior Vice-President of the Awami National Party as well as Chairman of the Standing Committee on Women’s Development and a senior member on Standing Committee on Foreign, Finance, and Kashmir Affairs.
11. Farahnaz Ispahani is a former Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan. Politician, writer, women & minority rights advocate, Farahnaz Ispahani is a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center. She is a Pakistani politician who has also served as a Media Advisor to the President of Pakistan.
12. Faryal Talpur is a politician from Sindh, Pakistan. Faryal Talpur is the sister of Asif Zardari, the former President of Pakistan and sister-in-law of Benazir Bhutto. She was twice elected as the district mayor of Nawabshah from 2001-2005. She became a member of National Assembly in 2008 and was in office till 2013 she again won her seat 2013 and is office till date.
13. Fouzia Hameed is an enlightened Pakistani politician, and parliamentarian. She was elected a member of national assembly on a on reserved seat for women from Sindh in Pakistani general election, 2013. She is affiliated with Muttahida Qaumi Movement.
14. Fauzia Kasuri was born on 8 September 1952 and is a skilled Pakistani politician. She is one of the central figures of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. Kasuri presided over the women’s wing of PTI until 20 March 2013.
15. Fahmida Mirza was born on December 20, 1956 and was the 18th Speaker of the National Assembly. She was trained as a proficient doctor at Liaquat Medical College, Jamshoro, Sindh, in 1982. Joining the Peoples Party in 1997, her political philosophy reflected democratic socialism. Dr. Fahmida Mirza belongs to a strong political family and is a seasoned parliamentarian three times a member of National Assembly.
16. Firdous Ashiq Awan was born on 11 January 1970 and is a polished female Pakistani politician. She belongs to Sialkot and was appointed as the Federal Minister for National Regulation and Services in the Raja Cabinet I. She was elected first time in 2002 on the seat of National Assembly and succeeded in the party PML (Q). In 2008, she was elected again by joining Pakistan People’s Party on the seat of National Assembly.
17. Ghulam Bibi Bharwana was born on May 5, 1977, in Satiana, Jhang. She is a talented Pakistani female politician. Since the 2002 General Elections, she has thrice been elected as Member of National Assembly of Pakistan. She has served in the committee on Culture, Sports, Tourism and Youth Affairs, the committee on Education, and the committee on Petroleum and Natural Resources.
18. Hina Pervaiz Butt is a Member of Punjab Assembly affiliated with PML (N) who is basically a Fashion Designer by profession. She is a graduate from Lahore University of Management Sciences. She is ambitious to bring change in Pakistan, especially to stop domestic issues like child marriage and domestic violence.
19. Hina Rabbani Khar was born on 19 November 1977 and is a renowned Pakistani stateswoman and economist who was the 26th Foreign Minister of Pakistan. Khar is a graduate of the (LUMS). In 2004, she was appointed as the Finance Ministry. Her father was a prominent national politician and formerly served as a member of the National Assembly. She is also niece of Ghulam Mustafa Khar, former Governor and Chief Minister of Punjab.
20. Kashmala Tariq was born on January 24, 1972, in Lahore. She previously belonged to PML-Q and was a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan from the Women Reserve Constituency NA-277/NA-302 for the province of Punjab. She got elected twice as member parliament, and served for 10 years (2002-2012).
21. Kiran Haider is a bright Pakistani politician, and parliamentarian. She was elected a member of national assembly on a reserved seat for women from Baluchistan in Pakistani general election, 2013. She is affiliated with Pakistan Muslim League (N).
22. Leila Khan is the current MNA. She is the radiant chairperson of Prime Minister’s Youth Program and Central President PML (N) Women Youth Wing. She is working on these posts on honorary basis and without taking any salary or privileges from the government.
23. Maiza Hameed also remained as an EX-MPA (member of Provincial Assembly) and currently she is an MNA (member of National Assembly) affiliated with PML (N). Her hometown is Rahim Yar Khan.
24. Marriyum Aurangzeb is a glowing Pakistani politician who has been serving as Pakistan Muslim League (N) member of the National Assembly of Pakistan since 2013. She got her BA education from the Federal Government College, Islamabad and MSc education from Quaid-i-Azam University. She is also an MSc degree holder from King’s College London on Environment and Development.
25. Marvi Memon was born on 21 August 1972 who is a conservative politician and businesswoman, serving as the central and public figure of the Pakistan Muslim League (N) (PML-N) presided by Nawaz Sharif. Marvi contested 11 May 2013 general election of Pakistan from Thatta and lost the election. She was nominated by PML-N party as a member of the National Assembly from Punjab’s reserved seats for women.
26. Maryam Safdar was born on 28 October 1973 and is a shining Pakistani female politician. She is the daughter of the current Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. She is a prominent figure in Pakistani politics, serving as a Nawaz Sharif daughter in the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N).
27. Munaza Hassan is a resplendent Pakistani politician who currently presides over women wing of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and represents the party as the Member of National Assembly on a reserved seat for women. Munaza studied at Queen Mary School and Kinnaird College. She joined the PTI in 1996 and served as Imran Khan’s chief polling agent at NA-95 in 1997.
28. Mussarat Ahmed Zeb was born in 1950 in Nowshera, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and is a leading Pakistani activist-politician, social entrepreneur and the member of the former royal family of State of Swat. She is currently the Member of National Assembly representing Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf on a reserved seat for women. She also runs a chain of vocational schools for women providing them with training for stitching, sewing and embroidery and then employing them.
29. Nafeesa Inayatullah Khan Khattak is a Pakistani politician, and parliamentarian. She was elected a member of national assembly on reserved seats for women from Khyber Paktunkhwa in Pakistani general election, 2013.
30. Nafisa Shah is a former Member of National Assembly (MNA) from Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) who also remained as the Vice-President of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA). Shah frequently writes for publications such as The Express Tribune and The News.
31. Naseema is an MNA who belongs to Quetta, Pakistan. She is actually the MNA at reserved Seat for Women in Baluchistan. She took oath on 01-06-2013.
32. Naz Baloch is a Pakistani politician. She is central vice president of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. She ran for election to the national assembly from Constituency NA-240 in May 2013 as a candidate of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. Her ethnically Baloch father, Abdullah Baloch, is a high-ranking member of Pakistan Peoples Party in Karachi.
33. Palwasha Zia Khan is a luminous female politician who was elected as MNA on reserved women seat and is affiliated to Pakistan Peoples Party. She is considered as a young, energetic and daring woman political activist in Pakistan for her bold views.
34. Reeta Ishwar is a Pakistani politician and parliamentarian. She was elected a member of national assembly on a reserved seat for women from Sindh in Pakistani general election, 2013. She is affiliated with Pakistan Muslim League (F).
35. Reham Khan was born on 3 April 1973 and is a dazzling British Pakistani journalist. She is married to politician and former cricketer Imran Khan. In 2013, Khan came to Pakistan and joined Pakistani news channel News One. She later joined AAJ TV.
36. Rida Khan is presently MNA (member of National Assembly) of Pakistan. She is the daughter of the celebrated PML-N leader, Mushahidullah Khan. Rida Khan was born in Rawalpindi on 13th October 1983. She has done BA in Psychology and Sociology. She also holds a MSC degree in Sociology.
37. Saira Afzal Tarar was born in 1966 and is a Pakistani politician, conservative figure, schoolteacher, feminist, and the current Minister of National Health Services Regulation and Coordination, appointed since 7 June 2013. She ran for the Parliament of Pakistan in General elections of 2008 and 2013 from Constituency NA-102 on PML-N ticket, winning both times.
38. Sajida Begum is politically affiliated with PTI. She was elected as MNA from Khyber Pukhtunkhwa and she took oath on 01-06-2013.
39. Saman Sultana Jafri belongs to Muttahida Qaumi Movement and she is from Sindh, Pakistan. She took oath as the member of the National Assembly, Pakistan on 01-06-2013.
40. Sassui Palijo is a young liberal politician and a columnist in Pakistan who was born in 1976. She remained as the Member of the Provincial Assembly of Sindh from Mirpur Sakro Thatta PS-85 THATTA-II. She belongs to Pakistan Peoples Party.
41. Shahjehan Mangrio belongs to National Peoples Party and is from Sindh, Pakistan. She took oath as member of the National Assembly on 01-06-2013.
42. Shakila Luqman is a Pakistani politician, and parliamentarian. She was elected a member of national assembly on a reserved seat for women from Punjab in Pakistani general election, 2013. She is affiliated with Pakistan Muslim League (N).
43. Sharmila Farooqi was born on January 1, 1978 and is a reputable politician from Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan who served as an advisor to the Chief Minister of Sindh from September 2008 till January 31, 2011. Farooqi earned her Master of Business Administration from the Adamson Institute of Business Administration and Technology, Karachi and a Master of Laws degree.
44. Shahzadi Umerzadi Tiwana is a Pakistani politician, and parliamentarian. She was elected a member of national assembly on a on reserved seats for women from Punjab in Pakistani general election, 2013. She is affiliated with Pakistan Muslim League (N).
45. Shazia Ashfaq Mattu is a Pakistani politician, and parliamentarian. She was elected a member of national assembly on a reserved seat for women from Punjab in Pakistani general election, 2013. She is affiliated with Pakistan Muslim League (N).
46. Shazia Marri was born on 8 October 1972 and is an outstanding Pakistani politician who was a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan. She remained provincial Minister for Information and Electric Power of Sindh. She is from Sanghar, Sindh, Pakistan. She was elected to provincial assembly of Sindh for first time from 2002-2007 and again from 2008-2013, from PSW-133, one of the seats reserved for women, representing Pakistan Peoples Party.
47. Shazia Mubashar is a recognized Pakistani politician, and parliamentarian. She was elected a member of national assembly on a ticket of Pakistan Muslim League (N) from NA-129 (Lahore) in Pakistani general election, 2013.
48. Syeda Shehla Razawas born on 15 May 1964 in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan and is an acclaimed Pakistan People’s Party politician. By 2014, she had become deputy speaker in the Sindh Assembly. Raza completed her undergraduate and graduate education in Physiology at the University of Karachi. Her political career began while she was attending university.
49. Shireen Mehrunnisa Mazari is a Pakistani political scientist, journalist and a prominent geostrategist, who served as Director-General of the Foreign Affairs Tank of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf until she resigned from that organization in September 2012, she again joined the party on 18 March 2013. She was appointed central spokesperson of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. She was nominated as a Member of National Assembly on a reserved seat for women by the party; she joined the current parliament on May 2013.
50. Sumaira Malik is a politician from Khushab District, Punjab, Pakistan.She ran for the National Assembly seat from Constituency NA-69 in the Pakistani general election, 2002 on National Alliance ticket, in Pakistani general election, 2008 on PML-Q ticket & in Pakistani general election, 2013 on PML-N ticket. Securing the seat all three times. She was disqualified from her seat of National Assembly by the Supreme Court of Pakistan on account of her fake degree on 29 October 2013.