As Pakistan approaches its upcoming general elections, three remarkable women candidates are challenging norms and advocating for change in their communities. Despite constituting a mere 5% of the nearly 6,500 candidates, these women bring diverse backgrounds and aspirations, shedding light on the complexities of female participation in Pakistani politics.
Zeba Waqar, a YouTuber and Islamic influencer, is making her political debut with Jamaat-e-Islami. Utilizing her online platform, Waqar educates women about Islam and empowers them through religious knowledge. Her agenda includes economic empowerment and advocating for stronger anti-harassment laws to address the challenges faced by many women.
Samar Haroon Bilour thrust into politics following her husband’s assassination, became the first woman provincial lawmaker in Peshawar. Despite societal resistance and threats, she continues her husband’s legacy with the Awami Workers Party. Bilour focuses on job creation and stands against violence, exemplifying resilience in the face of adversity.
Saveera Parkash, a recent medical graduate, represents a young Hindu woman’s perspective in a conservative region. Running with the Pakistan Peoples Party, she advocates for religious harmony and inclusivity. Parkash aims to combat gender-based discrimination and empower women through education and healthcare.
These women’s stories underscore the multifaceted struggle for female representation in Pakistani politics. While confronting societal norms and entrenched biases remains a formidable challenge, their courage and determination pave the way for a more inclusive and representative political landscape. As the nation heads to the polls, these women embody the potential for positive transformation and progress in Pakistani society.