By Iftikhar A. Khan
ISLAMABAD: Women parliamentarians showed amazing performance excelling in many areas during the business conducted by the 12th National Assembly (2002-2007) with 42 per cent of the entire legislation originating from the female MNAs.
Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Sherry Rehman said this while speaking at the launching ceremony of a five-year report on ‘performance of women parliamentarians’ published under legislative watch programme of Aurat Foundation here on Thursday.
The minister said time had come to expect more from men. She said women come to politics after facing many challenges and obstacles. She said the government was committed to political, social and economic empowerment of women, adding that zero tolerance to crimes against women was the corner-stone of government’s policy.
Others who spoke on the occasion included Deputy Head of the Mission, Embassy of Norway, Dr Sissel Volan, members of the National Assembly Yasmeen Rehman and Begum Ishrat Ashraf, ex-MNAs Samia Raheel Qazi and Mehnaz Rafi and Anis Haroon of Aurat Foundation.
The research based report authored by Naeem Mirza and Wasim Wagah said the women had 27 per cent share in the total questions, 30 per cent of the total calling attention notices, 42 per cent of the total private members bills, 24 per cent of the total resolutions and eight per cent of the total adjournment and privilege motions.
There have been altogether 3,698 interventions by 58 women legislators during the five years. These included 2,724 questions, 380 times participation in debate, 306 points of order, 99 calling attention notices, 101 private member bills, 14 resolutions, 69 privilege and adjournment motions and five points of personal explanation.
As many as 25 women parliamentarians altogether made 3,132 out of 3,698 total interventions in five years, meaning thereby that they dominated the proceedings of the house in various categories from amongst the 58 women parliamentarians.
Yasmeen Rehman of the PPP, with the individual score of 322, has to her credit the highest number of interventions in five years. Fauzia Wahab of the PPP came second in the ranking of individual score with 242 interventions, followed by Samia Raheel Qazi (MMA), who came third with 238 interventions. Ms Beelam Hasnain of the PPP stood at fourth position with 231 positions. The fifth position is held by Mehnaz Rafi (PML-Q) with 187 interventions.
Inayat Begum of the MMA is sixth in the ranking with the individual score of 179, followed by Samina Khalid Ghurki of PPP with 165 interventions. The eighth position is held by Kashmala Tariq (PML-Q) with 132 interventions, followed by Shakila Khanum Rashid (PPP) with 114 interventions. The tenth position was held by Sherry Rehman with 106 interventions.
Only two women legislators in the list of 25 most active women parliamentarians were elected to the National Assembly on general seats. All the rest of 23 women lawmakers were elected to the National Assembly on reserved seats. Almost all women in the list of 25 were experienced politicians having long associations with their respective parties.
The PPP has the largest group among the 25 most active women MNAs with its 14 MNAs in the list, sharing together 1,772 initiatives. They are followed by seven women legislators of the MMA with overall 784 initiatives, three of PML-Q MNAs with 392 initiatives and one from PML-N with 95 initiatives.
The record of the ruling PML-Q remained dismal as despite having the highest number of women legislators in the house, only three of its members were able to make it to the list of 25.Among the most active women MNAs, 22 out of 25 belonged to the opposition parties.
About overall performance of the 12th National Assembly, the report said it barely met the constitutional requirement of 130 days per year during the first four years. It did not meet the constitutional requirement in the last year, during which it met only for 83 days.