By Asim Yasin
ISLAMABAD: The women parliamentarians of opposition along with their male colleagues Tuesday submitted a privilege motion in the National Assembly Secretariat on the non-issuance of development funds to women lawmakers on reserved seats during the last four years.
The opposition women legislators Dr Nafisa Shah, Dr Azra Fazal, Shazia Marri (PPP), Shireen Mazari, Munaza Hassan (PTI), Ayesha Syed (JI), Saman Jaffrey (MQM) along with other women parliamentarians including their male colleagues from the opposition parties submitted the motion. Expressing concern over lack of support from the women members from the PML-N, they said that practically Women Parliamentary Caucus has ceased to exist, as the PML-N women parliamentarians stood with their party and not with the women members.
Through the privilege motion, the opposition women parliamentarians stated that they had raised a question of privilege in accordance with Rule 95 of Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business on the failure of the government to grant sustainable development funds to women lawmakers elected on reserved seats to the Parliament for the last four years. The motion stated that the government has meanwhile been granting these funds to all male parliamentarians and those elected on minority seats.
“According to the Article 51(3) of the 1973 Constitution, 60 seats are reserved for women proportionate to the strength of each party in the province. Article 25(2) of the Constitution states that there shall be no discrimination on the basis of sex,” the motion stated.
The women legislators stated that in the Parliament itself, women constitute about 20 percent of members but contribute more than 50 percent of the business. “Also, their vote is equal to any other in passing of bills or constitutional petitions,” the motion stated.
It said the government’s action is blatantly discriminatory and unconstitutional. “Therefore, it is our view that this is not just the breach of the women members alone but it is the breach of privilege of the Assembly as a whole. The matter should immediately be taken up for discussion and action,” it stated.