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Women parliamentarians more inquisitive than male counterparts

Rabia Ali

Karachi: For those who believe that a woman’s role is in the home just need to turn their attention to the Sindh Assembly and realise that in some cases, women can play a more active role than the best of men.

The female members of the Sindh Assembly submitted the highest number of questions on issues which are relevant to the current state of affairs in the province and the country.

According to a three-year report of the Sindh Assembly presented by Speaker Nisar Khuhro, the most questions asked between the period of April 5, 2008 and April 4, 2011 was by MPA Heer Soho of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement.

She just edged out National People’s Party MPA Arif Mustafa Jatoi by a margin of three questions as the latter submitted a grand total of 990 questions. However, Jatoi was the only male parliamentarian of the Sindh Assembly to feature in the top four. The third slot for most questions asked was bagged by Humera Alwani of the PPP, while Nusrat Abbasi who belongs to the PML-F took fourth. The report states that from out of the 168 parliamentarians, MPA Soho asked the most questions with 993. Out of these queries, 298 were allowed, 316 were laid on the floor, 226 were disallowed, 136 were under process and 17 were returned to the MPA.

She presented one adjournment motion which was ruled out and two private bills related to human rights and domestic violence. From these two, the domestic violence bill was still under process to obtain the consent of government, while the human rights bill was returned. Soho submitted 61 resolutions, out of which 55 lapsed, five were allowed and one was passed. She also submitted 28 motions, all of which lapsed.

Speaking to The News, the women parliamentarians were delighted over being the most active and also took a jab at their male counterparts for their non-serious attitude and indifference towards issues faced by the general public.

Soho, who was overjoyed to have reached the top slot said, “Women ask the most questions because they are more honest, sincere and focused than their male counterparts. In the assembly, we are often taunted by men who say that women have nothing better to do than ask questions. But they are wrong; as our questions show our concern for the masses,” said the MPA proudly.

Majority of the questions which Soho submitted revolved around issues such as the lack of water and social development of women. She regularly reads newspapers and prepares questions from the stories.

Nusrat Abbasi, MPA PML-F, who asked 632 questions over the last three years, said that they are getting paid for highlighting the plight of the common people and those parliamentarians who fail to bring such issues to the fore, do not deserve to sit on the assembly benches. She added that when she and the others asked questions, the men make fun of them by passing offensive comments. Abbasi cited the recent example of MPA Jam Tamachi who said that in the city, it is the women who mentally torture their men. This comment caused a stir among the female parliamentarians and resulted in a walkout.

“The attitude of some of our male colleagues disheartens us,” she said in a sad tone. Nevertheless, this strong woman would continue to raise questions in the provincial assembly. Out of the total questions she asked, 236 are allowed, 183 were laid on the floor of the house, 124 were under process, 76 were disallowed and 13 were returned to the MPA.

She submitted five adjournment motions out of which four lapsed. Out of 55 resolutions she submitted, one was allowed, while the rest lapsed. The 28 motions that were presented by her all lapsed. Nusrat Abbasi questioned the education, home and health department the most during the three-year period.

MPA Humera Alwani, who is currently in Thatta, said that it is the women parliamentarians who are running the assembly sessions. “The feudal mindset and chauvinistic attitude which is prevalent in our society also applies to the assembly.

The men talk less as they are least concerned about public related issues. It pains me to see that it is only the women parliamentarians who raise key issues. I request the party heads and even the President to only allot party tickets those individuals who are active and passionate towards the masses.”

Out of the 551 questions which Alwani asked, 172 were allowed, 210 were laid on the flood of the house, 144 were disallowed and 24 were returned, while one was withdrawn. She submitted 152 resolutions, out of which 150 have lapsed, one was allowed and another passed. Alwani submitted 36 motions which have all lapsed. She submitted one adjournment motion which lapsed. The MPA submitted four private bills out of which 2 are not consented, one withdrawn and the ‘Control of Mainpuri and Gutka Bill’ referred to a committee.

Other women parliamentarians who submitted a great deal of questions are Marvi Rashdi, who asked 198 questions and Zareen Majeed with 159 questions.

Meanwhile, the prominent male parliamentarians are Nadeem Ahmed Bhutto with 383 questions, Muhammad Muzamil with 139 questions and Saleem Khokhar with 137 questions.

Source: The News


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