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Women to get their rights, says Imran

Ahmad Hassan

ISLAMABAD: Mother’s Day provided Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf an opportune moment to hold a convention of its women members in Islamabad that was as lively and as colourful as its jalsas.

Amid songs and music, Imran Khan, the chairman of PTI, promised his party would ensure that women got their due rights under law and their share in hereditary property.

Political observers noted that this was perhaps the first time that Mr Khan had given some concrete examples of his party’s stand on women’s rights so publicly. Despite his popularity among women, especially from the upper middle class, Mr Khan has been criticised by some for his conservative views, including his focus on women’s rights as defined by the Sharia.

In that context, analysts observed, his statement on Sunday was a step in the right direction even though it was not seen to be enough by many. They pointed out that he did not specifically address contentious issues such as honour killings and domestic violence.

Some of his statements were on the general side and did not communicate much.

“Pakistani women have made up their mind for a real change and today’s convention is a glimpse of that,” he said. Then after pledging them their due share in property, he promised that no excesses on women would be allowed if his party came to power.

“Poor women will get free legal service from our party’s lawyers’ wing,” he added.

Even the official press release of the party did not give much space on his statements on women’s rights and focused instead on his usual political rhetoric replete with the now predictable cricketing and tsunamis references.

“The corrupt political mafia’s days are numbered; they will not be able to face the winds of change,” he claimed. Many saw this convention as a run up to his May 27 rally scheduled at Liaquat Bagh in Rawalpindi.

He dubbed President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani ‘corrupt crocodiles’, and reiterated his commitment to bring back the looted money to Pakistan.

The PML-N was not spared either which he criticised for ignoring his demand of resigning from assemblies to exert pressure on the PPP. Mr Khan claimed that Nawaz Sharif would not listen to him as the PML-N chief wanted to ensure its share in the caretaker set-up before the next general election.

Once again he advised the PML-N leader to try to become a ‘real tiger’ by quitting the assemblies, which he linked to the possibility of PTI and the PML-N joining hands.

He emphasised the point by saying the PTI would not enter into any dialogue with the PML-N till the latter quit the assemblies and the Punjab government.

In a potshot at the PML-N, he said that the zeal and enthusiasm evident at the women’s convention was missing from the recently held rally of ‘patwaris’ in Taxila, a reference to an event organised by PML-N stalwart Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

In more general terms, he also singled out education as the most important factor in taking society forward and reiterated his promise of declaring an education emergency across Pakistan once he came to power.