The issue about the Reserved Seat for Women came under heavy debate when Imran Khan was misquoted by a number of newspapers to have said that he wanted to oppose womens reserved seats – the issue naturally took a lashing, but in reality it was uncalled for as Imran Khan actually only questioned the “Nomination” of Women Candidates to these seats as not a direct representation of women – his actual words were
Legislators in assemblies are representatives of the people. How can some women be representative of women when they haven’t even contested elections?
The same statement was was followed up by his tweet immediately after the conference
Reserved seats are necessary for woman but I am in favour of direct elections to them rather than nominations on a list
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) December 16, 2012
Seeing the confusion being played up in the media – PTI was quick to issue a clarification
PTI & Imran Khan would like to clarify that while addressing a seminar “Justice for Women,” at Aiwan-e-Iqbal Lahore yesterday Imran Khan never said that he is against reserved seats for women in the parliament and is misquoted in several newspapers. Imran Khan said that instead of women taking the reserved seats based on Nomination lists, a special election specifically for women alone should be held for the reserved seats so as to ensure genuine women representation.
The intra-party election of PTI is proof of the fact that the reserved seats for women are also being contested for. Imran Khan holds that legislators in the assembly are representative of the people and the women on reserved seats should be truly representative of women and their issues
A good explanation about the Women’s reserved seat was provided by Salman Latif : Women in Pakistan’s National Assembly currently have 60 reserved seats. How exactly are these seats filled in? Well, since the seats are allocated to each political party based on their proportion in the legislature, the said political parties have the sole authority to figure out who will fills these seats. The result is simply that the wives, daughters, sisters, relatives of the bigwigs of each political party smugly position themselves on these seats, clamouring out about women rights yet being utterly incompetent to launch the least effort to that end. Seats are allocated purely on political connections with nary a thought spared to any merit or qualification.
An argument presented by Bina Shah in her blog post Hands off the Reserved Seats for Women! would have been valid, had if Imran Khan actually spoke about abolishing the reserve seats all together, but he DID NOT – Bina goes on to question the fact that it might not be possible to hold elections in many rural areas of Pakistan – it could very well be the case, but its ironic to hear Bina Shah and Marvi Sirmed some well respected women activist to actually resist the suggestion of a further empowering women in Pakistan right down to the individual level, im sure if they were to look at the actual statements they too would appreciate this positive suggestion by PTI. Imran Khan sensing the confusion did respond to Momina Khawar about this confusion via a tweet the same day
@mominakhawar no Momina. I am in favour of reserved seats for women but instead of nominations on lists should be directly elected
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) December 16, 2012
Imran Khan and PTI is not against the reserved seat but wants to empower women more so by enabling the women in Pakistan to directly elect their own parliamentarians and let them carry forth the baton on protecting the rights of women in Pakistan – not be left at the behest of an elitist party leadership to pick and choose elitist women representatives who have no connection or relationship with the grass root constituent women and their issues
A further proof of PTI’s commitment to women in Pakistan – takes example from the its Intra-party elections – each UC has ELEVEN seats being contested for, SEVEN are designated open seats (both male and female can contest) while it has reserved FOUR seats for Women – and women are then asked to vote for them and hence women truly become an integral part of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf
I truly had a good laugh to have read a number women parliamentarians raising a firestorm in the National Assembly objecting to Imran Khan’s “alleged” statement – I wish these women would take time to investigate the issue and not be so greedily focused on protecting their own seats in the National Assembly – I honestly wonder how many would make it to the NA floor if they were to contest the elections directly, some .. maybe, most … not
Truly if you look beyond the fog deliberately created by PTI opponents - in reality PTI is actually working to empower women to the individual level – A women parliamentarian elected by women from each constituency will work to bring forth issues that are pertinent to the area – definitely not by appointed women nominated into power