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A Woman Chief Minister

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Miraj Humayun Khan

Pakistan may be very low in economic and social index but Election 2024 has raised its status on the political side. For the first time, a large number (306) of women contested general seats, some as independent candidates.

This is a significant number and even though there were only 11 winners, participation of such a large number will encourage more women to come forward and try their luck in the next election.

A very important development was the election of Maryam Nawaz to the enviable position of Chief Minister Punjab. Also noteworthy is the election of women as deputy speakers, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan. While the performance of all will be observed with interest, it will be the activities of Maryam Nawaz that will be the focus of all and sundry.

Even before rising to this auspicious position, Maryam had emerged as the most important political voice not only in her party but in the country’s politics as a whole.

Being a scion of one of the most important political families from the dominant province, Punjab, Maryam is also the political heir of Nawaz Sharif, a senior politician and three times prime minister of Pakistan, one would presume that her rise was expected but this assumption is not correct.

It was her own decision and constant struggle that elevated her to this position. She stood by her father when he was passing through the most challenging personal and political life.

The loss of his mother and the terminal illness of his wife had shaken his inner strength so the political upheaval and ‘unkindest cuts’ from different directions must have further shaken him to the core. It was in this period that Maryam threw caution to the winds and stepped out to face the challenge of her father’s adversaries.

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Bashful at first, she soon learnt the tricks of the trade, so to speak. As her oration improved, the crowd started coming in and those in power paused for a while to listen to what she was saying. They found that she was saying a lot and in the most candid way. Once out of the sanctuary of her home, she did not turn back.

She had fixed her goal and seemed to have worked out a winning strategy. Nature cooperated with her. The winds blew her words far and wide, the sun brightened her visage, and the universe added colour to each gesture she made.

Like a breeze she travelled, indefatigable, pulling crowds out from their homes to tell them about the injustice done to her father and their political party. Slowly but surely her statements got registered and she became the most important person at her party.

But more important than that was that she forced her adversaries to pay attention to her demands and do what she was demanding. The result was Election 2024 in which her party got the centre, Punjab, and a share in Baluchistan. She received her reward in the form of the plum position of chief minister, in Punjab.

In her new position, she continues to look beautiful and indefatigable. The joy of winning and achieving her goal, and the proximity to her father, have further added to her strength so we saw a very confident and self-assured Maryam taking the oath as a member Punjab Assembly followed by that of the chief minister.

However, her real test begins now. She has yet to prove that she has the skill and knows the art of governance. So far she has not shared a plan of action for analysts to evaluate her performance.

She is continuing her whirlwind tours of this institution and that bazaar but such visits don’t translate into improving the rotten system that she condemns forcefully. She needs to sit down in consultation with her gurus and work out her policies and strategies. She has a challenging time ahead working around her uncle in the centre and a strong PTI opposition in her province.

*The Author is a senior female Pakistani educationist, social worker and politician belonging to the Swabi District.

**The opinions in this article are the author’s own and may not represent the views of The Diplomatic Insight. The organization does not endorse or assume responsibility for the content.

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