Sky is the Limit
Aafia Huma – Aspiring Woman from PML (N)
Pakistan’s commitments at international level in the form of CEDAW to end discrimination in every walk of life has though significantly improved women’s representation in electoral process yet the gap still resides in the form of structural inequalities of politics. This gap doesn’t only hinders women progress and due share in the political process but also deteriorates the measures of equality taken by the government in the outset of its international commitments. At present, In National Assembly of Pakistan 60 women are present on reserved seats however, only 9 out of 271 seats came on General Seats which indicates the barriers to women participation in political process at all levels. The need of the hour is to increase awareness among women folks regarding their right to contest in a party or independently while understanding the whole political process. For this purpose, AGAHE with Technical and Financial Support from UNDP executed a project of 4 months starting from 15th September, 2016 – 15th January, 2017. The objective of the project was to capacitate the women interested to enter into national mainstream politics in order to ensure their rights and represent a larger segment of society i.e. Women. This helped a large number of women to understand the election process since the submission of the nomination papers to polling day.
Afia Huma is one of the women who were trained in this training program. Afia has been the Umpire in Pakistan Cricket Board with her husband for last 12 years and states that the political field is like the cricket stadium where you have to gauge each and every move of the opponent very carefully that the decision you make cannot be challenged anywhere. Afia despite of being a Cricket Umpire also has won Election as a Lady Counselor for UC-148. She however shared that the training content, session arrangements and trainer’s communication has helped her understand the process to go beyond the local elections only. She aims to run her election campaign for the General Elections 2018 with an aim to win on General Seats with her capabilities and understanding of political process on the whole.
She encouraged and appreciated AGAHE and UNDP for this training program to continue for the women who have potential to change the status quo in politics and come forward for a better state.
She further shared her views during an interview:
“For a women who can be an Umpire can decide in the parliament too – at-least for her fellow beings! As my decisions cannot be challenged anywhere; how come I decide anything wrong in politics representing women; this is all I’ve learned in this training and would implement in my political career too. This is just a beginning – I know Sky is the limit”