The social condition of Pakistani women is unable to help them in political phase. The different social impediments as discussed above also detain women to take part in the political field. The different local customs like as Pakhtun code of conduct Pakhtunwali and its components of Tor (stigma) and Peghor (satire), strongly depress political empowerment of women on the basis of social stigma (Naz, Ibrahim and Ahmad 2012:167). These customs are against the basic principle of Islam. It is crystal clear that both men and women gave loyalty and faithfulness to the Prophet Muhammad’s leadership during his Era without any difference in content or responsibility. To support the state, the oath was taken from women such as from men. Further, women gave their speech to take part in Jihad like as Nusaiba bint Kab 33. No doubt, she participated in various battles along with men. History tells that Muslim women also remained the part of Shura (mutual consultation) the main part of the Islamic political system (Jawad 1998:84). It is true reality that the place of honour for women is Chadar and Chardivari (the four walls of home) and when she must go out, she has to veil from head to foot in a sort of twisting sheet (South Asian for Human Rights,2009:5). Islam does not restrict the women to participation in politics but pre- Islamic customs of the land the set up of religious zealot is a main restriction for women to take part in politics.
The future of women’s rights in Pakistan seems miserable when religious parties slab legislation planned to protect women. Religious parties and their heads have remarkable influence in Pakistan and it can be very difficult to counter them because it is perceived as an attack on Islam. They misuse and misinterpret of Qura’anic verses and Hadith(Zia,2013:11) In accordance with the Constitution of Pakistan, there is neither limitation for women to take part in politics nor existence in the political parties and in the political structure at the local, provincial, and national level being insignificant due t o cultural and structural blockade (Bano, 2009:20). The women not only got the right to cost their vote but also to stand for elections in 1935 in United India and continued it after independence of Pakistan. Parliamentary history of Pakistan remembered that Begum Dr. Ashraf Abbasssi was elected as Deputy Speaker for the first time in 1970 (Women’s parliamentary History).
Inadequate female representation in Pakistan’s Parliament has been a permanent lacuna.35. HRCP,2012 pointed out that women’s representation in the province of Balochistan remained nominal in particular and absolutely missing in the FATA region. It is ground reality that few women have become parliamentarians by directly contesting elections. The current situation is that there are 60 seats reserved for women in the National Assembly on which women are nominated by their party’s electoral strength (HRCP,2012:165) . In May,2013 election 36 women won and only 76 out of 342 seats in the National assembly(NA), including 16 women elected on general seats; 22 just over 3 % of the total number of candidates contesting general seats in the Assembly(Oxfam,2013:12). The pre election atmosphere in Pakistan does not show great hope regarding women’s participant in politics. All over the country, women have to face threats and violence to work out about their basic rights.
The proximately female population of the country is 93,986,578. More than 86,189,802 voters are registered in Pakistan in which 37,597,415 are women. But unfortunately only a minute part among them is bale to cost the vote. On 08-05-2013, for example, pamphlets were handed out in Miranshah in North Waziristan Agency of FATA, warning from tribesmen not to let women to cost vote in the General Election of May 11, 2013, with the threatening punishment for those who did this job. Mind it, such kind of object able act will not be tolerated and anyone, who insists women to cast the vote, will be liable to punish. The pamphlets duly singed Mujahedeen have been thrown into the shops by vehicles as a threat (Dawn,2013). In accordance with EU Election Observation Mission, Pakistan 2013 final report, 11 million female than male voters moving up questions about the monopoly. There was a lot of difference in FATA, where composition of women’s vote is 34% of the total number of the voters.
In this way, a female voter sharing out of total voters is 46% in Islamabad. In KPK and Balochistan this ratio is 42% of the total voters. 44% in Punjab and Sindh 45% (European Union, 2013:44) Provided that the candidates of Pakistan people Party Jamaate Islami and Awami National Party, at regional level made an invalid agreement through with women of Lower Dir agency were disallowed to cast their vote for Provincial Assembly in General Election .Mr Musarrat Qadeem Provincial Minister for Information confirmed this agreement with the statement that similar agreement had been made in different areas. He further stated that he had already apprised to the Election commission about this illegal agreement (Sherazi, 2013).However, a positive response has been shown by female voters in general Election 2013 as reported by the Gender Election Monitoring (GEM) mission. The report said that a large number of Pakistani women from all age groups came out to cast their vote on 11-05-2013 in spite of pre-election threats and attacks (Pakistan Today, 2013).
The specific data on proportion of female participation in election was not available. Anyhow, some positive development in this regard was expressed in the last decade. The highest rate of women’s representation in Pakistan’s legislative history was in 12th National Assembly (2002-2007). In the house of 342, the representation of women was 74 (21.64%, 14 elected and 60 nominated) (Shaheen et.al. 2012:40).It is very surprised that a large number of women are participating in positions at decision making level. Further that 66 women representative is in the National Assembly which is 19.3% of the total Assembly (European Union, 2013: 45). The different welfare associations like Shirkat Gah37, Aurat Foundation38 (AF), Oxfam39, Action Aid40 etc are working at the grass-root level to enhance a scope for women’s political empowerment. “Across Pakistan, 1,500 women leaders formed into 30 district-level 50 ‘Women Leader Groups’ (WLGs), have used their voice, diplomacy and influence to speak out on behalf of women”. (Oxfam, 2013: 6).
5 Literature Review
Some important factors, which hinder the women political participation are widely explained in the study of Bari,(2005). In respect of the study, Ideological factors, political factors, socio cultural factors are counted as very important. Besides these, lack of capital and strategy for women are also a big restriction to participate in political activities.
The women political participation is very much limited in Pakistan as reported in a briefing paper in 2011. Pakistan in spite of Islamic country gives a right to women for casting their vote having a strong international and domestic legal framework, but limitations from voting process remain a severe problem. Legislative and regulatory changes can help to increase women’s representation among the electorate; it is the poor implementation of the law that creates the gap between principles and practice. Therefore the key issue is one of sufficient political will on the part of stakeholders who can influence the process, including the ECP, political and domestic observer groups.
The situation of women in Pakistani Parliament has been observed by the researcher Bano, in (2009) The purpose of this research was to survey on the role of Pakistani women in the political field. Historical background of Pakistan shows that from 2002 to present parliament women participation in politics remains at peak. But it does not mean that numerical strength in Parliament empowers Pakistani women in everyday life. It can only be said that the status of women has improved in Pakistani society, but the idea of women’s empowerment is still outlying dream.
Another researcher Shami conducted a research in 2009 to ascertain the historical perception of women political involvement in Pakistan. The women are playing their role in politics from the Pakistan movement. The role of Ms. Fatima Jinnah in Pakistan movement is the great example. Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto during his period ensured women’s participation in politics, but there was less contribution of women in politics during Zia regime. Anyhow the period of Musharraf government was very important and significant in respect of women’s representation in Parliament. He increased the seat allocation for women both at the Provincial and National level. There are many ups and downs on the issues of women’s participation in politics in the history of Pakistan. Kiew(2011) narrated that the existential position makes sure unacceptably low levels of participation of Ukrainian women in political and decision making process at national level. Therefore, Ukraine is moving in the wrong direction in terms of promoting women’s participation in political and decision making in accordance with the international commitments and indicators,.
The research on account of women’s participation in politics at Morocco has been conducted by Tahri,(2003). According to Tahri the electoral process was started in 2002 and women are taking part in the political development of the country. The ratio of this game is equal as that of men and the number of female candidates is increasing with every succeded year. Although the women are considered half of the total population of the country and the percentage of electoral participation is almost the same for decades from the corridors of power.
Wide (2006), conducted a comparative study to communicate the women’s participation in politics, different aspects and its influence on the society. Wide argues that women’s political representation is a result of the interaction amongst structures, actors and institutions. In her dissertation, Wide presents the experimental finding on the spacious variation of female representation at the national level. The conclusion of her research is that institutions are the most important factors on the subject matter. The overall setup and the structure of the society is the main determinant of the women’s political participation.
6 Significance of study
This study, conducted in Muzafargarh, the renowned District of Punjab province. The main purpose of the study is to analyze the socioeconomic and political challenges for women with the special reference of women’s rights in the research area. The women have been facing manipulative treatment since the independence of Pakistan. The social, cultural, religious, political and economic issues have not only kept them back, but also deprived of the rights awarded by the constitution of Pakistan. The women were treated as second rate citizen and were deprived of the advantage of education, socially, economically and politically till the end of the 20th century. With the first light of 21st century, the resumption of democracy, coming out of exciting civil society, and proactive media and judiciary brought a glimmer of hope for women in Pakistan. During Musharraf and Zardari Era, some inadequate laws were changed with new ones. The representation of women in different political forums to give them voice and to make them a part of the decision making was an important move in this regard.
The laws for the protection of women violence and crimes against women were made but a big task to revise the role of women from a submissive to an equal partner in family and to ensure equal status to that of men in the society is still in pipe line. The status of women in any society is determined by a slight combination of socio and political cultural, religious and economic factors. It depends on the structural and functional arrangements of society. Historically, it has been observed that women are facing different challenges like as confused pose in family socio economic and political area of life in Pakistan. In spite of this, the status of women in legal area is also questionable. No doubt that Pakistan is principally a male sexist society and women situation is one of systemic subordination determined by the forces of patriarchy across classes regions and the rural/urban.