PESHAWAR, Jan 18 (IPS) – A lady medical graduate from the Hindu neighborhood is making waves, as she is the primary minority lady to contest the Pakistan Parliamentary election for a normal seat, and she or he does so within the face of deep-rooted spiritual traditions and rich political opponents.
Dr Saveera Parkash, a nominee of the Pakistan Folks’s Celebration (PPP) for the February 8 polls, is bound of her victory regardless of her faith.
“I’ve been witnessing the assist that I get from the Muslim-dominated district of Buner in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province,” Parkash advised IPS in an interview.
“My slogan is addressing problems with air pollution, ladies’s empowerment, gender equality, feminine illustration, and their well being points, along with making certain respect for all religions,” she elaborated.
Born to a Christian mom and Hindu father, she has lived in a Muslim-dominated neighborhood; subsequently, interfaith concord is on her wishlist.
“Interfaith concord is extraordinarily vital as a result of we now have seen enmity amongst totally different spiritual sects on flimsy grounds.”
“We have now to inculcate a way of brotherhood amongst all faculties of thought and pave the best way for lasting peace within the space. We have now to respect our spiritual locations and shun variations, as all religions advocate peace and concord,” she says.
Candidates in Buner, one of many 36 districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that remained thick with militants from 2007 to 2010, are more likely to witness a tough contest as the ladies and children have proven assist for the first-ever minority feminine candidate.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Meeting, one in all Pakistan’s 4 provinces, has 145 elected members, 115 common seats, 26 reserved for ladies, and 4 for non-Muslims.
Pakistan is dwelling to 4.4 million Hindus, which is 2.4 p.c of the full inhabitants.
Her father, a medical physician and late chief of the PPP and twice Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated by militants in December 2007 within the garrison metropolis of Rawalpindi, encourage her, she says.
“Whereas my superb is Mom Teresa, my foremost focus might be ladies’s schooling. The general literacy fee is 48 p.c, however solely 25 p.c of females are literate; subsequently, I wish to unfold consciousness concerning the significance of girls’s schooling,” she says.
Moreover, it is vitally necessary to finish favoritism and nepotism and guarantee benefit within the appointment of academics, particularly ladies.
After finishing medical schooling in July 2022, she noticed the problems ladies visiting hospitals confronted and determined to enter politics as a substitute of continuous her profession as a physician, as she believed points wanted to be resolved on the coverage stage.
“We want extra ladies docs, nurses, and paramedics to encourage feminine sufferers to go to hospitals. At present, the variety of feminine well being staff is extraordinarily low, resulting from which many of the ladies don’t come to hospitals as a result of they don’t wish to be seen by male docs,” she says.
“My huge benefit is that I belong to a middle-class household, and the individuals will vote for me as a result of I’m approachable to my voters.”
The promotion of girls’s rights is her foremost goal.
“We have now to scale up consciousness concerning ladies’s rights to property inheritance and their proper to schooling. I sense victory within the polls, as I do know the individuals take heed to me and would reject opponents for his or her vivid future.”
So, how does she really feel the run-up to the election goes?
“In our district, 75 p.c of voters are below 30, and they’re well-informed concerning the points they’re dealing with. I could also be missing knowledge and data in comparison with senior politicians, however my sincerity will result in my success,” says the 25-year-old, who routinely wears a headband.
As a result of she is attempting to succeed in a younger voters, her campaigning contains the large use of social media, aside from the normal approaches of public conferences and house-to-house canvassing.
Highlighting corruption can be a part of her election marketing campaign.
In the meanwhile, she is concentrating on a clean run-up so she will win common assist in her constituency
“Voters in my constituency name me ‘sister’ and ‘daughter,’ which supplies me immense power,” she mentioned.
Parkash mentioned she wished to comply with within the footsteps of her father, Oam Prakash, a retired physician, and serve the individuals.
Securing an area for ladies is significant for improvement, as they’ve been suppressed and uncared for in all areas.
She mentioned “serving humanity is in my blood” resulting from her medical background, highlighting that her dream to grow to be an elected legislator stemmed from having skilled poor administration and helplessness in authorities hospitals as a physician.
Most individuals within the space endorse her candidacy, no matter her Hinduism or political affiliation. Voters admire her bravery for difficult conventional insurance policies
The Election Fee of Pakistan makes it obligatory for all political events to award 5 p.c of seats to ladies on the whole seats.
Political analyst Muhammad Zahir Shah, on the College of Peshawar, mentioned that Parkash has created historical past by contesting the final election.
“We have now been seeing ladies turning into members of the meeting on reserved seats. They don’t contest elections however are nominated by events on the premise of the seats they win within the election,” Shah mentioned.
Previously, some ladies have fought elections, however they had been Muslim; subsequently, they don’t draw as a lot media and public consideration, however the case of Parkash is unprecedented.
She is nicely educated and belongs to the Hindu neighborhood whereas standing for vote in an space the place 95 p.c of the voters are Muslims.
“She is contesting on the PPP’s ticket, which isn’t a preferred political occasion, however evidently she’s going to make her presence felt throughout the electioneering,” Shah mentioned. Already, she has hit headlines, and if the election takes place in a good and clear method, there’s a higher chance that she’s going to emerge victorious,” he mentioned.
IPS UN Bureau Report
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