KARACHI: The slain lawmaker Tahira Asif in Lahore was considered to be the pivot of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s organisational work in Punjab, as she joined the MQM after parting ways in 2007 with the Pakistan Muslim League-Q — the party which had made her a member of the National Assembly in 2002 on a seat reserved for women lawmakers from Punjab.
The MQM awarded her a party ticket to contest the general elections the same year from a National Assembly constituency (NA-126) in Lahore.
Knowing that she had no chance in a Lahore constituency — a Pakistan Muslim League-N stronghold until the 2013 general elections — she chose to contest the elections only to make the MQM presence felt in Punjab. Unsurprisingly, she bagged a mere 517 votes.
Five years later, the MQM again fielded her from the constituency and this time her tally went down to 422 votes, while the seat was won by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Shafqat Mehmood in 2013 polls.
She was rewarded for her loyalty and the MQM sent her to the National Assembly on a seat reserved for women from Sindh following the general elections.
An MQM representative in Lahore, Dr Imran, told Dawn over the phone that the slain lawmaker had contested general and local government elections during her political career that spanned over a period of two decades. She had won a councillor seat from Lahore’s Faisal Town.
He said she remained a PML-Q MNA, but quit the seat in 2007 to join the MQM.
She was born in 1961 in Lahore. She is survived by a husband, who works in the Federal Investigation Agency, two sons and a daughter.
Saman Jaffery, another MQM lawmaker and a colleague of slain Ms Asif, tweeted that her favourite party song was Dil dya hai jaan bhi daingay MQM teray liye [our hearts and lives for the MQM]. “[She] proved it true on both accounts.”
Published in Dawn, June 21st, 2014