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TOBA TEK SINGH: For the second time in this conservative but influential political family of Gojra, a woman has entered politics and come out in public, as Fauzia Warraich, the wife of PML-N MNA Khalid Javed Warraich, took oath as the district council chairperson.

She was chosen as a candidate for the election as there were no men left in her husband’s family who could assume a political role. Fauzia neither faced the electorate during her election campaign nor her posters featured her photograph; her husband’s photograph was printed with her name.

Previously, Farkhanda Warraich, wife of former MNA Amjad Ali Warraich, had entered politics when her husband was disqualified by the court over his fake BA degree certificate and she was elected as an MNA in 2008. She never addressed any public gathering nor did her photograph appear on her campaign posters. Her husband’s photograph was used with her name.

Fauzia’s late father-in-law Ali Asghar Warraich laid the foundation of the family’s political history in 1977 when he was elected as an MPA from Toba Tek Singh city. One of her brothers-in-law (husband’s brother) Amjad Ali Warraich has been an MPA and MNA once each. Another brother-in-law Bilal Asghar Warraich was elected as an MPA for a third term consecutively in 2013.

Fauzia’s husband Khalid Javed Warraich has also been an MPA twice and is now an MNA, while he has also been the Gojra tehsil nazim.

Before the 2013 general elections, the three brothers developed differences; Amjad Ali and Bilal Asghar split from Khalid Javed and formed their party -- Pakistan National Muslim League. Khalid had joined the PML-N and was elected as an MNA from NA-92 defeating his sister-in-law Farkhanda Amjad Warraich. Fauzia had also contested from PP-84 in 2013 on a PML-N ticket, but was defeated by Bilal Asghar.

Both women have indeed won elections, but surprisingly they never met their male voters nor addressed any public meetings of men during their election campaigns. They did however address a few indoor meetings comprising women.

Though Farkhanda attended National Assembly sessions when she was a member, but never came out in public in her constituency of Gojra.

This is the first time in the family that a woman -- Fauzia -- got out of the house in a public gathering with men in attendance -- to take oath as the district council chairperson.

Published in Dawn January 2nd, 2017