Despite a record number of 183 women contesting the July 25 polls, only eight female lawmakers were able to get elected to general seats, according to data released by the Election Commission of Pakistan.
Of the winning women candidates, four won on NA seats in Sindh, three in Punjab, and one in Balochistan. No women candidates won a general seat in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The relatively high number of women participating in elections this time around could partially be attributed to a provision in the Elections Act 2017 that bound all political parties to allocate at least 5 per cent tickets to women on general seats for the NA and provincial assemblies.
The three major political parties, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, PML-N and PPP issued tickets to the minimum number of women as was permissible by the law, barely following the official 5pc requirement.
Of the successful women candidates, three had contested on PPP tickets ─ Nafisa Shah (NA-208, Khairpur-I), Shazia Marri (NA-216, Sanghar-II) and Shamsun Nisa (NA-232, Thatta).
Two winning female candidates, Ghulam Bibi (NA-115, Jhang-II) and Zartaj Gul (NA-191, DG Khan) had contested on PTI tickets, while the PML-N, Balochistan Awami Party and the Grand Democratic Alliance each had one winning woman candidate ─ Mehnaz Akber Aziz (NA-77, Narowal-I), Zubaida Jalal (NA-271, Kech) and Fehmida Mirza (NA-230, Badin II) respectively.
The number of women candidates in the 2013 elections was 135 with the number of independent candidates higher than those of party ticket holders — 74 and 61, respectively. In the 2008 elections, the number of women candidates was as low as 72, including 41 party ticket holders and 31 independents.