ISLAMABAD: The opposition Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on Thursday rejected Nilofar Bakhtiar’s appointment as chairperson of the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW).
“Nilofar Bakhtiar’s appointment is tantamount to dacoity [robbery] and insult to parliament,” said PPP’s Nafisa Shah in a statement.
Referring to an in-camera meeting of the parliamentary committee on the appointment of the NCSW chairperson on June 15, the PPP’s MNA claimed that the other applicant, Fauzia Waqar, had got six votes, while Ms Bakhtiar had secured five votes during the election for the post.
Ms Shah argued how could the decision to hold elections under parliamentary traditions and rules be overturned?
“The so-called government is making a major commission on women controversial. The appointment against parliamentary traditions is an insult to Pakistani women. Such a commission is not acceptable at all,” she added.
The PPP leader asked the government to immediately withdraw the notification about the appointment of Ms Bakhtiar.
The news about the appointment of Ms Bakhtiar as the new NCSW chairperson was revealed by Human Rights Minister Dr Shireen Mazari during a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights on Wednesday. When some committee members inquired from the minister about the new NCSW head, she said her office was not part of the election process.
“We are only issuing a notification of Nilofar Bakhtiar’s appointment,” she disclosed.
A controversy had arisen during the in-camera meeting of the parliamentary committee to appoint the chairperson of the NCSW on June 14.
After the meeting, the opposition members claimed that its nominee Fauzia Waqar had been chosen for the post lying vacant for the last two years but alleged that the ruling PTI member, who chaired the meeting, “ran away” without declaring the result.
According to the opposition members, Ms Waqar polled six votes against five bagged by PTI’s candidate Nilofar Bakhtiar during the meeting.
The controversy arose when Falak Naz, who presided over the meeting, said she was using her casting vote and now the votes had become equal.
Nafisa Shah had stated at that time that the opposition members had already written to National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser to forward Ms Waqar’s name to the prime minister as per the law for her nomination. She said the committee comprised an equal number of members from the treasury and opposition.
“Under the rules, casting vote is used if votes originally polled are equal. Instead of declaring her victory, the chairperson of the committee left. This is a violation of the rules,” Ms Shah said, alleging that the members of the treasury benches were unaware of the rules.
Published in Dawn, July 30th, 2021