ISLAMABAD, Nov 23: Rather than nominating a woman member as chairperson of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Women Affairs, the PML-N’s parliamentary leadership has decided to give up the slot, Dawn learnt on Sunday.
Political sources say Leader of Opposition Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan took the decision after Pakistan Muslim League-N women MNAs rebelled against the oddity of him nominating male party members to the position.
Chaudhry Nisar was said to have first nominated MNA Usman Ibrahim from Gujranwala to the post who however declined saying it properly belonged to a woman party member.
Mr Nisar then chose Hanif Abbasi, PML-N MNA from Rawalpindi, as his nominee to head the standing committee on women affairs.
PML-N women parliamentarians rose up in arms against his choice of males for the position and insisted that it was their prerogative to head the committee that dealt with women affairs.
It is for the first time that women wing of the PML-N stood up against the party’s parliamentary leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and challenged his decision.
Pakistan People’s Party sources said Labour Minister Syed Khursheed Shah had conveyed the government’s offer to Chaudhry Nisar that the Pakistan Muslim League-N head the NA committee on women welfare.
When his choice of Usman Ibrahim and Hanif Abbasi drew fire from Pakistan Muslim League-N woman activists, Mr Nisar decided to give up the slot and the government’s offer altogether, according to sources in the PML-N.
These sources claimed that Mr Nisar was categorical that if Mr Abbasi did not become the head of the committee, no one else in the party will be considered for the office.
“We have told the party high command that PML-N women will never, never support the nomination of Mr Abbasi as chairman of the standing committee on women affairs,” frontline leader of the PML-N women wing Begum Ishrat Ashraf told Dawn.
She said the Sharif brothers had kept themselves aloof from all issues in the parliament, leaving it to Chaudhry Nisar to take his own decisions and pursue his own policies.
Ms Ashraf said first Pakistan
Muslim League-N MNA Usman Ibrahim was offered the post but he declined saying it did not behove a male member of the party to head any women related committee. MNA Hanif Abbasi then campaigned to get hold of the office.
It is rumoured that the PML-N parliamentary leadership nominated him fearing that if not accommodated he might desert the PML-N as he had the Jamaat-i-Islami when his old love boycotted the 2008 general elections.