Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf’s Syeda Zahra Basit Bokhari is running a very odd political campaign. Her election posters carry her name but her husband’s picture.
Bokhari’s campaign manager confirms that this was not a misprint. “She is a Syed,” he tells Daily Sun News.tv over the phone, “Our women do not publicize their pictures.” (Bokhari and her husband refused to comment on the subject when Daily Sun News.tv reached out to them.).
There are 355,241 registered voters in her home constituency of NA-184 in Muzaffargarh, a south-western city in Punjab. Over 44 per cent of which are women.
Bokhari, a housewife, has been fielded by Imran Khan’s PTI. Her challenger is her brother-in-law, Haroon Ahmad Sultan, awarded a ticket by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.
Interestingly, in June, the party named her husband, Basit Bokhari as their candidate for the constituency. However, his name was later dropped and his wife’s proposed. The couple are new entrants in the PTI. Bokhari’s husband was elected to the National Assembly in 2013 on a PML-N ticket, but in April defected to Khan’s party, along with five other lawmakers from South Punjab.
For the July polls, more women than ever are running for office in Pakistan. Yet, those in the fray for the contestable seats of the national and provincial assemblies, from party platforms, comprise only 2.6 per cent of the total candidates, even though 44 per cent of the total registered voters are female.