Khan’s Loyal Women Power

Khan’s Loyal Women Power

Tehrik-i-Insaaf has galvanized educated young adults in urban areas in the elections of 2013 like PPP had galvanized young men in the 1988 elections. Hope, change, out with the corrupt. The frenzied loyalty to see Imran Khan’s team kick out the old guard is unprecedented. This is the set that never contributed to the elections – the drawing room people who never stepped out of their houses on election day because oh, what was the use. Today, the entire family attends a rally in the rain, watching Imran Khan make promises he may not be able to keep. As I see it in every man between the age of 25-40, I worry about their hopes being dashed because after all, Imran Khan is a human, and that too a mere mortal with no political experience and very little capacity to lead.

Anyone in Punjab over the age of 40 is age is strictly pro PML-N. Mian sahib, the younger one, has transformed Lahore and earned a lot of well wishes for being a brilliant doer – even if his vision remains obscure and limited and heavily tied to government intervention. As a woman belonging to the urban educated class, between the age of 25-40 who would have voted for Imran Khan ten years ago because of his sheer charisma, I am at an impasse.



In the last 3 years or so, too many times have I seen Imran extend a hand of friendship towards the Taliban, Qadri and JUI. Whatever the motives and his followers passionate declaration that he is not aligning himself with the religious right, I am uncomfortable. My freedom in Pakistan, to work, to wear jeans, to stay out late at restaurants, to drive alone, to live alone is extremely new and very precious to me. I remember my school and college days and I cannot forget how women were put behind closed doors in the name of social values and morals. And I know even a whiff of religious right will take my vote elsewhere.



I remember the marginalization of women by the PML-N in their previous regimes (remember dupatta covered women on PTV?) and I know nothing will prevail upon me to vote for them. I talk to other women and they resonate my misgivings. PML-N seems to be living in the 80s where women is concerned.

The PML-N is known to have the smallest number of women in the workforce working in the mainstream in the Punjab Government. Majority of qualified women were marginalized in the last 4 years and encouraged to adopt dead end positions in special women programs, or removed from mainstream altogether. In today’s environment, when you ask them for a manifesto for urban women, they will still talk about segregated education programs, separate work environments, and special funding for women.



There are very few women office bearers and one cannot remember when PML-N last propagated a law that was for women. Unfortunately, for all their corruption the two people who encouraged women into the mainstream remain Zardari and Musharraf. From Hina Rabbani Khar to Sherry Rehman, Faryal Gohar to Maliha Lodhi and Dr. Fehmida Mirza, whatever the reasons, women flanked the workforce in their times like it was not a special handout. Under Musharraf, liberalization of media pulled Pakistan out of the oppressed subversive state where society started moving past gender inequality and considering it immoral for women to be in the workforce. Under Zardari, one saw the Sexual Harassment and Blasphemy Laws being addressed along with the Hudood Ordinance. Unfortunately, the two most liberal people in Pakistan today also lead parties that are considered
corrupt and destructive to the future of Pakistan.



So what is a women like me supposed to do? Just as women were torn between Hilary and Obama in 08, educated liberal women are torn between the right leaning religious rantings of Imran Khan and their dislike for how Musharaff’s term ended. If you talk to a working woman in the urban areas (none of them form an important voting block), all of them remain undecided hoping by some magic, Imran Khan would move away from the socialist right leaning alliances with Taliban to a more centrist position.

Will Imran or his sister Haleema actively work to address these women? Maybe, maybe not. And while we wait, some of us will remember how Imran Khan is still the most charismatic Pakistani alive…….. and we will pull out tapes from the world cup of 1992, and remember nostalgically how at Kinnaird College we watched him bowl to the kiwis – adoring the little bald patch in his head – and prayed for victory. Who knows, maybe I will vote for my childhood heartthrob after all.

Zahra Ottens

A blogger for The News/Geo blogs

  • Ahsan Naeem

    Another digressing article full of equivocal statements and obtuse rhetoric, akin to writing a purposeless analysis.

  • Kamran Akhtar

    In sha Allah Imran will takes the victory down like a bullet take a man down

    • M.Saeed

      Down and bullet both portray negativities and do not auger well with Imran and Insha Allah.

  • Ahsan Naeem

    Alright, so there are people who know how to write pointless bogus articles.

  • kmk

    go to india , pakistan is not for you,pakistan is for muslims , not for seculars like you

  • Hussey

    I feel sorry for your innocence that you are looking for change of all cultural & moral values in just one elections.It takes generations to change the beliefs of nation. If you’r looking for a sudden change then this miracle not gonna happen very soon, regardless who wins the election, (tough luck for people like you) so why not you guys live overseas, where you can wear jeans, have a boy friend to live with or live alone, enjoy few drinks, so on & so on. The way you wrote looks like that you have lived overseas or so impressed from western values any way (not a wrong thing). One thing you should learn that change is a slow process, specially when it is cultural change.

  • Imran

    Imran khan … de ghuma ke

  • Yasir Khan

    In my opinion the writer is so biased by saying Imran Khan has little capacity to lead, just ask those people whom he did lead and ask their opinion. I am not against Mr. Bhutto but in comparison with Imran Khan, he had lesser charm and leadership quality, which we all witnessed in the form of Bangladesh. As for PML N, all Mr. Sharif wants is to get the chair of prime minister, all they did in last 5 years was nothing but to win election and rule again and increase the family wealth.
    In sha Allah Imran Khan will deliver.

  • M.Saeed

    Down to earth means worldly “reality” and can only compare with someone having a mind in “seventh heaven”. This is simple practical English and not corrupted by any political philosophy. Now apply your
    facility in English to see where negativity applies.

    • Kamran Akhtar

      brother you shouldn’t take everything tOo serious, In America when they say “you Bad” it doesn’t mean you are bad but it means you are good, every statement is reluctant to its own meaning regardless of being said in different realities. We are living here in a moral less society where our politicians are more known for there corruption around the world then our celebrities, this whole system needs to me cleaned out and its filth cant be wipedout with clean towel but a dirty towel soaked in acid.

  • Kamran Akhtar

    Mr. Nadeem your existence in this world means alot to me because in this game if I’m playing the lover part then who’s going to play the hater part, so thanks for your participation.

  • Kamran Akhtar

    we are not here talking about actual tsunami, we are just trying to visualize an assumption, remember we are up against dirt and filth (corrupted politicians) and massive dirt and filth cannot be wipedout with cotton and silk and in that case tsunami would be a much better option, by the way i was never told that making assumptions could be a “Sin”.!