Sixth Phase

The Sixth Phase – Return of Democracy and Party Politics

The year 1988 saw historic changes on the political landscape of the country. Military Dictator General Zia died in a plane crash. In its aftermath, party-based elections were held in the country after 11 years on November 16, 1988. As a result, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto became the first woman Prime Minister of not only Pakistan but in the entire Muslim World. This election also witnessed the election of at least four women from general seats, three of them getting elected from more than one constituency.

 Women Members Elected on General Seats in the National Assembly of Pakistan 1988- 1990

Sr. No. Name Constituency
1 Begum Nusrat Bhutto (PPP) NA-24 Chitral & NA-164 Larkana I
2 Begum Abida Hussain (IND) NA-67 Jhang II & NA-68 Jhang III
3 Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto (PPP) NA-94 Lahore,  NA-166 Larkana III & NA-189 Karachi (S)-I
4 Dr. Ashraf Khatoon Abbassi (PPP) NA-165 Larkana II

Source: Library of National Assembly of Pakistan Records

Besides, this 8th National Assembly also had other 20 women members on reserved seats. 

 Women Members Elected on Reserved Seats in the National Assembly of Pakistan 1988- 1990

Sr. No. Name Constituency
1 Begum Rehana Sarwar (PPP) Punjab
2 Begum Sarwari Sadiq (IJI) Punjab
3 Begum Ndira Khan Khakwani (PPP) Punjab
4 Mrs. Amina Paracha (PPP) Punjab
5 Mrs. Razia Sultana (IND) Punjab
6 Mrs. Shahnaz Begum (PPP) Punjab
7 Begum Rehana Aleem Mashahdi (IJI) Punjab
8 Ms. Shahnaz Wazir Ali (PPP) Punjab
9 Mrs. Abida Malik (PPP) Punjab
10 Dr. Attiya Inayatullah (IJI) Punjab
11 Mrs. Aamira Ehsan (IJI) Punjab
12 Mrs. Nasreen Begum (PPP) Punjab
13 Mrs. Shamim N.D. Khan (PPP) Sindh
14 Dr. Mrs. Mehmooda Shah (PPP) Sindh
15 Mrs. Ruqia Khanum Soomro (PPP) Sindh
16 Mrs. Zareen Majeed (Haq Parast) Sindh
17 Malik Mehr-un-Nisa Afridi (PPP) N.W.F.P.
18 Begum Kalsoom Saifullah (IJI) N.W.F.P.
19 Mrs. Samina Razak (PPP) Balochistan
20 Bibi Amina JUL(F) Balochistan

Source: Library of National Assembly of Pakistan Records

Mohtarma’s election as Prime Minister brought about a revolution in women’s political and parliamentary role. The Assembly elected Dr. Ashraf Abbassi once again as its Deputy Speaker while the Federal Cabinet had some 5 women as Ministers, which included Begum Nusrat Bhutto as Senior Minister, Begam Rehana Sarwar as Federal Minister for Women Development, Begum Shahnaz Wazir Ali as Minister of State for Education, Begum Mehmooda Shah as Minister of State for Social Welfare and Begum Nadir Khakwani as Minister of State for Population Welfare.

It was also in 1988 when one woman Dr. Noor Jahan Panazai was elected as Senator from Baluchistan. She also served as the first woman Deputy Chairperson of the Upper House from 1991 to 1993. She however remained the lone woman legislator in the Chamber for the whole period of six years.