The Fifth Phase – Third Marshal Law and the Non-Party Assembly of 1985

This Assembly proved short-lived and was dismissed just after three months with the imposition of Martial Law on July 5, 1977 and the subsequent suspension of the Constitution. The political activities were resumed in 1985 when elections were held on non-party basis in 1985 to elect an Assembly, comprising of a total of 237 Members. In these elections, two women were elected on the General Seats, namely:

Women Members on General Seats in the National Assembly of Pakistan 1985- 1988

Sr. No.NameConstituency
1Begum Abida HussainNA-76 Jhang – IV
2Begum Nasim Majid AkhtarNA-146 Bahawalnagar – V (Elected in by-election)

Source: Library of National Assembly of Pakistan Records

Begum Nasim Majid was also later appointed as the Parliamentary Secretary for Housing & Works.

It was also at that time that the select portions of the 1973 Constitution were revived under the Revival of Constitution Order (P.O.14 of 1985), which also increased the reserved seats for women from 10 to 20. Consequently, women entered in the central legislature in a considerable number.

 Women Members on Reserved Seats in the National Assembly of Pakistan 1985- 1988

Sr. No.NameConstituency
1Begum Afsar Raza QazalbashPunjab
2Begum Sarwari SadiqPunjab
3Begum Silvat Sher Ali KhanPunjab
4Mrs. Khurshid BegumPunjab
5Mrs. Dureshahwar MazariPunjab
6Mrs. Rafia TariqPunjab
7Begum Rehana Aleem MashahdiPunjab
8Shahzadi Mehmooda BegumPunjab
9Begum Ishrat AshrafPunjab
10Dr. Attiya InayatullahPunjab
11Mrs. Farrukh MukhtarPunjab
12Mrs. Nisar Fatima ZahraPunjab
13Mrs. Afroze Nazir AhmadSindh
14Begum Salma AhmadSindh
15Mrs. Rashida Pasha KhoroSindh
16Mrs. Qamar-un-Nisa QamarSindh
17Mrs. Bilquis Nasar-um-MinallahN.W.F.P.
18Begum Kalsoom SaifullahN.W.F.P.
19Dr. Miss. Noor Jahan PanazaiBalochistan
20Bilqees BegumBalochistan

Source: Library of National Assembly of Pakistan Records

In addition to the above, Mrs. Leela Wanti managed to enter the Chamber on a reserved seat for the Minorities. All these women remained Members of the Assembly from 1985 till May 28, 1988, when the Assembly was dismissed by the then President.

This Assembly has the main distinction of having Women Members as Ministers in the Federal Cabinet for the first time when Begum Afsar Raza Qazalbash and Begum Kulsum Saifullah were appointed as Ministers of State in Prime Minister Mohammad Khan Jonejo’s cabinet. Besides, Begum Rehana Aleem Mashahdi and Dr. Noor Jahan Panezai also served as Parliamentary Secretaries.

The Senate, which was also revived with the National Assembly, had no woman as Member.