Hindu woman seeks to make history in Pakistan’s elections

Hindu woman Pakistan's elections

BUNER: Dr Saveera Parkash, a Hindu woman and a doctor, hopes to become the first female minority candidate to win a general seat in Pakistan’s parliament from Buner district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Parkash, 25, is a member of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), one of the the main parties led by former president Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

Her father, Oam Parkash, a retired doctor, has been a loyal supporter of the PPP for 35 years.

She filed her nomination papers for the PK-25 constituency after the party’s senior leadership asked her father to let her run for the seat. She faces tough competition from candidates of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party and other parties.

“I want to serve the poor people of my area, especially the women who have been suppressed and neglected for a long time,” Parkash told Dawn. “I want to create a safe space for them and help them get their rights and opportunities.”

Parkash completed her MBBS degree from the Abbottabad International Medical College in 2022 and is also the general secretary of the PPP women’s wing in Buner. She said her medical background inspired her to pursue a political career, as she witnessed the poor management and lack of facilities in government hospitals.

Record 28,686 candidates file nomination papers for 2024 elections

She said she was the first woman from Buner, a district of about one million people, to contest the elections from a general seat. According to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), at least five per cent of the candidates on general seats must be women.

Parkash’s candidacy has received support from some local activists and social media influencers, who praised her for breaking the stereotypes of traditional patriarchy and representing the minority community.

Imran Noshad Khan, a social media influencer from Buner, said that he endorsed Parkash regardless of her political affiliation. He said it was a historic moment for Buner, which merged with Pakistan in 1969, to have a woman candidate for the first time.

“She is a role model for the young girls of Buner and Pakistan,” he said. “She has shown courage and determination to challenge the status quo and make a difference.”.

You May Also Like