The National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) has written two separate letters to the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan and voiced its concern and dissatisfaction for not including any women members of Parliament among the 14 recently appointed Ministers and Ministers of State. The commission expressed disappointment at the number of women in the present Cabinet which is just two, and to ignore several capable women members in the parliament. The NCSW urged the government to take immediate steps to facilitate an induction of women members in the cabinet.
The Commission feels that women on reserved seats have been particularly marginalized, and their services to the cause of women and the nation, as well as to their party, have remained unacknowledged. Several of these women have a lifetime of struggle behind them, and are known for their capabilities and understanding of national issues. Considering them to be less worthy merely because they have come on reserved seats would be less than fair.
The NCSW highly regretted that their contribution made by women parliamentarians have not been recognized, though studies have shown that the women members in parliament have been more active and responsible, and generally performed better than their male colleagues. The Commission believes that democracy and good governance will be better served if appointments are based on track record and merit, without a distinction being made between directly and indirectly elected members.
It is also high time that the Political Parties Act should be reviewed, so that in addition to the reserved seats more women members are chosen to contest open elections by their political parties, or women on reserved seats are not elected indirectly but in direct constituency based elections.
The National Commission on the Status of Women urged the government to look into the issue urgently and facilitate the inclusion of women members from the reserved seats into the cabinet.