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Roving Periscope: Dr. Saveera Parkash, the first Hindu woman, to contest polls in Pakistan

Roving Periscope: Dr. Saveera Parkash, the first Hindu woman, to contest polls in Pakistan

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Virendra Pandit 

 

New Delhi: Nearly a month ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi consecrating the idols of Lord Rama on January 22, the Ayodhya event has hit headlines in neighboring Pakistan where some people now wonder if the mosques they go to for prayers were erected on the ruins of Hindu temples.

But an equally hot topic of debate in Islamabad and other Pakistani cities is whether Dr. Saveera Parkash, the first Hindu woman, has a chance to win an election in February 2024.

Not just this. She is also the first woman to contest elections in her town in the last 55 years.

She officially submitted her nomination papers for the upcoming general elections in Pakistan, reported Dawn.

Pakistan will go to polls on February 8, 2024, to elect the members of the 16th National Assembly.

Parkash, who is contesting on a Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) ticket, submitted her nomination papers for the general seat of PK-25 in Buner district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province last week.

According to the media reports, she remains optimistic about contesting the elections on a PPP ticket as she follows her father, Om Parkash’s, lead. Dr. Om Parkash retired recently from the medical profession and has been associated with the PPP for the past 35 years.

Saleem Khan, a local politician affiliated with the Qaumi Watan Party (QWP), said that Saveera is the first woman from Buner to submit nomination papers for the upcoming elections on a general seat.

She graduated from the Abbottabad International Medical College in 2022 and then served as the general secretary of the PPP women’s wing in Buner. She expressed her desire to work for the betterment of women and advocate for their rights while fighting for a safe environment for them.

Asserting that she wants to work for the underprivileged, Parkash told Dawn that if she is elected, she will address the historical neglect and suppression of women in the development sector.

She decided to contest the elections after her firsthand experiences with poor management and helplessness in government hospitals, which she witnessed during her medical career.

Saveera was also applauded by Imran Noshad Khan, a social media influencer from Buner, who endorsed her candidature, irrespective of her political affiliation.

Highlighting that Saveera broke stereotypes, Khan said her nomination was remarkable as it took almost 55 years for a woman to step forward to contest the elections in Buner.

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