March 19, 2009
“Welcome Back, My Lord!” was Ms. Anjum Niaz’s piece that made way to the opinion page of The News (Page 6) on March 17, 2009. An otherwise fair columnist, Ms. Anjum got probably carried away in siding with her old time friend Sherry Rehman. While Sherry’s action in standing up for the freedom of media is duly respected by all and sundry, it should not be forgotten that in our emotional streak we may not be unfair with others.
Ms. Anjum Niaz’s emotional piece accuses, absolutely incorrectly, four women members of Pakistan Peoples Party for the decline of Shery Rehman from two coveted positions of Minister Information & Broadcasting and Secretary Information of PPP. She calss the group of four ladies as 4 Fs i.e., Farzana Raja, Fauzia Wahab, Farahnaz Isfahani and none other than honourable Speaker, Dr. Fehmeeda Mirza.
In her sentimental dash demonstrating support for her friend, Anjum Niaz goes so off the deep end, that she forgets the fact that Dr. Fehmida Mirza is holding a position which is much above the Minister of Information status. And that she has nothing to envy of Sherry Rehman. And infact, Sherry and Dr. Mirza have never known to be at odd ends of relationship.
Here I would like to emphcize couple of important points. First is the respect that is privelege of the chair Dr. Mirza holds. Gone are the days when parliamentary ethics would not onnly prevail among the honourable members of the Houses, but would also overflow into all quarters of society including media. It pains a student of political science to see this deterioration across the range of important actors in a state. The Chair has to be outside these petty political meanderings. And a veteran journalist should be extremely cognizant of this other wise this ethical slip down would see no fathomable depths.
Another important fact that is missed in this piece is that Dr. Fehmida Mirza remains one of thosse very rare Seakers of the Houe our legislatures has ever seen, who could not compromise on their impartiality and nonpartisanship. If Ms. Anjum Niaz had any time to read through the pages of spreadsheet media reporting on National Assembly procedings, she would know that present Speaker has very successfully isolated herself from partisanship not only in the House but also in party circles.
Most importantly, I would like to draw readers’ attention towards a very important fact, and that is, Dr. Fehmida Mirza is silently playing a very strong role in empowerment of women by being torch bearer in organized campaigning towards this end. She has, on her personal initiative, established a Women’s Parliamentary Caucus, that involves all women members of both Houses. It is to be noted that one such initiative was taken by PPP women members in 2003 as well, but it was thwarted by entirely different ideologies of women representing political parties polls apart. It happened, basically, due to the abssence of a figure who could moderate points of difference among ideologically opposite party representatives within the Caucus at that point in time. Now, fortunately, we had this fggure in the person of Fr. Mirza, who not only carried the role of Chair entrusted upon her, with utter grace, but also gathered all women inthe House around one table. Seeing women from allparliamentary parties working together on women’s issues, across the party lines, was a sight one would never like to miss!
Her nonpartisanship became evident on March 12, 2009 when she hosted a Milaad in Parliament House. Despite a very tense day between government and opposition that day, owing to the commencement of Long March, one could not stop one’s heart pounce with extreme joy on seeing all women sitting together – whether it was PPP, PML-N, ANP or MQM . . . all were there.
Now my question from Ms. Niaz is, what makes her drag this impartial figure into this political tug of war? If it is just her friend Sherry, then she should pay some heed to what Sherry thinks of Dr. Mirza. Dr. Mirza has no threats from anybody in or outside the House owing to her august position.
I would request Ms. Niaz to kindly correct this folly and take her words back.