Exactly one year ago, on 17 June 2012, progressive female politician and PPP’s senior leader Fauzia Wahab passed away. Her legacy and struggle for human rights, women’s empowerment and egalitarianism is sorely missed in Pakistan today.
In her death, the PPP lost a middle class, progressive leader, particularly from Karachi. Over the years, quite a few of these people left the PPP and Ms Wahab happened to be the most visible and influential of those remaining in the party fold.
She was the liberal, middle class face of a political party that many allege increasingly represents Pakistan’s feudal class. Today, there are some women visible on the national political scene but most of them are the related to important male politicians, and lack both substance and commitment when seen on TV during talk shows. Ms Wahab, on the other hand, always conducted herself with civility and humility and exuded substance and class.
She had a successful career and served as a role model for people who belonged to the middle class. Friends and foes mourned her death alike, and praised her moral courage and sincerity to progressive ideals. In the words of Khawaja Saad Rafique: Fauzia Wahab was a sincere member of the House and she spent spotless career as a parliamentarian and set an example for other parliamentarians and women.
Unlike several other politicians, she was not a paratrooper but had come through a regular system, from the grassroots, groomed as a politician in a democratic manner. Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto gave Ms Wahab, a woman from the middle class with four children, a chance to prove her mettle in the political field, a duty which she ably and sincerely fulfilled. She always referred to the PPP as an egalitarian and pluralistic party.
She was a role model for women politicians in Pakistan and will long be missed. It will be a befitting tribute to rename a college or library after her in recognition of the services she rendered for Pakistan.
PTV Video: Remembering Fauzia Wahab