Tahir Ali - Gulana Bibi, a courageous female politician, who made history by contesting 2013 general elections from militancy affected Tank district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on the ticket of anti-Taliban Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), breathed her last on Friday (May 2).
The 73-year-old illiterate Gulana Bibi had contested the 2013 general elections for Pk-69, Tank, with the slogan ‘Protection of women rights’, ‘better educational facilities’ and ‘clean drinking water for the area’.
“She died of cardiac arrest,” said her son Khar Zar while talking to this scribe and added, “My mother was committed to her mission of fighting for women rights”. He further said that not only her family but also the entire Tank was proud of Gulana Bibi who voiced for the rights of the poor, especially women.
The mother of four sons, Gulana Bibi hailed from Dera, a small town bordering South Waziristan. She plunged into politics in an area where the local women were confined to their houses and even they were deprived of the right of education. At a time when all the politicians were afraid of campaigning in the area, the brave Gulana Bibi ran her elections campaign without any fear. Even Bitanni, the tribe of Gulana Bibi, has produced a number of hardcore militants; Asmatullah Bitanni, ex-head of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)’s central Shura who was killed on February 2014 by unidentified gunmen in North Waziristan, was also from the same Bitanni tribe. “I am devoted to my cause, so I don’t have any fear”, she had said.
Due to lack of funds Gulana Bibi could not organise strong rallies and went door to door in various villages of the districts to seek votes; it was a reason that she only bagged 37 votes. The seat went to Mahmood Ahmad Khan of JUI-F but Gulana Bibi would always be remembered for her courage and her effort to voice for the oppressed women of Tank.
–The writer is a freelance contributor