PESHAWAR/LOWER DIR  - In an unprecedented development, two female candidates, one each from Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (Pata), on Sunday filed their nomination papers to participate in the upcoming general elections.

Badam Zari from Bajaur Agency became the first woman from the Fata to file nomination papers in a bid to contest for a National Assembly seat, NA-44. In the past, the tribal traditions disallowed women to exercise their right to franchise.

Speaking to a private news channel, Badam Zari said she was contesting as an independent candidate in an effort to serve women from her area. “I want women to prosper in all fields and both men and women should stand side by side,” Zari said. She vowed to actively campaign and be aware of the problems being faced by the residents of her area despite the poor law and order situation in the agency. She praised the residents of Bajaur Agency and said they hold women in high esteem. She was confident that the residents of the area would support her. Another woman from Lower Dir, Nusrat Begum, wife of Karim Khan, filed nomination papers by personally appearing in the office of the returning officer concerned.

After filing the nomination papers, Nusrat Begum said she was hopeful of winning the election. She said if given a chance, she would try her best to change the destiny of the district, especially, the women of the area. She lamented that those elected from the area in the past did not do justice to the local people. Nusrat said she had been elected district vice president of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) in the intra-party polls, so she was hopeful of getting the part ticket.

It merits mentioning here that in the past women of the district were not allowed to cast their votes. But this time a positive change has been witnessed and the political parties have softened their stance about the women’s participation in the election process.