Islamabad - A book lunching ceremony was held here on Monday at Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA) featuring the political autobiography of veteran politician Syeda Abida Hussain.

The book titled “Power Failure - Political Odyssey of a Pakistan Woman,’ published by Oxford University Press, is based on Abida Hussain’s personal notes and diaries.

Syeda Abida Hussain is a renowned politician, horse and cattle breeder, agriculturist and former diplomat. She belongs to Jhang. She has the distinction of being the first woman to chair the district council of Jhang, and the first woman to be popularly elected as member of the national assembly of Pakistan in 1985 non-party general elections.

The author has intertwined the impacts that key political events of the country have had on her personal life and on the destiny of the nation. It is also an anecdotal account of missed opportunities. The narrative covered the author’s privileged childhood, her entry into politics, and the hurdles she faced along the way as a woman politician in the male-dominated society of rural Punjab.

She provides details of the deterioration and erosion of the country’s institutions. Pakistan’s close embroilment in Afghanistan has also been discussed.

The author attempted to provide insights into the reasons for poverty and inequity of Pakistan’s societal construct, conspiracies spawned by individuals and interests, both at the national and international levels. Light has also been shed on the regressive elements in Pakistan.

The launching ceremony featured a stimulating discussion between Syeda Abida Hussain, Ayaz Amir, journalist and politician, and Naeem Bokhari, senior advocate of Supreme Court and renowned television personality.

During the conversation, Hussain expressed how, as an individual and as a politician, she often found herself caught up in the vortex of contentious political issues and events, with her life often under threat, and her career in politics interrupted and prematurely curtailed.

In the welcome address, Managing Director Oxford University Press Pakistan, Ameena Saiyid, said that the book being launched is a rich collection of personal episodes and experiences, valuable because they come from Syeda Abida Hussain’s life flecked by a range of diverse experiences. “In this book you will find anecdotes featuring Abida’s encounters with the leading lights of Pakistani politics and foreign notables as well as her insights into different areas of human experience she was privileged to have witnessed.”

Abida Hussain’s daughter Sughra Imam, who is also a senator belonging to Pakistan Peoples Party, said in an interview that her mother is a “pioneer for female politicians in the country.”

“She was the first woman to chair a district council, elected as a mayor. First woman who won a seat in a parliament and first woman to be our ambassador in Washington, DC. She was the only child of her parents and her life has been a journey trying to be the son they never had,” Senator Imam said. She further said, “She (Abida) carried her father’s name and legacy forward, despite opposition from all her male kith and kin. She has secured a footnote in our history by being the first woman to achieve all the things I have mentioned earlier.”