LAHORE - Syeda Abida Hussain, a noted politician from Jhang, has announced to quit electoral politics, but still wants to keep a ‘small political role’ in the local politics.

 “I am no longer active in electoral politics. I am also no longer member of any political party; but I would continue to support political groups of my choice in my home district and elsewhere”, Abida told The Nation. 

She said she had not contested any election after 2008 elections and wanted to maintain this position in future as well. “But still I have the right to express my political opinion and keep a small political role without actually taking part in electoral politics”, the veteran politician from Jhang told this scribe.

Abida, 66, who managed to survive in the politics of Pakistan for 40 long years, now wants her children to be in the active politics. Her elder daughter, Sughra Imam, is a Senator on PPP ticket while her son, Abid Imam, joined electoral politics in 2013 elections.

Her husband, Fakhar Imam, also a prominent politician, joined the PML-N in May 2013 elections.  On Wednesday, Abida announced to support the PML-N candidate in Jhang by-elections.

Abida, who recently ended her association with the PPP, parried a question about her possible affiliation with any political party in the future. “I don’t know what the future has in store for me”, she replied, indicating thereby that she might consider this option at some later stage if the need be.

Abida Hussain has been in country's rough-and-tumble politics long before former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

She has switched political parties four times since she joined the politics in 1967 and been part of many Governments handling different Ministries from time to time.

She and her husband joined the party of General Zia after hanging of

Z.A Bhutto. Later, she joined the PML-N in the 1990s. It was in 1979 that she was elected Chairperson, Jhang District Council as a result of Local Bodies elections. Before this, she was elected member of Punjab Assembly on a seat reserved for women on PPP ticket. She re-joined the PPP in 2006.

Abida has been Minister for Education, Science and Technology in 1996, Minister for Food and Agriculture in 1997, the Minister for Population Welfare and Minister for Environment and Urban Affairs in 1999. In addition, she also served as Ambassador of Pakistan to the United States of America between 1991-1993.

In April 1999, she chose to resign from the Ministry when allegations of power theft were levelled against her. She could not contest the 2002 elections because she did not have a graduate degree at the time.

In her 40 years long political career, she had not been associated with any political party for 15 years and still managed to remain in politics due to her political influence in her home town.

Practically, she parted ways with the PPP much ahead of May 2013 elections when her party decided to support her political rival, Makhdoom Faisal Saleh Hayat who eventually lost to a PML-N candidate, Ghulam Muhammad Lali.