ISLAMABAD - Belonging to a middle-class family and hailing from Taunsa Shrief, remotest Tehsil of Southern Punjab, Rashida Farhan is all set to challenge the political stalwarts of the area with the aim to eliminate old ‘Vani’ custom in her area.

The educated lady, with high aims to promote education, is active in politics with husband Farhan Manzoor Bhutta in the underdeveloped area.

This young couple (Farhan Manzoor Bhutta and Rashida Farhan) from a small town, having no basic amenities, is contesting from the area for both National assembly and provincial assembly seats.

Both are contesting independently from their ‘Aam Admi Tehreek’ political party.

Rashida Farhan is standing on National Assembly seat (NA-189) and his husband from provincial assembly (PP-286 Punjab). She is facing major political players, including Khwaja Sheraz and Sardar Amjad Farooq Khosa, in the upcoming July elections.

In traditional society of Taunsa and adjoining areas, people never thought that a young lady will ever dare to come out and reach out to masses for political awakening.

As per the tradition of the area, women folk are usually discouraged to take part in active politics.  But Rashida believes in equal representation for women folk in all walks of life. 

Since the start of her career a few years ago, people have seen her working like one woman army, going door to door to instil a spirit of change in them.

“Sardars, Waderas, and Gaddi Nasheens have systematically enslaved the people of south Punjab since decades and done nothing for the welfare of the masses and uplift of infrastructure,“ Rashida Farhan said this while talking to The Nation. The lady from underdeveloped area has the aim to eliminate ‘Vani’ custom and promote education in the area.

Contaminated water for human consumption, lack of basic health facilities, improper education facilities for the people of the area are main issues, which have not been addressed even after tall-claims of ‘old faces’ of the area. “We (the couple) have left children at parents home for political campaign...I am optimistic to take maximum support from the area,” said a young candidate.

Being a young, educated and politically motivated lady, she has a dream that one day her people will be liberated from the shackles of fuedalism and “Biradri” system of voting.

She has no family history of politics and her courageous campaign to launch her political career all by herself is laudable.

She briefed that only the real political workers rising from the grassroots level can represent and fight for the rights of people electing her/ him. The young couple has to keep their children to parents’ home to campaign in the area.

Farhan Manzoor Bhutta, candidate of PP-286, has also high hopes to bring positive change in his area. “There is a need of awareness. People of our remote area have been deprived of even basic needs,” said Bhutta, mentioning that old tradition of ‘Vani’ and ‘Sawara’ can only be eliminated by creating awareness among the people.

Over the decades, Taunsa has seen Khosa Sardars and Khawaja Gaddi Nasheens while taking turns in the parliament. In the presence of these political stalwarts of the area, this young couple wants the support of the people to raise voice for them.