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Ear to the Ground

Pakistan Assembly Elects First Female Speaker

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Posted on Mar 19, 2008
Fahmida Mizra
AP photo / B.K. Bangash

Fahmida Mirza, center, assumes the speakership of the National Assembly at a time of deep political uncertainty in Pakistan.

The Pakistani National Assembly on Wednesday elected Fehmida Mirza to be the country’s first female speaker. The selection of Mirza, a leading member of the late Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan Peoples Party, marks the first significant transfer of power since opposition parties won a majority of seats in February’s general elections.


Voice of America:

As expected, Pakistan’s parliament has selected its first female speaker.

“Dr. Fehmida Mirza has received 249 votes,” incumbent Chaudhry Amir Hussain, a supporter of President Pervez Musharraf, [said in announcing] the vote total in the 342-seat National Assembly.

Parliament members then pounded their open hands on their desks for 30 seconds to applaud Fehmida Mirza of the Pakistan Peoples Party. The 51-year-old medical doctor and mother of four children is a third-generation Pakistani politician. Her father twice served in the cabinet; her husband was a member of parliament; and her father-in-law was a Supreme Court justice.

Mirza’s manner of speech and dress evoke images of Benazir Bhutto, the head of the PPP, who was assassinated on the campaign trail less than three months ago.

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By Fadel Abdallah, March 19, 2008 at 2:53 pm Link to this comment

Let’s see what a physician by training can do to improve the political landscape in Pakistan! I am tired and sick of professional politicians all around the world. They normally end forming a part of the elite political class who end working against the interests of the people and in favor of the elite class. Let’s hope there will a break away from this pattern, and if it happens in Pakistan, a third world country, then we might have something positive to celebrate. Let’s give her a year before we can affirm again, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”

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