First Hindu Woman Candidate to Run for Buner Seat in 2024 Polls

Buner, a district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan, is set to witness a historic moment in the upcoming general elections, as a Hindu woman has filed her nomination papers to contest from the general seat of PK-25. Dr Saveera Parkash, a medical graduate and the general secretary of the PPP women’s wing in Buner, is the first woman from the district and the first woman from a minority community to run for a general seat in the National Assembly.

Dr Parkash, who completed her MBBS from the Abbottabad International Medical College in 2022, is hopeful of getting the PPP ticket to contest the elections, scheduled for February 8, 2024. She is the daughter of Dr Oam Parkash, a retired doctor and a loyal member of the PPP for over three decades. Dr Parkash said she was inspired by her father’s legacy of serving the poor and the marginalized in the area, and wanted to follow his footsteps by entering politics.

Dr Parkash said she was motivated to run for the general seat by the issues faced by women in the development sector, especially in the health and education sectors. She said she had witnessed the poor management and lack of facilities in the government hospitals as a doctor, and wanted to bring positive change and improvement in the system. She said she also wanted to ensure a safe and conducive environment for women in the area, and to help them achieve their rights and potential.

Dr Parkash said she had submitted her nomination papers on December 23, 2023, after the senior leadership of the PPP had requested her father to let her run for the general seat. She said she was confident of getting the party’s support and endorsement, as the PPP had always been a champion of democracy, women’s empowerment, and minority rights. She said she was also receiving positive feedback and encouragement from the people of Buner, who were eager to see a woman and a minority representative in the parliament.

Dr Parkash’s candidacy has been hailed by many social and political activists in the area, who have praised her for breaking the stereotypes and barriers imposed by the traditional patriarchy. A social media influencer from Buner, said that he fully supported Dr Parkash, irrespective of her political affiliation. He said she was a role model for the women and the minorities of the region, and a symbol of hope and progress. He also noted that it took 55 years since Buner merged with Pakistan for a woman to step forward and contest in the elections, and that Dr Parkash’s initiative was a significant milestone for the district.

According to the recent amendments by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), a five per cent inclusion of women candidates is mandatory on general seats. Dr Parkash’s nomination is a welcome step towards ensuring more diverse and inclusive representation in the 16th National Assembly.

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