Currently, only six out of the 166 political parties registered with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) are led by women, as reported by The News. Ghinwa Bhutto, the wife of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s brother, Murtaza Bhutto, serves as the chairperson of one of these parties, PPP (Shaheed Bhutto).
The remaining five parties with female leaders are: Pak Defence Qoumi Movement led by Sabeen Malik, All Pakistan Muttahida League led by Tehmina Amjad, Pakistan Seraiki Party (T) led by Dr. Nukhbakh Taj Langa, Pakistan Muslim League Organisation led by Hassan Fatima Lubna, and Pakistan Awami Quwat Party led by Saleha Khaqan.
Interestingly, three political parties are headed by retired military personnel, with Lt-Gen (retd) Faiz Ali Chishti leading Tehreek-e-Tameer-e-Pakistan, Major-General (retd) Muhammad Saad Khattak heading Pakistan Aam Admi Movement, and Colonel (retd) Raja Javed Mujtaba serving as the chairman of First Democratic Front. Notably, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is listed among the political parties, but the leadership column is blank, similar to three other parties. Pak Sarzameen Party, Jamaat-e-Suffah, and Jadeed Awami Party are currently without leaders for various reasons.
The history of female representation in Pakistani politics is highlighted, mentioning that former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto became the first female Member of the National Assembly (MNA) elected from Lahore in 1988. Other notable female politicians from Lahore include Begum Farhat Rafique, Begum Kalsoom Nawaz, Samina Ghurki, Shazia Mubashir, and Shaista Pervaiz Malik. The first woman ever elected in a general election from Lahore was Farhat Rafique in the 1985 non-party basis elections, whose sons Saad and Salman have also served as MNA and MPA, respectively.