Participation in the Formulation and Implementation of Government Policy; to hold Public Office and perform all Public Functions at all Levels of Government.
There is no bar on representation of women in government policy. However there is no institutional mechanism for ensuring that women are consulted while formulating government policy. As a corrective measure the Planning Division has issued instructions to all Ministries/Divisions to place special emphasis on the advancement of women in all projects. The Balochistan province has introduced an annexure on gender impact assessment to the PC-I, the main project formulation document of the Government of Pakistan. Efforts are underway to have a similar annexure adopted in the other three provinces and at the federal level.
The policy formulation and decision making process can be viewed at the Cabinet, the legislative, government service and local bodies levels. These different levels are discussed in detail below.
The Cabinet Level
The Cabinet is the highest level. Generally every Cabinet in Pakistan has had at least one woman minister. The percentage of women in various Cabinets in Pakistan is given below:
TABLE 7.05 MINISTERS AND STATE MINISTERS BY GENDER AND YEARS IN THE FEDERAL CABINET
TABLE 7.06 ADVISERS AND SPECIAL ASSISTANTS TO THE PRIME MINISTER BY GENDER AND YEARS IN THE FEDERAL CABINET
Source: Baseline Report on Women’s participation in the Public and Political Life in Pakistan, Aurat Foundation, October 1999. Last row added by the Ministry of Women Development.
Women have traditionally occupied the positions of Ministers of Women Development, Social Welfare and Special Education; Education and; Population Welfare. In 1999 the Cabinet had three women federal ministers holding the portfolios of Education, Women Development, Social Welfare and Special Education and Law, Justice and Human Rights. In 1999 a National Security Council was also established and it had one woman member – the Minister of Women Development, Social Welfare and Special Education.
Women are regularly appointed ministers, parliamentary secretaries and advisers to the provincial Chief Ministers. The Punjab Cabinet contained five women ministers (out of 31), two Advisers to the Government (out of four) and eight Parliamentary Secretaries (out of 38) in 2003/2004.
The Legislative Level
As a result of general elections held in October 2002, 73 women have been elected as members of the National Assembly – 60 on reserved seats and 14 on general seats, 18 women as Senators – 17 on reserved seats for women and one as a technocrat and 143 as members of the various provincial assemblies – 128 on reserved seats and 15 on general seats.
The presence of these women in the Senate, the National Assemblies and the provincial assemblies gives them a much bigger role in setting the legislative priorities of their respective houses.
The Local Bodies Level
In 2000 Pakistan embarked upon a comprehensive scheme to devolve power to the communities and to revitalize the local bodies. This Devolution Plan was completed in August 2001. In this exercise 33% seats were reserved for women. Women were also free to contest general seats.
A total of 60,512 women contested elections to the three tiers of the local bodies. From the lowest to the highest, these tiers are the Union Council, the Tehsil Council / Town Council and the District Council. Thirty six thousand, one hundred and five women were elected as councilors. Of these 35,953 were elected on reserved seats in all councils. Another 126 were elected on reserved seats for minorities. Sixteen have been elected as Nazims (mayors) and Naib Nazims (deputy mayors) – 11 as Union Council Nazims, 2 as Union Council Naib Nazims, 1 as Tehsil Nazim and 2 as District Nazims.
The Ministry of Women Development launched the National Programme for Women’s Political Participation to build upon the breakthrough provided by the reservation of 33% seats for women in the local bodies and 17% seats in the provincial and federal legislatures. Under the programme newly elected women legislators and councilors were provided orientation to the political system, the legislative mechanism, constituency servicing, research and documentation and networking.
TABLE 7.07 WOMEN IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT
*Total Seats for Women; however 36,105 have been filled.
Source: Women’s Political Participation Project (W3P)
The last elections to the local bodies were completed in 2001. The Government has now reduced the total number of councilors in the local bodies though the percentages of men and women will remain the same.
Women in Government Service.
The Constitutional Framework Relating to Women in Government Service.
The operative article is article 27 of the Constitution “No citizen otherwise qualified for appointment in service of Pakistan shall be discriminated against … on the ground of race, religion, caste, sex, residence or place of birth”. Women also have the added guarantee of Article 34, which gives the Government a broad opportunity to take affirmative action in any area where representation of women is low.
Legislative and Administrative Provisions Relating to Government Service.